Yesterday, 7 April 2004, US SAILING named Olin J. STEPHENS (Hanover, NH) as the winner of the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Trophy, the organization's national sportsmanship award presented annually.
The trophy will be presented to Stephens at the 75th anniversary celebration this summer of Sparkman & Stephens, a yacht design and brokerage firm of which Stephens is a co-founder. While Stephens was nominated for the award after a specific instance in which he demonstrated fine sportsmanship behavior, his true dedication to the sport is legendary throughout the sailing community.
Olin STEPHENS was nominated for the award by fellow racer Bob SCOTT (Castine, ME) who learned a cherished lesson in sportsmanship from Stephens. The morning of the start of the 2001 Castine Classic Yacht Race, Scott shared his racing strategy with Stephens: Scott had re-registered his boat, a New York 32 named Falcon, to race in the non-spinnaker category after learning from weather reports that his boat would have the advantage in that category, as opposed to the spinnaker category in which he had originally registered. Stephens warned Scott that such behavior wasn't sportsmanlike. "You are trying to manipulate results by putting an experienced yacht and crew in a category reserved for legitimate non-spinnaker boats,"
said Stephens. Scott followed Stephens' advise and requested to be placed back in the category in which he had originally registered.
Scott didn't win the race that day and the race committee later informed Scott that he would have won if he had raced in the non-spinnaker class. "Racing with this extraordinary man is a lesson in sportsmanship,"
wrote Scott when nominating Stephens for the award.
"Stephens' career in the upper echelons of sailing was well know to US SAILING before receiving the nomination,"
said Dean CADY, chairman of US SAILING's Sportsmanship Committee. "He sets a great example for other sailors to follow."
Sportsmanship is difficult to define but easily recognizable. The high standards exemplified by the true sportsperson are vital to the health of sailing, which is why each year US SAILING honors nominees for the prestigious W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy. This award honors those people who are outstanding examples of dedication and graciousness in the sport of sailing, and for sharing these talents with others. Nominees include sailors who have performed a single exemplary act or who have consistently exemplified the finest tradition of the sport both on and off the water, through instruction and encouragement of others.
More information about the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Trophy can be found on US SAILING's website at www.ussailing.org/sportsmanship
In 1992 ISAF presented Olin Stephens with the Beppe Croce Trophy in recognition of his outstanding contribution and lifelong dedication to the sport of sailing. The Beppe Croce is ISAF's highest award of recognition.