Deceased , Historic




1913 - 1995

“A planner who leaves little to chance”

From 1930 to 1975, Bill Cox, the 1966 Yachtsman of the Year, ICSA Hall of Famer, and Herreshoff Trophy recipient, won multiple trophies, awards, and accolades in yacht racing in the United States. A leader of his collegiate sailing team (Princeton, ’35), where he and his team won the McMillan Cup (College Sailing’s oldest event) he was instrumental in aiding and advancing the formation of an expanded ICYRA (Inter-Collegiate Yacht Racing Association). Along with George O’Day (Harvard) and Harry Anderson (Yale) he also helped develop the ICYRA team race rules in the 1940’s, which were the forerunners of the NAYRU (now US Sailing) and International Yacht Racing Union (later ISF) team race rules.

A great article on Bill Cox, published in March 1938 in Yachting, can be found here: Wm. S. Cox, Sr. article from Mar. 1938 Yachting


* It is important to note that there were no Olympics between 1936 and 1948, the 12 years after Cox graduated from college, when he might have embarked on an Olympic campaign. William Cox was a naval officer during World War II.

  • 1970, inducted into the ICYRA Hall of Fame (Princeton ’35) – he was the only 1935 graduate inducted. To put this in perspective, because ICSA (formerly ICYRA) did not start conferring All-American status until 1967, and College Sailor of the Year until 1968, Cox’s ICYRA Hall of Fame induction as the only 1935 graduate is comparable to being a 2-time All American and 1935 College Sailor of the Year. Only five others cited in 12 years between 1928-1940: Arthur Knapp, Princeton (’28), William Cudahy, Harvard (’34), Eric Olsen, MIT (’39), Runyon Colie, MIT (’40), and Bob Bavier, Williams (’40). Three of the above-named are already in the National Sailing Hall of Fame.
  • 1935, Winner of ICYRA Championship for Princeton
  • 1938, 2nd (after Corny Shields) IOD Championship
  • 1956, Lightning World Champion. 2nd was Gene Walet and 3rd Tom Allen
  • 1957 Lightning World Championship
  • 1966 Yachtsman of the Year
  • In 1966  New York Times reported that he had won the Hipkins Trophy for Men’s Championship on Long Island Sound a remarkable five times
  • A leading match-racer, Mr. Cox skippered the 12-Meter yacht American Eagle in the 1964 America’s Cup defender trials, and was runner-up to Constellation, the successful defender, skippered by Bob Bavier.
  • According to his nominator, he was the only skipper to win three different swap-boat championships — in which competitors race in identical boats provided by race organizers — of the United States Yacht Racing Union:

o Sears Cup for the National  Junior Championship (1930)

o Mallory Cup for the National Men’s Championship (1966)

o Prince of Wales Bowl for the National Match Racing Championship (1974)



  • 1936, selected as ICYRA President, where he was instrumental in expanding collegiate sailing and later with George O’Day (Harvard) and Harry Anderson (Yale) helped develop the ICYRA Team Race rules in the 1940’s, forerunner of the US Sailing and World Sailing Team Race Rules.
  • 1974 received Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for “Outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in North America.” Some of his contributions included the Cox-Sprague Scoring System and his involvement in Safety-at-Sea with an upgraded design of life jackets.


  • With Bob Harris, Mr. Cox co-designed a breakthrough modern catamaran, the 16’11” Tigercat, which won the 1959 Yachting One-of-a-Kind Regatta, and was built by Lippincott and Pearson Yachts to become the first one-design catamaran class in the US, selling some 160 boats between 1960 and 1963 (predating the Hobie Cat by 8 years).


Link to a NY Times article from July 12, 1964 that provides details that give some background to Cox’s excellence on the water: NY Times article on Bill Cox, 1964



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