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Butch Ulmer: Sailing Hall of Famer

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For Butch Ulmer it was all in a day’s work...sort of!

By Buttons Padin

The word has spread that Charles “Butch” Ulmer has been selected for the Sailing Hall of Fame. For those that know him well, that comes as no surprise.

After the Navy, Butch joined his father’s Ulmer Sails in 1965 starting a nearly 60-year career as one of the world’s finest and most respected sailmakers. During that time, he expanded UK Sailmakers to include over 40 lofts worldwide. While sailmaking was his foundation, Butch gave sailing much, much more.

As a competitor, he sailed at the US Naval Academy, vied for an Olympic berth in the Finn, raced on every conceivable handicap boat from 30-footers to maxis, and, arguably, derived his greatest pleasure racing for decades in Larchmont Yacht Club’s winter IC Dinghy fleet.

But his HOF selection is as much about what Butch did for others. His Racing Rules seminars, with their opening jokes, are storied as are his adjudications on Protest Committees. His vast PRO credentials include world and continental championships plus the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta. Then there were the times he’d go sailing with a friend or customer after which everyone onboard came ashore a better, smarter sailor. Perhaps his greatest gift to sailors was simply when he’d sit, beer in his hand, and share tales of past races, sailors he’d known, and of course, that one joke you’d never heard.

Sailmaking is what Butch did, sharing his passion for sailing is why he did it. Congratulations on your selection, Butch, and for helping us sail with confidence.

Learn more about the Sailing HOF here.

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