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; coach and manager 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 5 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, he 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.
His immodesty carried over into his home where he did not display the hundreds of awards he won:
- Star Class World Champion,
- Pan American Star Class Gold Medal,
- Olympic Games Star Class Silver Medal,
- 7 North American Star Class Championships,
- Etchells Class Great Lakes Champion,
- Soling Class Great Lakes Champion,
- 2 Tartan 10 Class National Championships, and
- 2 Star Class Bacardi Cup wins.
All this achieved in one design boats.
He enjoyed winning, either as skipper or crew, six Chicago to Mackinac races and one Port Huron to Mackinac race. He won the National Offshore One Design-Chicago Regatta Overall one time. He raced 8 Southern Ocean Racing Conference series and one Bermuda race.
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.
The Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation is honored to induct Richard I. Stearns, III, into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.
November 13, 2014
Chicago Yacht Club, Monroe Station