Home | Go Sailing! | Get On Our List! | Support Us

Walker, Stuart "Stu", M.D. - 2013 Hall of Fame PDF Print

next


Stuart Hodge "Stu" Walker, M.D.

Stuart Walker  

April 19, 1923
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

 

“There are many who, in sailing, are reminded of symbolic conflicts with `father,’ or `brother’ and who, in an impasse between stimulated desire to defeat him and a guilty concern that they might, alternate between pressing on to victory and deliberate self-destruction.”  From Winning: The Psychology of Competition

The Professor

Stu Walker-nshof2013inducteeWriting in Sports Illustrated in 1970, Hugh Whall called Stuart Walker “the dilly-down-daffiest small-boat skipper in the world.” This was after watching Walker sailing a Soling for fun off Annapolis, Maryland, in February in a brisk, 40-degree nor’wester. As a sailor, Walker has described himself as Charlie Brown pitching a baseball game in the rain after all but Lucy has gone home. His crews see him as a more stringent taskmaster. During the last race of an International 14 series in Annapolis, he had already won on points, Walker set the spinnaker in 30 knots and sailed halfway to Baltimore before finding a lull in which it was possible to douse the sail without dire consequences. The man simply loves to race.

A pediatrician, Walker gave up private practice in Annapolis to have more time for sailing. He was Chief of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, and began teaching at University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1961. Three years later, he became the first American to win Britain’s Prince of Wales Trophy, the America’s Cup of dinghy racing. It was held in International 14s, Walker’s true love. He tanked in preliminary races. He won after spending several days thoroughly researching the venue from a high hill overlooking the race course, acquiring local knowledge from watermen, and charting the results. He was on every American team for international matches between 1961 and 1971. His other love is the Soling, in which he won eight national championships in six different countries. He was president of the Soling class from 1991-1994.

Walker has written ten books and hundreds of articles on racing, all of which have a strong, technical bent. A piece on calm conditions he wrote for Sailing World in 1996 begins, “Calm is rarely the absence of wind; it is usually the consequence of the displacement of an existing wind from the water’s surface to a level above an inversion or into a vertical trajectory.” Walker knows of what he writes. One sailor recalls an International 14 race in very light air in which Walker rounded the jibe mark and sailed 100 degrees off course. While the other skippers were scratching their heads, Walker got into the breeze he had diagnosed, and won by a mile.

Walker’s late wife, Frances, was his first crew. She was fired (“too incisive”). He says after a race she’d ask if he won, or if it was a learning experience. “If I said it was a learning experience, she’d say, `You’d think that by the age of 87 you’d have learned it all.’”

Stuart Walker turned 90 in 2013.

- Roger Vaughan


 


Links of Interest:

"When The Wind Comes Up, The Doctor Is Absent", Article in Sports Illustrated, March 30, 1970

From the Archives: Calm Conditions - 1995 Article in SAILING WORLD

"Stuart Walker and Sinjin; Together Again," Earwigoagain

Walker celebrates 90th birthday, National Sailing Hall of Fame selection, Annapolis Capital

Stuart H. Walker wikipedia page

 

Back to the 2013 Hall of Famers

 

 
Home
About Us
Hall of Fame
STEM Education
Collections/Libraries
On-Site Programs
Sailors & Stories
Info/Contact/News
Contributors
Search
Mid-Year Update
Classic Regatta

The Class of 2014


facebook-btn twitter-btn Instagram- @sailinghall US SAILING LOGO
donate_now
sunsail-discount


© 2014 National Sailing Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

facebook-btn            twitter-btn             Instagram-sailinghall            US SAILING LOGO