Commodore Henry “Harry” H. Anderson, Jr. was presented with the American Sail Training Association’s Special Recognition Award at the Annual Conference this November in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Below is the speech ASTA Board Member Caleb Pifer made as he presented the award to Harry:
This evening, I have the great pleasure of presenting an Award of Special Recognition to one of the world’s greatest sail trainers, yachtsman, and sailors. This particular individual actually received ASTA’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1998. We often joke that after an individual receives a lifetime achievement designation, they tend to take a step back from the organization and relax a little bit. However, the individual that I am speaking about tonight, Commodore Harry Anderson, has done just the opposite. Since being presented with his award ten years ago, he has continued to give his time, energy, ideas, and personal funds to support the world of sail training.
To fully understand Harry, however, one needs to understand a little bit of his background. Harry grew up sailing in Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York. He quickly rose to the top of the local, regional and national sailing circuits. He sailed for his prep school, as well as Yale University. He then went on to become Commodore of the Sewanhaka Yacht Club and, subsequently, Commodore of the prestigious New York Yacht Club. He has been involved with several America’s Cup campaigns for the NYYC and calls some of the countries most accomplished sailors his friends. He has won numerous awards in the racing community, held international governing positions, and has supported college sailing programs for half a century. In addition to yachting, Harry was a founding member of ASTA, and has supported several other sail training and historic ship preservation organizations.
I am not here, however, to regale you with all of Harry’s achievements. We are here to celebrate and honor what he has accomplished just in the last ten years. Aside from the ardent financial support that he has provided to the American Sail Training Association, Harry has done several things behind the scenes that few even know about. For example, several years ago we were trying to decide where to house the ASTA summer interns before the summer race series began. Accommodation in Newport in the summertime is notoriously expensive and far outside of ASTA’s budget. Harry stepped forward and offered his downtown Newport home to all of the interns. He repeated this act of pure kindness over many years, saving the organization thousands of dollars, and quite possibly saving the internship program all together. The interns were often shocked at how they would meet Harry on their first day in Newport. He would present them with a set of house keys, welcome them to his home, and then ask them to “not burn down my house” as he was living the following morning for an entire month at his summer home in Canada! This simple example truly underscores Harry’s incredible, kindness, and generosity.
As ASTA’s youngest trustee, I only hope that I can accomplish and give even half of what Harry has in his tenure. He is my mentor, and the person to whom I look for wise advice. If you haven’t ever spoken one-on-one with Harry, please introduce yourself to him this evening. He is one of the most fascinating, thoughtful, and sincere individuals that you will ever meet.
Please join me in honoring one of the worlds greatest sail trainers with this Award of Special Recognition presented to Commodore Harry Anderson.
– Caleb M. Pifer
2008 STI/ASTA Conference
Halifax, Nova Scotia