Dave Perry Inducted into National Sailing Hall of Fame

Dave Perry Image

The Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound congratulates Dave Perry on being inducted into The National Sailing Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020.

Dave’s body of accomplishment spans decades, from his race results particularly in match racing, in his role as a leader in the education of The Racing Rules of Sailing, and most importantly as a teacher through his unending commitment to spread and share his joy of sailing and his desire for the young to be not only better as sailboat racers, but to do so while honoring sportsmanship. Few have combined Dave’s passion, unbridled enthusiasm and commitment to sailing – a combination that has made all the difference to the world of sailing.

Dave’s passion for sailing was forged while learning to sail in Sunfish, Blue Jays and Lightnings from his parents and in the junior program at the Pequot Yacht Club in Southport, Connecticut. In 1971 he won the Clinton M. Bell Trophy for having the best junior racing record on western Long Island Sound. During his college years, Dave was twice named an All American Sailor and was captain of the Yale University Sailing Team when Yale won the Intercollegiate Nationals in 1975. Following college, he continued posting strong performances: 1st, 1978 Tasar North Americans; 5th, 1979 Laser Worlds; and 1st, Ideal 18 North American Championship (three times). But it was in match racing that Dave found his specialty, by winning The Knickerbocker Cup two times, The Prince of Wales trophy as the U.S. Sailing Match Racing Champion five times, and by winning the prestigious Congressional Cup twice.

Dave’s sailing accomplishments are almost eclipsed by his record as a coach and educator. Recognized as one of the top authorities on The Racing Rules of Sailing, since 1977 he has worked with US Sailing conducting Advanced Racing Clinics and Sailing Instructor Seminars around the United States. For the past forty plus years Dave Perry has conducted well over 1,000 clinics and seminars on tactics and the rules. Every four years when the new rules are published he updates his book, “Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing.”

He has been the chairman of the US Sailing Appeals Committee and a US Sailing National Judge. Dave was Rules Advisor to the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team in 2008 and 2012, and to two America’s Cup Teams (Victory Challenge (2007) and Artemis Racing 2013 and 2017.

The JSA of LIS had been fortunate to have Dave serve as chief judge at some of its Optimist Class Championships in recent years. Dave has encouraged the young Opti sailors to follow the rules by actively getting them to stand up and turn around twice during the competitor meeting as a reminder to take a penalty on the water. And Dave has often opened the protest hearings to all, to demystify the process, by inviting the sailors into the hearings as observers to witness all aspects, including the normally private committee deliberations.

US Sailing has recognized Dave’s wide range of contributions. In 1995 he became the first recipient of US Sailing’s Captain Joe Prosser Award for exceptional contribution to sailing education; and in March 2001 Dave received the W. Van Alan Clarke, Jr. Trophy, US Sailing’s national award for sportsmanship. And, finally, in 2020 US Sailing awarded him the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing.

The NSHOF article about Dave is available here.