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IN MEMORIAM: Whiting ("Whitey") R. Willauer

posted Jul 18, 2012, 6:34 AM by Danielle Lawson   [ updated Jul 19, 2012, 3:07 PM ]

Tribute by World Class President, Bob Duffy, followed by tribute by Ian McNeice, Nantucket Fleet Captian

With a heavy heart I report that Whitey Willauer has moved on to a new sailing arena.

Whitey was a driving force in the development of the Nantucket IOD Fleet.  He was instrumental in finding interested parties, developing syndicates and generally providing the energy, enthusiasm and guidance that has brought that fleet to the pinnacle of our Class in terms of ‘one-design development.  Whitey committed himself to building interest, enthusiasm and ownership in the Nantucket Fleet.  During his tenure as Fleet Captain he orchestrated training clinics, the Nantucket Pro-Am and other events that are now regular features of the IOD and Nantucket sailing calendars.

In addition to being among the great leaders in our class, he was also a great character.  Although I had only a glimpse into his colorful past, I was fortunate to hear him recount some amazing stories and anecdotes.  Whitey was a regular visitor in Bermuda for IOD regattas where he joined his stalwart pal, Harry Madeira on the repair boat and there was no shortage of amusement in the audience of Whitey and Henry's exchanges.  He was sharp and witty; a gracious host and a guest who was always welcome.

Our thoughts, condolences and heartfelt best wishes go out to Leslie, his family and friends, and the members of the Nantucket IOD Fleet.

We will miss the wonderful stories Whitey had to tell.  We will miss him.

Bob Duffy, IOD WCA President

Here is the announcement of his death from the Nantucket Newspaper, the Inquirer and Mirror:


With the passing of Whitey, the Nantucket IOD Fleet lost a founding member and long-time standard bearer of the fleet who sailed actively up to the time of his death.  The fleet was founded in 1998 and in 2002 Whitey Willauer ably took over from Peter McCausland as our Fleet Captain and guided us through our first major WCA event, the 2003 North American Invitational. Luckily, we had hosted a number of Nantucket Invitational regattas so the organization of the North Americans didn’t prove too difficult. Everything went off without a hitch and participants agreed the sailing in Nantucket’s IODs was special. Fleet Captain Willauer also pushed the growth of our fleet to ten boats and was instrumental in developing syndicates for numbers eleven through thirteen and in instituting the Wednesday afternoon development clinics.

In 2009, he was presented with the Dick Sykes Memorial Award in recognition of his longtime service to the Nantucket Fleet and in particular his work in guiding the developmental clinics that have been responsible for creating several of our now regular sailing members.

The last big regatta Whitey competed in was the 2011 North American Championship. 

This past Sunday, Nantucket IOD racing started with a touching tribute to Whitey, also a past commodore of Nantucket Yacht Club. The fleet honored Whitey by forming a single file procession in the anchorage area, led by fleet captain Ian McNeice. At Brant Point Lighthouse, where many of Whitey’s friends and family observed from the beach, one by one each boat sailed head to wind, crews tipping their hats and finally bearing off as each boat tossed daisies and hydrangeas off its windward stern. The final tribute was paid by Whitey’s own boat, Whiskey, helmed by his son Skip. Whitey will be remembered and missed by many, not least Nantucket’s IOD fleet.

Ian McNeice

Nantucket Fleet Captain