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National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame makes progress on future home

ArtUnited States Naval AcademyPeriodicalsTed Turner

Navigator Stan Honey led what was then the fastest nonstop circumnavigation of the world under sail — "48 days and a few hours" in 2010.

Sailmaker Mark Reynolds won three Olympic medals, two gold and one silver, and is a two-time Star World champion.

John Cox Stevens was a founding member of the New York Yacht Club and was instrumental in creating the America's Cup regatta.

They're three of the nine sailors who will be inducted this year into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, a Maryland-based organization planning a permanent home in Annapolis.

The recent announcement of honorees comes seven years after the National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame was formed to promote sailing and recognize men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the sport.

All will be honored Oct. 14 in a ceremony at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. They make up the second group of inductees, following an inaugural class that included four-time America's Cup winner Dennis Conner and media mogul Ted Turner, a Cup winner in 1977.

"We're catching up with 200 years of history," said Lee Tawney, executive director of the National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame. "We want to honor our heroes."

Each honoree will get a permanent place of recognition at the center, a $30 million attraction and educational facility scheduled for construction at 67-69 Prince George St. on the Annapolis waterfront, next to the U.S. Naval Academy.

The nonprofit group is working to raise private funds to pay for construction and has secured $3 million so far, according to Tawney.

The annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies go a long way toward showing that the project is becoming a reality while identifying role models that young people can emulate and ambassadors for the sport, Tawney said.

"Every sport has its Hall of Fame," Tawney said. "When commentators talk about young athletes with potential, they always refer to 'future Hall of Famers.' Now the sport of sailing has that."

Gary Jobson, a Maryland resident who heads US Sailing, the governing body of the sport, was in the first Hall of Fame class and said he was humbled to be in the company of so many people he admires.

"This year's class is just as good as last year's," he said. "It's an excellent mixture of people from the past and the present."

Being named to this year's class is "quite an honor and quite a surprise," said Honey, who has had careers in electrical engineering and computer graphics, as well being a professional navigator. "The most humbling part of the whole deal is who else is being inducted. ... It's amazing to be included in this group."

The National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame is a three-story, 20,000-square-foot interactive museum designed by Annapolis architect and sailor Joseph Boggs to preserve the history of sailing and its impact on American culture, honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport and provide a place where sailing enthusiasts from around the world can gather, among other goals.

It is expected to draw 150,000 visitors a year, making it one of the biggest attractions in the state capital. The state has made the land available under the condition that the group raise private funds for construction and operation. State officials have given the group until January 2014 to raise the $30 million, which includes $19 million for construction costs, $5 million in operation funds, an education endowment and a contingency fund.

Tawney said that inducting Hall of Famers is just one way the National Sailing Center is building support for its project. Another activity is creating "virtual exhibits" that can be viewed on the center's website — nshof.org — and can become the basis for physical exhibits when the building opens. The website now features sailing-themed paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The center also has been collecting magazine covers that feature photos and illustrations related to sailing from such publications as The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated and Life.

In addition, the sailing center co-sponsors the City Fair in Annapolis, has offered to let more than 1,000 people sail from its docks and has developed a series of educational programs. In partnership with Anne Arundel County public schools, it teaches courses in math and science using the principles of sailing. In cooperation with the Pride of Baltimore II, county schools and the Naval Academy, it plans to teach War of 1812 history to local students.

The center has a partnership with the Naval Academy and is about to sign an affiliation agreement with US Sailing. It is associated with the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Rhode Island, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and yacht clubs across the country.

Starting last month, the sailing center has a new restaurant tenant in a building it owns next to the Prince George Street property. Phillips Foods opened the Phillips Crab Deck on Dock Street in a building that will be razed to make way for the sailing center.

"I think it's terrific what Lee and the trustees have been able to do," Honey said. "It's great that there could be a Hall of Fame for sailing. It's wonderful for the sport."

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

Hall of Fame inductees

The 2012 inductees include four living honorees and five who have died. They were chosen by a selection committee from a list of 96 candidates.

The living inductees are:

•Stan Honey, 57, of Palo Alto, Calif., engineer, businessman and professional navigator who won the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and the 2010 Trophee Jules Verne

•Bruce Kirby, 83, of Rowayton, Conn., yacht designer

•John Kostecki, 48, of San Diego, silver medalist in the 1988 Olympics, America's Cup tactician and winning skipper in the Volvo Ocean Race

Mark Reynolds, 56, of San Diego, three-time Olympic medalist and two-time Star World champion

Posthumous inductees are:

•Peter Barrett of Madison, Wis., Olympic gold and silver medalist

•Bob Bavier of New Rochelle, N.Y., America's Cup competitor and journalist

•Gregg Bemis of Boston, sailing rules expert

•Rod Stephens of New York, yacht designer and Medal of Freedom winner

•John Cox Stevens of New York, a founder and first commodore of the New York Yacht Club

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