Awards & Trophies

Peter J. Barrett Sportsmanship Award

The U.S Singlehanded Championship first sailed on Long Island Sound in the Finn Class was won by Peter J. Barrett who, if he had not lightly touched with his shoulder the rudder of a starboard tack boat he was ducking in the fifth race, which only he was aware of, would have won a Gold medal (rather than a Silver) in the Finn at the 1964 Olympic Games. Barrett competed in three Olympic Games and won two medals.

1964  Silver    Finn     Tokyo, Japan
1968  Gold     Star      Acapulco, Mexico

Fair play and honesty were more important to Peter than medals.  Peter’s only handicap was his eyesight.  When his thick glasses were doused with saltwater, in the heavy weather he reveled in, sailing was a special challenge.  In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, just after the start of Finn race five, Peter tacked onto port, ducking sterns.  He felt his shoulder lightly touch the rudder of a starboard tacker but neither the helmsman nor the other competitors noticed. Even though only Peter was aware of the contact, he retired from the race.  Staying clear of the fleet, he sailed to the weather mark, arriving 50 yards ahead of the first official competitor.  Peter was awarded the silver medal, but final results confirmed that he placed in the top five in the fifth race, he would have easily won the gold. Throughout his competitive career, Peter won national championships in 470s, Finns, C and A Scows.

Peter loved competition, sailing, his family, friends, and life.  His big grin and nodding head were there for all whether he beat you or you beat him.  With his high standards of fair play and honesty, and his exceptional toughness and sailing skill, it is easy to understand the ultimate compliment of North Sails founder, Lowell North, “Peter Barrett is the best person I have ever known.”

To maintain the integrity of the trophy, it will remain on display or in safe quarters at the National Governing Body of the sport – U.S. Sailing Association

Previous Award Recipients

Sportsmanship Award – Peter J. Barrett Award

  • 2023 – Andre Patin – Forest Hills, NY
  • 2017 – Peter Edwards – Nevada City, CA
  • 2013 – Ravi Parent – Austin, TX
  • 2012 – Michael Bradley – Long Beach, CA
  • 2011 – Tracy Usher-Montara, CA
  • 2010 – Michael Matan- New York, NY (Laser) Callie Naughton – Marblehead, MA (Radial)
  • 2009 – Nicholas Cromwell- Bristol, RI
  • 2008 – Richard Chapman – Libertyville, IL
  • 2007 – Peter Seidenberg – Portsmouth, RI
  • 2006 – Ben Richardson – Gloucester, MA
  • 2005 – Vann Wilson – Long Beach, CA
  • 2004 – Ryan Minth – New York, NY
  • 2003 – Anna Tunnicliffe – Norfolk, VA
  • 2002 – Lindsay Hewitt