Sailing Hall of Fame? Right Here in River City? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sailing Hall of Fame? Right Here in River City?

For those of you that don't know, there is a move afoot to build a National Sailing Hall of Fame (HOF) at our beloved City Dock. The Capital editorializes in favor of this today, suggesting that if we don't do it, another city shall do it.
(Since when did such arguments ever make sense? What if it were the bubble-gum blowing hall of fame? Would we say if we did not do it, Akron or Peoria might take it away from us?)

Even though I am a professional yacht captain and sailing/seamanship coach, I am not convinced that such a thing is so important or so necessary for Annapolis. I'm not opposing it, but I just have a lot of questions. I am thinking of a whole bunch of old-moneyed, blond-haired, blue-blooded guys in blue blazers and loafers (without socks of course) named Chauncey and Cornelius toasting each other with Dom Perignon and Mount Gay and tonics after cutting the ribbon, if the place ever opens. As Biff and Muffy and Blake and Buffy join them, along with their irish setters and golden retrievers, Chaunce and Corney will say a few words about how much the City owes them for allowing them to grace our public space with their ode to themselves. They will speak of how grandfather Pierce defended this cup or that trophy back in 26' and how Uncle Slate managed to make it back to shore in front of a squall with a broken fingernail no less and hold on to the title of The Great Huffenpuffer Regatta of 48' despite a rousing from the good old fellows from the New York Yacht Club.

Okay, so it's more nightmare than a vision, but you get the point.

So here are a few of my questions: We have a maritime museum in Eastport and a National Collegiate Sailing Hall of Fame at the Naval Academy-how will this be different? How much is the City expected to give or give up now and forever more to make this happen? Will local folks and the local community be involved? Will this mainly be about yaaccchhting or will it be about the more general aspects of sailing other than the kind reserved for the rich and famous? Will there just be exhibits--or will there be events and programs of relevance to a wide range of Annapolitans? Will residents get free membership and admission?

And finally there is the issue of a century-old vernacular structure that will either have to be renovated or moved (to Back Creek Nature Park?) at great expense or may even be razed. Historic preservationists are concerned, but as far as I know, they have not paid much attention to this building until this HOF was proposed.

We need to learn a lot more before we as residents can take a reasoned stand on this proposal as we also consider an Arts District, a Comprehensive Plan, a 300th anniversary, an amendment to alter our form of government, a new anti-crime initiative, etc., etc......


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