Noel M. Field, Jr., of Little Compton, RI, a US Sailing National Judge, former Board member, advocate for sailors, and champion of sportsmanship, died at home on June 12. He was 88.
Field served as Chief Judge at scores of high-level events, including Shields, 470, Interclub, 210, and ILCA (Laser) National Championships. He also served on the juries for the US Olympic Trials in 1976 with Gregg Bemis, in 1980 and in 2006, as well as the 1980 America’s Cup challenger trials.
At every opportunity, he took time to mentor racing sailors and aspiring judges in the racing rules and protest hearing best practices. He was also an accomplished sailor in his own right, winning multiple Yngling national championships crewing for his daughter, Ellie Field.
Field was a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Yacht Racing Union and the United States Yacht Racing Union from 1973 to 1978, including terms as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President. He was also instrumental in organizing USYRU’s move from New York City to Newport, RI, in 1977. He served on US Sailing’s Review Board since 2003 and was appointed its first Sailor Ombudsman in 2004. He also contributed to the development of standards for certification of race officials in the early days of national certification.
He was a dedicated supporter of competitive sailing since the early 1970s when he began judging at college sailing regattas. Dave Perry recalled, “Noel was always very supportive of the collegiate events we ran at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club and generously drove down and judged on many occasions…we were a club program with no adult in sight, so we appreciated his presence in many ways.”
Field was known for his analytical approach to problems and his sense of humor. “Noel had a sharp mind, a keen but dry wit and was steadfastly dependable,” said former US Sailing President Bob Hobbs. Former President Dave Rosekrans added, “Noel always was available for good advice and never said no when asked for a task. A fine man.”
In 2019 Field was awarded the Harman Hawkins Trophy for his exceptional contributions in the field of race administration and the Judge Emeritus designation in recognition of his long service as a judge.