US Sailing Remembers Pat Seidenspinner

A Note from Tom Farquhar, Past Chairman of the US Sailing Race Management Committee

Our dear friend, Pat Seidenspinner, died last week, after a long series of illnesses. I met Pat in the summer of 1993 in Savannah, at an ISAF seminar in preparation to become International Race Officers. When I was later asked to head up race management for the 1996 Olympics, I immediately invited Pat to be one of the five race officers, working with a team of people from St. Petersburg and Savannah. She readily agreed. She recruited an enthusiastic group of people from St. Petersburg, and made numerous trips to Savannah for events leading up to the Games. Her ability to integrate a very diverse group of volunteers into a cohesive team was a huge asset. Her ability to anticipate and defuse potentially difficult situations was invaluable as we worked to build strong race management teams for the Games. After the Olympics my wife and I moved to St. Petersburg, living just a block away from Pat and her husband, Ralph. Pat and I collaborated on planning and running many events. Some were long established traditions, and some newly invented. Pat was always cheerful, creative, and focused on what was best for the competitors. She will be missed.

More on Pat’s contributions to sailing

Pat Seidenspinner was a strong contributor to excellence in race administration for many years. As a member of US Sailing’s Race Management Committee, she was editor of its Race Management Handbook for close to 15 years. She was also the Secretary of the Appeals Committee since 2000, and Editor of the Appeals Book during this time.

She served as Chairman of the Race Administration Committee, and as a member of both the US Sailing Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She was one of the first women to hold many of these positions; such as the Principal Race Officer for the Southern Ocean Racing Conference and many other championships hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Fla.); International Race Officer for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF); Principal Race Officer at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; and Commodore of St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

In 2012, Pat was the recipient of the Harman Hawkins Trophy. The Harman Hawkins Trophy is awarded yearly to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the field of Race Administration.

In 2008, Pat received the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award from BoatUS and the National Women’s Sailing Association. In presenting the award, BoatUS Assistant Vice President Susan Shingledecker said, “Pat Seidenspinner has such an impressive list of ‘firsts’ in her sailing resume. She has given an extraordinary amount of her time and expertise to grow the sport and inspire more women and girls to get involved in racing. Beyond the local level, she’s also volunteered for national leadership positions to improve race management across the board.”