Mystic Seaport Honors Author, Yachtsman Rousmaniere

(left to right): Samuel W. Croll III, John Rousmaniere, Steve White, Barclay Collins, Sheila McCurdy. Photo by Dennis Murphy/Mystic Seaport
(left to right): Samuel W. Croll III, John Rousmaniere, Steve White, Barclay Collins, Sheila McCurdy. Photo by Dennis Murphy/Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport has presented its 2014 William P. Stephens Award to distinguished yachtsman and author John Rousmaniere.

Established in 1988, and named after William P. Stephens, long known as the “Dean of American Yachtsmen”, 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 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 the Olin Stephens 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.

Rousmaniere has served on the Yachting Committee at Mystic Seaport, and he is chiefly responsible for the Museum’s acquisition of the life’s work of famed photographer Carleton Mitchell. He also has served on 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.