2018-05-23

Derek Hatfield to be inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Derek Hatfield became the 126th person to complete an around-the-world sailing race on his own in 2003, and was the first Canadian to do so twice.</p>

Local sailing legend, the late Derek Hatfield, is to be inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame.

In an announcement on May 4, the Hall of Fame and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes of Kingston recognized Hatfield as "renowned single-handed Round The World Racer winning first class in the 2001/02 Around Alone."

It was noted that Hatfield, who had lived in Mahone Bay, raced the Vendee Globe in 2008, took the podium in the VELUX 5 Oceans single-handed Round the World Race and was a recipient of the Rolex Sailor of the Year in 2010, as well as won Sail Canada's and Ontario Sailing's Sailor of the Year Awards in 2003.

Patienne Verburgh, Hatfield's partner for life, told LighthouseNOW Hatfield "definitely would have been proud" of his induction into the Hall of Fame.

"He was always proud to represent Canada," she said.

"There's no greater feeling than have those around you, your comrades if you will, your peers to celebrate your success."

However, she added that Hatfield would not have considered his world racing accomplishments as his alone.

"He would probably say that it was the success of all the people involved, all the people that put their name on the hulls to support him," said Verburgh.

She explained that as part of their funding campaign called Around Together, supporters would donate $50 each.

In turn, Verburgh would print out the donor's name with a vinyl cutter and stick the names on the boat.

"So they went around the world with him," said Verburgh

Hatfield died unexpectedly at the age of 63 after a brief illness in July, 2016, sending waves of sadness through Mahone Bay and the sailing community.

In its Facebook tribute to Hatfield, posted on July 30, Sail Nova Scotia described him as "a true champion of offshore sailing at all levels and a tremendous ambassador for the sport."

Hatfield had left behind Verburgh and their two young children, Sarah and Ben.

Piloting the Spirit of Canada, a 12-metre sailboat he built with friends and family, Hatfield became the 126th person to complete an around-the-world sailing race on his own in 2003. He was the first Canadian to do so twice - circumnavigating the globe again in 2010-2011 in an Open 60 racing sailboat.

The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame is a collaboration between The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston and Sail Canada.

Inductees to the Hall of Fame must be Canadian citizens and are inducted in any of the three categories of Sailor, Technical or Contributor.

The inductions ceremony will take place at the Kingston Yacht Club August 19.

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