Dads: where it all begins
We interrupt the shot-of-the-month review to brag on my Dad!
Just recently it was announced that my father, Don Green, 85, of Hamilton, Ontario, will be inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame later this summer. It’s an honor that has been awarded to only three other people in the last two decades, and very well-deserved recognition of his long-time contributions to the sport of sailing.
My father is best known as winner of the 1978 Canada’s Cup in his custom C&C Evergreen; later skippering Evergreen safely and successfully during the devastating 1979 Fastnet Race. A challenger for the America’s Cup; frequently campaigning in the SORC and other major yachting events, he continues to be an active member of Royal Hamilton Yacht Club (RHYC), where he’s a Staff Commodore; and has served as Honorary Chair of the Mobility Cup regatta for sailors with disabilities.
While everyone else knows him as this all-around great sailor and benefactor; I know him as the guy who first inspired my love and appreciation of sailing. As a kid, my Dad would regale us with stories of the year and a half he spent circumnavigating the globe on the brigantine Yankee with Irving and Exy Johnson. He had been just a young man then, and we imagined ourselves in his place, as he shared these exciting stories, film and pictures of exotic faraway places.
I was sold! By the time I was seven I was driving our 21-foot Bluenose sloop Yellowbird on family trips, spending my summers at sailing camp, and doing Junior sailing at RHYC. When my Dad got another boat, the C&C 35 Motivation, my brother, me and our friends coaxed him to let us crew for him in the races.
Although my dad was always an adventurer, the racing bug bit him hard! We started doing weeknight beercans in Motivation and distance races and overnighters on the weekends. So much of my passion, knowledge and experience stems from those blissful days of sailing with my family.
And then came the Canada’s Cup. When Dad built and campaigned Evergreen in 1978, I found myself surrounded by the greatest sailors of the time. They were all inspiring, but it was Lowell North, Olympic gold medalist and founder of North Sails, who helped me launch my career. In those days, sail designers would use photos to study wind flow, optimal shape and design. His suggestion, that I take photos for them to study, is where I got my start; ultimately generating my first photo placement in The Toronto Star! And then, again following in my Dad’s footsteps, I became an entrepreneur, launching the Ultimate Sailing Calendar in 1983.
Over the years my Dad has continued to volunteer with RHYC and to sail: doing some cruising in the Caribbean, racing with my brother, Stephen, and around the lake with my godfather, Uncle Bo (John Bobyk). And he continues to inspire me.
They say, ‘any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad’ and that is so true. Congrats to my Dad, Don Green, on this richly-deserved recognition, and Happy Father’s Day!
*Don Green, Member of the Order of Canada, will join 2005 Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame recipient Paul Henderson; and George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby, inducted in 2014; along with 2018 honorees Derek Hatfield, Dave Howard, and Olympic Medalists Ernest Cribb, Peter Gordon, George Gyles, Harold Jones, Ronald Maitland, Hubert Wallace, Gardner Boultbee, Kenneth Glass, Philip Rogers and Gerald Wilson, at a ceremony August 19, at the Kingston (Ontario) Yacht Club.
Check out www.ultimatesailing.com for gift ideas for the Ultimate Dad.