- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — A prime piece of real estate at the city dock will become the site of a National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Organizers plan to have some exhibits on display at the site this spring, when the Volvo Ocean Race makes a stop in Annapolis, but long-range plans are uncertain.

The site, adjacent to the U.S. Naval Academy, now serves as headquarters for the state Natural Resources Police.

Organizers hope that Annapolis will become for competitive sailing the equivalent of the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., and the National Football League Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The announcement was made yesterday during a press conference at the city dock with state and local officials in attendance. Prominent figures in American sailing on hand included Janet Baxter, president of U.S. Sailing; George Hinman, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and Gary Jobson, a noted sailor and television commentator for sailing events.

“We want to acknowledge brilliance out on the water,” Mr. Jobson said. “Most importantly, we want to inspire others to do well on the water.”

The Hall of Fame will help preserve the history of sailing and its impact on American culture, he said.

The state will make some space available at the site of the Natural Resources Police headquarters, perhaps on the piers where police boats are docked, for the Volvo race event in April.

Tad Wood of the Department of Natural Resources said the state will begin a search for a more appropriate spot for the Natural Resources Police headquarters.

While the search is going on, organizers of the museum will raise money and begin to make plans for using the site when it is turned over by the state.

Buck Buchanan, president of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, said the museum will, in cooperation with U.S. Sailing, include a display on winners of the Rolex Yachtsman and Rolex Yachtswoman awards.

Organizers will solicit donations of sailing artifacts, works of art, literature, film, photographs and other memorabilia of the history of the sport of sailing.

They anticipate having multiple sites for the museum, with the old house at the city dock as the main site.

Organizers have signed a memorandum of understanding with Annapolis and state governments and will negotiate a permanent lease for the site at the city dock.

Annapolis is one of the major sailing centers in the United States.

In addition to being, along with Baltimore, one of the stops in the Volvo round-the-world race, it annually hosts two large in-the-water boat shows, one for sailboats and one for powerboats.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, and Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer, a Democrat, said the Hall of Fame will add to Annapolis’ reputation as a sailing center and will boost the city’s tourist industry.

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