In 2002 he was awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, presented for outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. He was presented with the Trophy in Oslo in 2003 by ISAF Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald of Norway and His Majesty King Constantine.
Jan was born in Oslo, Norway on 28 January 1922. He was a sailor in the merchant navy for two years, before working in a shipyard where, on a university apprenticeship, he had his first taste of naval architecture.
Following the Second World War, Jan completed his naval architect studies and was then employed as a naval architect for Boatservice in Oslo and Mandal. In 1956 he established his own design and consulting firm Jan H. Linge A/S. In the sailing world, Jan is known mainly for designing the Yngling, Soling, both of which went on to become Olympic Classes, and several 5.5 metre designs.
The Soling class was used in the Olympic Sailing Competition from 1972-1996, with over 2,000 boats having been built. The Yngling made its Olympic debut in 2004 and is also one of the Olympic Classes for the Beijing Games. Jan followed his boats into Olympic competition, having participated as technical advisor and reserve crew for the Norwegian Olympic Sailing Team at the Olympic Games in 1952, 1960, 1964 and 1968.
Johan OFFERMANS, President of the International Soling Association said, 'With Jan, the Soling Class died a bit too. When he designed the Soling over 30 years ago, he could not have foreseen the bright future of his child.
'I remember Jan giving a speech at the closing ceremony of the 1999 Europeans in Norway. The room was full of sailors who listened to him like a child listens to its father. Jan explained that of all the boats he designed and built the Soling was his favourite. In his own unique words he told the sailors that since the Soling was his favourite child, the people loving and sailing it were his favourite grandchildren. Like all sailors who were there, I was deeply touched by his devotion and love.'
He added, 'I will remember him as a passionate sailor and designer, who has not only given me the joy of sailing the Soling, but so many others as well. His contribution to the Soling class and the ISA Committee is beyond recognition.'
Jan's work in the world of sailing brought him great recognition and respect. As well as being presented with the Beppe Croce Trophy, he was also awarded an ISAF Gold Medal in 2000 for his service to the International Sailing Federation. During the 1960s his contribution to Norwegian industry was recognized with a prize of honour by the Norwegian Scientific Research Board and in 1971 he was awarded the Norwegian Design Prize for the Yngling. In 1998 he was made a Knight of 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav, for excellent services to Country and mankind.
ISAF extends our sincere sympathy and condolences to Jan's family and friends.