From Dr. Wallace’s nominator:
Robin Wallace was a behind-the-scenes, central figure behind Newport and the U.S. thriving as a world-class sailing capitol.
- In 1983, after the devastating loss of the America’s Cup off Newport’s shore, Robin immediately met with two local sailors. He shared the concern that the loss of the Cup events would abruptly end Newport’s legacy and status as a premier U.S. sailing venue. The three envisioned a new organization to keep sailing alive in Newport by recruiting and managing national and international events. Sail Newport was born that day.
- Thirty-eight years later, Sail Newport is a thriving nonprofit sailing center that has served as a template for many other sailing centers around the U.S. Robin has been a consistent figure in growing Sail Newport every year since its inception.
- From Stuart Streuli, President of Sail Newport, “As an active sailor on Narragansett Bay in a variety of classes over the past 20 years, I can attest to the broad influence of Dr. Robin Wallace on the sport. Simply put, sailing wouldn’t be what it is today in America’s Sailing Capital without his selfless dedication. He’s set an example for excellence and volunteerism to which we should all aspire, even though his track record is unlikely to be matched” .
- Robin has also been extraordinarily successful at engaging hundreds of local, national, and international event organizers to run their events at Sail Newport, New York Yacht Club, and Ida Lewis Yacht Club.
- His success with attracting national and international events to Newport and the U.S. is due to his unique ability and willingness to be involved in every aspect of a sailing event. He talks with sponsors, engages other clubs, recruits volunteers, and more often than not, serves as the principal race officer for the event.
- “Without Robin, the seaside city would have never become the dominant national and international sailing capital it is today,” says Judy McLennan, founder, C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta.
- Several governors of Rhode Island have appointed Robin to the State Yachting Committee, which is charged with fostering Newport and Rhode Island as an international sailing destination.
- His list of volunteer roles and officer status is too long to list here. However, it includes decades of service on U.S. Sailing committees, ISAF/World sailing medical committees, and developing the guidelines to keep sailors of all ages safe while participating in the sport.
- Robin has mentored many race officers, judges, and umpires from around the U.S. He’s invited those individuals to train alongside skilled officials and volunteers who then bring their experience back to their clubs to improve race management.
- Almost every sailing event in the area has Robin’s name associated with it over the past four-plus decades. This includes the earliest Maxi Grand-Prix events he recruited in the ’80s, the BOC Challenge, the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Olympic Trails, the Newport to Bermuda Race, hundreds of national and world championships, classic yacht regattas, Olympic and Paralympic pre-trials, and many others.
- “Robin has made significant and lasting contributions to the sport of sailing by enthusiastically supporting the participation of sailors of all ages, skill levels, and adaptive needs through his involvement and wise leadership,” says Timmy Larr
- For many years, Robin has served the 12 Metre Class to help develop and run dozens of championships to continue the legendary yachts’ legacy.
- Robin’s work with U.S. Sailing and the World Sailing medical committees is noteworthy. As a physician, he served for many years as a volunteer to develop guidelines to keep sailors of all ages safe while enjoying the sport.
- Robin is an active board member, past race officer, and volunteer for the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta. This unique event is one of only a few opportunities in the U.S. for disabled sailors. Sailors travel from around the world for this event that he has developed into a leading U.S. training and racing event.
- “Without Robin, the seaside city would have never become the dominant national and international sailing capital it is today,” says Judy McLennan, founder, C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta. “Robin has been essential to the development of our annual event for sailors with disabilities,” she adds.
- Robin has many awards and recognitions over the years. He was recently named to the Race Committee Emeritus list of the New York Yacht Club in 2020. Also, Sail Newport honored him with a gala and salute on their 30th Anniversary to recognize his contribution to the public sailing center and the sport of sailing.
- Above all, Robin is there for the sailors. He is just as comfortable running a world-class sailing event as he is on one knee helping a diminutive youth sailor rig an Opti.
The following obituary was published in Sailing Scuttlebutt on March 21, 2021 (pdf): Wallace, Robin obituary Sailing Scuttlebutt