Today in Busan, Korea, International Sailing Federation (ISAF) President Göran Petersson presented Bill Bentsen of the USA with the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy in recognition of his outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.
The presentation of the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy was made at the end of the first day of meetings for the Council of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the culmination of this year's ISAF Annual Conference taking place in Busan, Korea.
Presenting the Trophy, ISAF President Göran Petersson, said: "Being awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy is an honour reserved to a few great names who, with their voluntary commitment and devotion, have contributed in an outstanding way to the sport of sailing. Bill Bentsen is known to many of us as the rules expert and has contributed enormously to The Racing Rules of Sailing as we use it today. It is only fitting now that the International Sailing Federation presents Bill with our highest honour for his contribution to the sport of sailing."
Bill Bentsen exemplifies the idea of sailing as a lifetime's sport. As a competitor, he won two Olympic medals: bronze at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games in the Flying Dutchman followed by gold six years later in Kiel as crew for Buddy Melges in the Soling. He was a member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee for 25 years, was also a highly respected International Race Official and a key figure in US SAILING's governance.
On receiving the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, Bill Bentsen said, "To say that I feel honoured today would be a serious understatement. I value this Beppe Croce Award because it confirms the importance of The Racing Rules of Sailing and ISAF's recognition of that fact."
Bentsen went on to explain how and why the rules have become so important to him, pointing to the framework they provide for competition and its conduct, and the opportunity for resolving conflict. He concluded, "Finally - and I believe this is unique to sailing - the rules encourage competitors to apply the rules to their own actions, and to take appropriate penalties when they have broken a rule. I think this helps them to become better competitors, but also better people."
The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. In memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969-1986, the Federazione Italiana Vela presented the Trophy to the ISAF and it was awarded for the first time in 1988.
The roll of honour is an impressive one, including multiple Olympic medallists, rules gurus and designers, and all have dedicated an outstanding amount of time to the sport of sailing.
Find out more about the Trophy and view more details on Bill Bentsen's achievements as well as those of all the past recipients at www.sailing.org/beppecroce