The sailing community of Marblehead plays a prominent role in the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Last month, another was added as Dave Curtis was one of 10 inductees at the ceremony held at Annapolis, Maryland.
The honor was also bestowed posthumously on Marbleheaders W. Starling Burgess and John Gale Alden, who were represented by their grandchildren, Steve Taylor and Julia Clough, respectively.
“It’s a pretty cool honor. I was really nervous,” said Curtis, a two-time Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association All-American (1967-68) while at Tufts University. He has also won numerous one-design titles in various classes, including the Soling World Championship in 1981, two Soling North American championships and Pan Am Game victories in the J/24 and Soling classes.
“We had no idea what order they were going to call us up in. I was the seventh, so I kept getting anxious with each one ahead of me. When I got up there I said I was more nervous than at any other awards I had been to ... and that I had been to a few. That was good for a laugh.”
The event was held in a huge tent with the back open and a view of the water, said Curtis, with upwards of 750 people in attendance.
Curtis said immediately after he was inducted, a 40-foot boat all decked out like a pirate ship with water cannons went by and blew its horn loudly.
“There were a lot of people on that pirate boat, especially young children,” said Curtis. “Somebody was on a dinghy and they’d shoot the water cannons at him until he pretended to be shot. The kids loved it.”
For Curtis, a seven-time Etchells World Champion and two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, one of the nicest surprises of the weekend was racing a 44-foot sloop with a team practicing for the Navy Regatta (which was held the following day). It’s an event that Curtis won back in his college days.