Harry and Karen Carpenter
US SAILING One-Design SERVICE Award
John H. Gardiner, Jr. Trophy
Harry and Karen Carpenter, Deep Creek, MD
The John F. Gardiner Jr Trophy for One Design Service is awarded for ongoing distinguished service and leadership in the promotion of one design sailing and class organization. It is with great respect and admiration that I have the pleasure to honor Harry Carpenter and his wife Karen with US SAILING’s most prestigious One-design awards.
I want to take this time to share with you about the kind of people Harry and Karen are… I first met them about 5 years ago – at a regatta of course- when I crewed in the Mallory Championships in Flying Scott which I had never sailed before. As I was headed to the event people said – “Oh, say Hi to Harry and Karen for me”…. “Oh, Harry and Karen will take good care of you”… “Harry knows everything about sailing those Flying Scots ask him anything”… You see, Harry and Karen build Flying Scots and provided a beautiful fleet of new boats and planned to support the event all week. The regatta was a competitor’s dream with beautiful weather, great winds everyday at 25 kts plus, and brand new identical boats that went the same speed- well depending upon the skipper… But put yourself in Harry & Karen’s shoes… imagine if you were going to loan your brand new shiny fleet of 11 boats to 33 athletic, aggressive, super competitive men (and a few of us women) who never sailed a flying Scot, barely knew how to rig it, and all were going to push the boats to the limit to win the regatta in big breeze. Could you watch? Harry and Karen went on the water every day with everything including the kitchen sink in their motorboat called “Scot’s Guard”. They looked forward to watching their “boats” plane around the course and were confident they would not need to fix many things as the boats are built so well. But as the Flying Scots left and returned to the club in the small unfamiliar channel in high winds, almost every skipper found the rocky shoal on a daily basis……You all know that dreadful sound… you just can’t pull the board up fast enough…. As the competitors quickly left the boats and headed to the social events, Harry & Karen worked quietly into the early morning light to repairing the boards to provide equal boats for the competitors- every night without a complaint. They knew the importance of keeping the boats extremely equal AND they personally still owned the entire fleet and hoped they would be in good enough shape after the regatta to sell and recoup part of their investment.
Harry and Karen first supported US Sailing in 1996 by providing new Flying Scots for the Adams Cup finals and then did so for the aforementioned Mallory event in 2000. .
Despite the long hours and little thanks, they repeatedly return to provide boats and support to the US Sailing Championships.
In 2002 they supported the Championship of Champions
In 2003 they really outdid themselves by providing a brand new fleet of Flying Scots for the Adams Cup Champs and supported the Sears Cup (try keeping 11 boats going for 33 teenagers)
AND more challenging yet provided another new fleet of FS for the ICSA Sloop National Championship…try keeping 30 cool rad College sailing dudes happy in the shifty East River in 25 knots.
But once again, this upcoming year he has committed to provide Flying Scots for the combined Mallory and Adams at American YC with 22 boats and the Championship of Champions in Detroit!
Think about the amount of volunteer man hours they personally put into these events by preparing the boats, driving them to the host club, rigging them, maintaining them, being on the water, derigging them and taking them home. While US SAILING is very fortunate to have another boat company support our youth events in exchange for title sponsorship and ongoing national recognition- We need to recognize Harry and Karen’s quiet personal devotion to US SAILING – perhaps Flying Scot Inc should be recognized as the unofficial sponsor for the “other” championships.
The passion Harry and Karen have for the sport of sailing is infectious and they continually give to the sport. On his home waters Harry is literally the glue that keeps the flotilla of Sailing School boats together for the kids at no cost–many of you know what a big job that is! He recently learned of a start up community sailing program in Washington DC who had donated Flying Scots that were pretty beat up so he went to them and offered to upgrade the fleet- at no cost- as he wanted the new sailors to have a fun first experience. Now, please, don’t everyone go and ask him to do that for you… Harry loves to give to the sport and has a hard time saying no as his wife, Karen gently reminds him. He is always helping people at regattas. He even helped me last year…. he loaned his personal Flying Scot so our President, Janet Baxter and I could sail the FS Womens Championship-, which we won. And on top of that he is one of the FS class leaders and champion race in his own right.
I am so glad I met Harry and Karen at the Mallory Championship five years ago. Our paths have crossed many times since then. Either by fate or by luck, my husband and I now own a few Flying Scots on Deep Creek in Western Maryland and sail against Harry regularly. We are fortunate to now know and love their wonderful family very well on a personal basis. More importantly, Harry and Karen have shown us – and thousands others- how crucial it is to give to the sport and with quiet leadership and intense passion. Please join me in honoring Harry and Karen tonight.