MYSTIC – Mystic Seaport is pleased to announce the William P. Stephens Award has been presented to the distinguished yachtsman and author, John Rousmaniere. Established in 1988, and named after William P. Stephens, long known as the “Dean of American Yachtsmen” and “The Grand Old Man of American Yachting,” the award is given in recognition of a significant and enduring contribution to the history, preservation, progress, understanding, or appreciation of American yachting and boating.
Rousmaniere is an authority on maritime history, especially the history of yachting, and has written 15 books on this subject. His books include The Golden Pastime: A New History of Yachting; histories of the Bermuda Race, the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club, and other yacht clubs; biographies of the yacht America and the classic yawl Bolero; and two studies of marine photography focusing on the Rosenfeld Collection. He has written two books about storms, After the Storm and Fastnet, Force 10, the latter about the deadly 1979 race off England in which he sailed. Rousmaniere has also served as yachting editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History.
He edited a book on yacht design titled Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts and Olin Stephens’s autobiography, All This and Sailing, Too, published by Mystic Seaport. Rousmaniere’s books on sailing safety and seamanship include The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, which just went into its fourth edition. He also contributes articles to Sea History, WoodenBoat, and other magazines.
“We are deeply honored to present this award to John Rousmaniere to recognize his life’s work. There are very few people with even a passing interest in boating or yachting who have not picked up a book written by John,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White. “His intuitive sense and passion for the subject matter makes sailing come alive on the page because he has lived that life.”
Rousmaniere has served on the Yachting Committee at Mystic Seaport and the Selection Committees of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame and the National Sailing Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Cruising Club of America and the New York Yacht Club, where he chairs the Library Committee.
The award was presented in a ceremony at the New York Yacht Club in New York on Wednesday, January 29.
Previous recipients include: Betsy and B. Hunt Lawrence, 2013; George Moffett, 2011; Henry H. Anderson, Jr., 2009; Joseph Gribbins, 2001; Maynard Bray, 1999; Carleton Mitchell, 1997; Jon Wilson, 1996; Dick and Colleen Wagner, 1995; Waldo Howland, 1994; David “Bud” McIntosh, 1993; John Gardner, 1992; Briggs Cunningham, 1991; Elizabeth Meyer, 1990; William Garden, 1989; and Olin Stephens, 1988.