ORACLE TEAM USA tactician John Kostecki and America’s Cup technical director Stan Honey were among the nine inductees to the National Sailing Hall of Fame in a ceremony this past weekend at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans.
At 48, Kostecki is the youngest of the overall 20 inductees. Throughout his decorated career, one that started with a world championship in the Sunfish class at age 18, Kostecki has won the America’s Cup (2010), the Volvo Ocean Race (2001-02), an Olympic silver medal (1988, Soling class), two Rolex Yachtsman of the Year awards (1988, 2002) and 11 world championships in a variety of classes.
“It’s pretty amazing, I’m still blown away with what I’ve achieved in the sport,” said Kostecki, who thanked his parents for being “very instrumental” in launching his sailing career and the many crews he has sailed with. “I’m not out there single-handing, and I’d like to thank all the team members I’ve had along the way who’ve helped me achieve these goals.”
Honey, 57, is a past winner of the Volvo Ocean Race (2005-06), the Jules Verne Trophy (2010), for fastest non-stop circumnavigation, and the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.
Honey’s list of sailing achievements is almost as long as his list of technical innovations. A co-creator of the dashboard GPS for automotive use, Honey led the technical team that created the AC LiveLine graphics package that superimposes graphics on live television pictures, similar to other technology Honey has helped develop for professional sports leagues and automotive racing circuits. He was among the 10 people who won an Emmy award for their work on the graphics, which were cited for extraordinary technical innovation.
Honey’s graphics help a layperson’s understanding of the sport, which he champions as having a unique strength in its diversity, allowing anyone who wants to compete at an international and national level from when they are a kid.
“It’s an incredible strength and a characteristic of our sport that we need to communicate effectively to families and individuals that are choosing a sport. I think the National Sailing Hall of Fame is one of the few awards that really gives our sport the ability to communicate the diversity that has so many different facets to the sport but also lets people compete at whatever level they are able to throughout their entire life.”
While the America’s Cup is supporting efforts to introduce youth to the AC through the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, Kostecki is among the new breed of “veteran” Cup sailors, ones who ride in front of the trampoline while the youngsters are in the back at the helm of the sleek wingsail catamarans.
Kostecki and the crew aboard ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL survived a spectacular capsize at the recent America’s Cup World Series San Francisco, one that saw Kostecki fall onto the wing and slide into the water in a harrowing moment.
“In this day and age, that’s the way racing is. We’ve got to take the punches as well as the glory, at times,” Kostecki said in an interview with the Associated Press