Dave Perry received the United States Sailing Association's National Sportsmanship Award at the organisation's Spring Meeting.
"With all his successes on the racecourse-and everyone who has raced against him know he has many successes," said US Sailing President Dave Rosekrans in his presentation, "he is the first to sit with any sailor after a race and answer questions with grace, patience, and respect. "His speeches to youth always include reference sportsmanship. He tells each group of kids that a sailor's reputation is the most important thing he enters a racecourse with, and that, no matter how intensely they compete, the most important things are to have fun and sail fairly."
In the 1980s, Perry helped organize the equivalent of today's Youth Nationals, coaching some of the best young sailors in the country. Of everything he taught the young sailors about winning races and going fast, the most lasting lesson has been sportsmanship. As the first great sailor they saw live the tenets of good sportsmanship both on and off the racecourse, these sailors cite him as a strong influence.
In her nomination letter to the Sportsmanship Award Committee, led by Chairman Dean Cady, Nancy Corbett Foote recounted Daveâs participation in a match-racing regatta at Pequot Yacht Club that exemplified his commitment to the sport of sailing. "Dave was excited about the regatta, and came back to me with this proposal: He would invite the best he knew to come sail, but he would also like to offer a series of clinics to club members, any and all who were interested, to learn how to match race. This included many intermediate sailors, most had never match raced before."
"Dave gave a series of lectures with handouts, which he combined with on-the-water drills and practice races that he coached. In addition, he was heavily involved in the running of the regatta, down to the minutest details, including teaching the Sailing Manager and the Race Committee how to run a match-racing regatta. The Friday night of the regatta, he gave a talk and slide show about match racing to a packed house of members and invited competitors", Foote continued. "His selfless contributions brought a whole new group of sailors into match racing, ninety members participated in all aspects of this program, with Olympic silver and gold medallists, medallists in the Pan Am games, Rolex Yachtsmen and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year coming to sail in the event. Most of his efforts benefited others, very little of this Herculean efforts was for himself. His dedication and generosity of spirit energized an entire club and made this very special series of events possible." 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.