Deceased , Modern



1932 - 2023

Captain Forsyth has been deepwater sailing on small yachts for more than fifty years, logging almost 320,000 nautical miles aboard his yachts Fiona and Iona.  He is a recipient of the Seven Seas Award, and a Blue Water Medal Winner, presented by the Cruising Club of America in 2000 for a cruise to Antarctica.

He combined sailing with a successful professional career. As a young man, Captain Forsyth flew as a fighter pilot in the RAF, achieving a green instrument rating, flying Meteor jets. In Canada, he obtained a Commercial Pilot License for single and multi-engine aircraft, land and sea. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electric engineering. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Eric is also a registered professional Engineer in Canada and a chartered Engineer in the E. U. He is an acknowledged world authority on the application of superconductivity, he was awarded the Halperin prize by the IEEE for power transmission research, the highest award given annually in this field. He was Chair of the Accelerator Development Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1986 to 1990, responsible for the design of a superconducting particle accelerator called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). RHIC was constructed after his retirement and is now the largest nuclear physics research facility in the U.S.

In 1968, after eight stressful years in senior positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he took a leave of absence and sailed with his wife, three-year-old son and the family cat to the Caribbean on his 35-foot sailboat Iona. They cruised in the almost unspoiled islands for over a year. Captain Forsyth built his own boat, Fiona, based on a Westsail 42 bare hull, a project that he started in the mid-seventies and took eight years to complete. While building the boat as a diversion from woodworking he restored a 1928 Bentley. He rallied the car for more than 30 years, winning many prizes for long-distance driving.

Observing how the world has changed during his 50 plus years of sailing, Captain Forsyth is concerned by the threat of global warming and the way society will function after the end of the fossil fuel age. He has proposed an ocean race for sailboats which will use no fossil fuel, analogous to the earth spinning through space with no fuel either. The race will publicize the problems facing the world in an understandable way, race information is at

Until his passing is 2023, Captain Forsyth gave talks and video presentations, and has been an inspiration to many sailors. The sailing videos on his website, along with his seminars, often result in new sailors joining the sport – ready to educate themselves on both boat restoration and sailing. The many grateful emails he receives from newly inspired amateurs attest to his infectious enthusiasm and love for the sport.

Accomplishments and Honors

  • Blue Water Medal Winner – Presented by the Cruising Club of America in 2000 for a cruise to Antarctica.
  • Seven Seas Award Winner – Presented by the Seven Seas Cruising Association in 2008.
  • Member of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, the South Bay Cruising Club and the Cruising Club of America.
  • Licensed as a US Coast Guard Charter Boat Captain, he holds a 100-ton Master license endorsed for Auxiliary Sail.
  • Shares his sailing adventures with the sailing fraternity by means of films, videos, numerous magazine articles, and a book chronicling his sailing history. He has given many presentations to the public, including yacht clubs and power squadrons.
  • Has provided the opportunity for about 200 aspiring sailors to get deep water experience by crewing aboard Fiona.

Significant Passages

  • Two circumnavigations of the globe, one westabout via the Panama Canal and one eastabout via Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.
  • Circumnavigation of North America via the Northwest Passage.
  • Arctic cruise to Spitzbergen at 79°N.
  • Cruise to the Antarctic circle on the Peninsular at 67°S.
  • Four roundings of Cape Horn, three eastabout and one westabout.
  • Four visits to the Falkland Islands, including a cruise through much of the archipelago.
  • Four cruises to South Georgia Island, sub-Antarctica.
  • Five transits of the Panama Canal, three transits of the Caledonian Canal, two transits of the Kiel Canal.
  • Single-handed passages include crossing the Atlantic from the Canaries to Salvador, Brazil, crossing the Barents Sea from Nome to Dutch Harbor, Bermuda to New York, St. Thomas to Grenada.
  • Six Newport Bermuda races under Captain Hilgendorff, sailing as navigator in the 1970s and 1980s. using celestial navigation. This led to Captain Forsyth designing a chronometer adapted for use for celestial navigation for which he was awarded a patent.
  • Twenty seven Atlantic crossings under sail

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