Sailing museum drops anchor for a while

ON THE WATER

May 07, 2006|By ANNIE LINSKEY

Even after the Volvo Ocean Race yachts slide away from Annapolis today and the Maritime Heritage Festival shuts down, a piece of sailing pomp will remain downtown.

The National Sailing Hall of Fame and Museum opened Thursday at City Dock, where it will remain until the end of the boat shows in October.

The hall is temporarily housed in an air-conditioned tent next to the Maryland Natural Resources Police building. It will move into the Natural Resources Police building when that agency finds a new home, organizers said.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in the May 7 Anne Arundel edition about the National Sailing Hall of Fame and Museum in Annapolis misquoted Sailing World Editor David Reed. Referring to his hope that the hall will feature artifacts from the sport, Reed said he hoped the museum would get Paul Cayard's El Toro sailboat.
The Sun regrets the error.

Lee Tawney, a consultant on the project, said that along with a physical space, he hopes the hall will have a significant online presence meant to "make sailing come alive virtually."

"The concept here is that baseball, basketball, lacrosse all have their hall of fame, and, believe it or not, sailing doesn't have a hall of fame," he said.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced the project in December at a crowded news conference that was attended by sailing luminaries, including U.S. Sailing President Janet Baxter and ESPN sailing correspondent Gary Jobson. It will be funded by private donations.

The temporary location, although technically a tent, has a polished feel. There are hardwood floors, track lighting and flat-screen plasma TVs.

The 1,200-square-foot space is divided into three galleries. In the center of the first gallery is a new Optimist - a tiny single-sail boat favored among junior sailors on the East Coast.

The sides of each gallery include images of boats under sail and photos of sailors who have been honored by the sport over the years, including those named the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year and those named to the America's Cup Hall of Fame and the Sailing World Hall of Fame.

"We wanted to create an umbrella for all of these listings and a place where people could be engaged with the people who are involved with sailing," Tawney said.

While working on the project, Tawney said, he learned that there is no central collection of all of the American Olympic sailors. "It is going to be one of our missions to fill those gaps," he said.

In the back of the hall, organizers planned to install a computer console where people could track the Volvo Ocean Race online.

Jonathan Goff, who works at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, was hired to design the temporary displays. He said they cover "a general history of sailing very well for the United States."

David Reed, the editor of Sailing World magazine, said he hopes the hall becomes a place to collect artifacts from the sport. "There is not a place out there that exists where physical things can hang - a wheel off an America's Cup boat," he said. "I'm hoping this is a good warehouse for the eclectic. ... Let's get Paul Cayard's Optimist."

Nothing along those lines is in the current space, but Tawney said sailing artifacts will be welcome.

One man who called offered windsurfing artifacts, including photographs of one of the first windsurfers sailing in the 1950s.

After the Volvo boats came to Annapolis, Tawney toured the temporary museum with Cayard, Pirates of the Caribbean skipper, who said, "I've got some things for you."

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

For more information about the National Sailing Hall of Fame, visit www.nationalsailinghall offame.org.

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