by Bob Wonders
In its November issue, the magazine published one of those articles bound to cause widespread discussion among boating enthusiasts.
Respected journalist Dennis Caprio came up with 10 people he rated as legends of the US industry, people who made significant contributions to recreational boating over the past 100-years.
A check on an on-line dictionary explains ‘legend’ as “an extremely famous person admired for their ability in a particular sphere.”
Caprio rated his list as ‘The Motor Boating Hall of Fame.”
Eight of Caprio’s 10 legends are no longer with us; including the only one of the 10 I had the privilege of meeting, Jim Wynne, inventor of the modern stern drive.
Caprio’s ‘Big Ten’ comprise author Charles F.Chapman, broker/builder Richard Bertram, Hatteras founder Willis Slane, Carl Kiekhaefer, or Mercury fame, Christopher Columbus Smith, often referred to as ‘the father of American boating’, Gar Wood, pioneer powerboat racer and believed to be the first man to achieve 100mph (160km/hr) afloat, Jim Wynne, Ole Evinrude, Carlo Riva and the only man I was not familiar with, Jim Leishman, credited with re-writing the famous book, ‘Voyaging under Power.’
Leishman and the renowned Italian, Carlo Riva, are the only members of the group still making contributions to boating.
Caprio’s Hall of Fame started me thinking; ok, we don’t boast names as world famous as, say, Carl Kiekhaefer, Richard Bertram or Ole Evinrude, but there’s no doubt in my mind that a number of Australians have left indelible footprints and made major contributions to the recreational boating industry.
Some may have achieved that status in boat building, others in the retail sphere, some in yachting, while others have crossed the divide between power and sail and left their mark on both.
I believe we can nominate a ‘Powerboat-World Hall of Fame’ by choosing 10 Australians who have made the same ‘significant contributions’ to recreational boating.
For obvious reasons, this being Powerboat-World, we’ll stay with those whose contributions to the industry have been on the powerboat side; perhaps we can call on our Sail-World colleagues at a later date to establish a Sail-World Hall of Fame.
Now not for one minute do I consider myself knowledgeable enough to name the industry’s ‘Top Ten.’
I’m asking for help from Powerboat-World readers.
I will make an effort to nominate 10 outstanding names in a forthcoming issue, but I’m asking readers to forward their own nominations.
Tell us who you believe deserve to be members of Powerboat-World’s inaugural Hall of Fame.
Here are some surnames, in alphabetical order, to start you thinking; Barry-Cotter, Gowland, Haines, Halvorsen, Hunt, Quantrill, Savage, Spooner, Steber, Warby.
I’m not suggesting these comprise our Big Ten; tell us if someone is more deserving, if some obvious name does not appear.
Help Powerboat-World produce the inaugural Powerboat-World Hall of Fame
If you want your name published, that’s fine, if you’d prefer to nominate names anonymously that’s fine, too.
Let’s join forces and pay tribute to those who have made contributions to recreational boating that may never be equalled.
For some additional background, my first “Hall of Fame experience” was seeing the National Marine Manufacturers (NMMA, US equivalent to the Australian Marine Industries Federation) version at the first Miami International Boat Show I attended back in the 1980s.
A couple of years or so later I suggested, through the Boating Industry Association of NSW, that a similar means of recognising those who have made major contributions to the industry in Australia would be welcomed.
Sherry Donaldson, CEO of the AMIF, embraced the idea and made every effort to establish a Hall of Fame based on, though not identical to, the US model.
Unfortunately, the AMIF has not been able to unearth a sponsor willing to put the finance up front that would be required.
It did however choose its inaugural inductee in Ian McAndrew.
Although he may not be well known outside the boating industry, McAndrew has earned the honour.
He could well claim credit for bringing Australian boating from ‘cottage industry’ standards to world-class professionalism.
He was a towering figure in the Newcastle-Hunter region business community and has devoted countless hours and dedication to the boating industry.
You can read the details on his wonderful contributions to the Marine industry at http://www.amif.asn.au/previous_hall_of_fame_inductee.29.html
There you have it, let’s see if Powerboat-World can determine who is qualified to enjoy similar status to Ian McAndrew by becoming the inaugural inductees into the Powerboat-World Hall of Fame.