Long Time Sailing Supporter Means Davis Passes Away

Means Davis (left) receiving the Harman Hawkins Trophy from former US Sailing President, Bruce Burton.

US Sailing marks with deep regret the passing of Means Davis (Acworth, Ga.), whose contributions to the sport of sailing and to US Sailing spanned more than 45 years. Davis held many positions at US Sailing, including National and International Judge, Regional Race Officer, and Judge and Race Management Instructor. He served on the Board of Directors, the Review Board, the Judges Education and Training Subcommittee and others. He was also Commodore of the international Snipe class in 1991. In 2015, Davis was awarded the Harman Hawkins Trophy for his outstanding contributions to race administration.

His “passionate love,” Davis once said, was Optimist Dinghy racing, and he ran and judged events from club races to world championships. At the same time, he mentored judges in working with race committees, calling rule 42 on the water, and perhaps most important, interacting with junior sailors in the protest room.

A fellow race official observed, “His most fervent wish is to make it right for the competitors.” A friend and frequent competitor remembered that “Every time I ended up in a rules situation, he always turned the tables by asking me just enough questions so that I answered my own questions.”

Tom Farquhar, who was Field of Play Manager for sailing at the 1996 Olympic Games, recalled Davis’s contribution to race administration at the Olympics: “Means moved temporarily to Savannah and was an invaluable asset to the race management activities for the Games. His knowledge of how things got done in Georgia, the people in Savannah, and what it took to produce high quality race management were invaluable.” The current US Sailing race officer training program grew out of that effort.

Davis began sailing in high school after an injury knocked him off the state championship track and field team. He was a serious Snipe sailor for 25 years before turning his attention to race management and judging full-time in 1989. In that time, he said, he “learned every one of the rules one at a time, the hard way.”

To read more about Means Davis’s accomplishments, please visit Scuttlebutt issue 5854.