Garry Garrison Hoyt

April 7, 1931

Elizabeth, New Jersey

John Garrison Hoyt, known to everyone as Garry raced in three Olympic Games, (1968, 1972, 1976) first in the Finn Class and later the Tempest. Hoyt used his experience from international competition to create clever innovations and encourage aspiring sailors to “Go For The Gold.” He copyrighted the phrase. Hoyt was an idea man and spent the early part of his career as an executive for the advertising firm Young and Rubicam. He spent 25 years living in Puerto Rico. His skill at marketing helped him promote several major innovations in the sport. Soon after the Olympic Games in Canada in 1976 he founded Freedom Yachts. The first boat the company built was a 40 foot cruising yacht that featured a free standing spar with no shrouds. Other innovations included a Jib Boom that makes a headsail a self-tacking sail, an Offset Rig, and a Gun Mount Spinnaker and Single Line Reefing system. His goal was to make sailing simple. He holds ten patents. He left Young & Rubicam in 1980 to spend full time on naval architecture. He worked with Halsey Herreshoff when he first started in the field.

Hoyt was a prolific author and wrote many columns for Sailing World magazine titled, “The Need for Speed.” He wrote six books. One of the most influential was “Go For The Gold” (1971) which was a must read for any serious sailor who wanted to improve. In 2009 he published “Go For The Green” a book that made a case for the use of sail and solar power to shift away from the use of fossil fuels. Hoyt was ahead of his time as a thinker. In 1994 Hoyt and his wife, Donna, worked with Everett Pearson to create the popular daysailer, the Alerion Express. The boat was designed by the late Carl Schumacher. The yacht featured a bulb keel, the Hoyt Jib Boom and an “S” Drive engine. He labeled his yacht, “An elegant daysailer.” Hoyt was an early advocate of updating Olympic Classes and suggested including a foiling moth, the windsurfer, kite board and speedy singlehanded A Cat multihulls long before anyone else.

Garry Hoyt grew up sailing out of the Beachwood Yacht Club on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. He was a champion sailor in the Jet 14, Snipe, and Sneakbox classes. He won the Sunfish World Championship in 1970. He graduated from Colgate University and majored in English. During one of those college summers, he was the Sailing Instructor at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, a job he enjoyed very much and still talks about to this day. He served as an officer in the United States Coast Guard prior to joining Young & Rubicam. He has a daughter and two sons. In his writings he asks young people to consider their role in the sport, “I charge future generations with the responsibility of imaginatively fulfilling sailing’s heritage as the original medium of discovery.”

~Gary Jobson

Preserving America’s Sailing Legacy

Engaging Sailing’s Next Generation


Stay Connected to the National Sailing Hall of Fame