Deceased , Modern

Richard Irving

Stearns III



Richard Stearns III is an American sailor who has medaled in the Olympics and the Pan American Games in the Star Class. He has also coached extensively, was a President of Murphy and Nye Sailmakers, and a Vice President of United States Yacht Racing Union (USYRU).

The following is excerpted from the Lake Michigan Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 2014:

Dick Stearns, known the world over for his sail racing success, quietly worked to make the sport better. He was coach and manager for two Olympic teams (Canada and Germany) and for two Pan American teams (Mexico and Columbia). He served as Chairman of the United States Olympic Yachting Committee for eight years, 1968 to 1976. He was a member of the US Olympic Committee Executive Board for five years. He was elected Vice President of the United States Yacht Racing Union (now US Sailing).His extensive sailing knowledge was brought to bear as President of Murphy and Nye Sailmakers, where he not only manufactured winning sails, but also shared his knowledge with anyone on how to improve their sailing techniques. Characteristically unselfish and immodest, he helped hundreds of sailors to have many hours of fun sail racing-boats.
Dick owned an airplane which carried him to many sailing events and, if lucky, fellow competitors could catch a ride. His fellowship and leadership has helped make the sport of sail racing an important part of American life.

Resume in Technical, Sailing & Contributor Categories:

Owner Murphy & Nye Sailmakers from 1952 to 1984.
Pioneered Synthetic sails
1954 Star Worlds Championship first (Murphy & Nye Sails) Carlos de Cardenas (Orlon Sails)
1957 and 1958 “Dyna” 58 foot Burger hull 984 Full suit (Murphy & Nye Sails) synthetic sails, one of the first large boats with all Synthetic sails. “Dyna” won both the Chicago Mackinac race and the Bermuda race.
Patented the machine sewn bolt rope. Before that the rope that attached the sail to the mast was hand sewn on the sail.
Pioneered the cross-cut sail when Orlon and Dacron came out. Prior to Orlon, sails were made of cotton and were miter cut.
Dick’s company would go on to become the dominant force in one-design sails for the next 25 years.

1950 first of eight Star boat Northern Hemisphere Championships (silver Star).
Five Star Boat Great Lakes Star Class championships
Two North American Championships
1962 he won the Star Class Worlds Championship in Portugal with long time crew Lindsey Williams. The fleet of 73 boats from 19 nations shattered the record for most boats at a Star Class Worlds.
1963 Dick won a Gold Medal at the Pan American Games with crew Buck Halperin
1964 Dick won a Silver Medal in the Tokyo Olympics with crew Lindsey Williams
1967 and 1968 he won the Star boat Bacardi Cup
1969 2nd Soling North American Championship
Two-time Tartan 10 North American Champion
Etchells Great Lake Championship in 1976
53 Races to Mackinac

1968 Assistant Olympic Coach assistant Olympic coach
1972 Olympic Sailing coach in
1976 Olympic Sailing coach
1972 to 1976 Chairman of the US Olympic Committee
1971 to 1975 Vice President of the United States Yacht Racing Union (now U. S. Sailing)
25 Years serving on the board of the Chicago Sea Scouts

For further reading:

 Dick Stearns obituary

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