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National Sailing Hall of Fame Inducts Robbie Doyle

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The National Sailing Hall of Fame celebrated its ninth class of inductees during ceremonies November 10th at the 126-year-old Seattle Yacht Club’s Mainstation which is on the National Register of Historic Places located on Portage Bay.

The ten inductees, including eight posthumous honorees, bring to 81 the number of enshrined heroes of the sport.

Doyle Sails is honored that among those inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame this past week is our Doyle Sailmakers founder, Robbie Doyle.

Robbie doyle

Spanning a career of more than 45 years, Robbie Doyle's scientific innovations and love of the sport of sailing make Doyle Sails today one of the fastest growing sailmaking companies in the world.

Robbie Doyle has always strived for excellence. As a young, competitive sailor he won the Sears Cup twice and was a member of the 1968 Olympic sailing team. A three-time All-American at Harvard University, Robbie was drawn to a career in medicine but the sailing industry was fortunate that instead he took a job with famed sailmaker Ted Hood in Marblehead. Robbie Doyle joined legendary sailor Ted Turner as the mainsail trimmer aboard the 12 Meter, Courageous winning the America’s Cup with Turner in 1977. In 1982, he founded his own sail loft, Doyle Sailmakers while in his early 30s.

Although "Small Enough to Make a Large Commitment" was the tagline for Doyle Sailmakers at that time, the company has grown from its Massachusetts roots into a global company with 50 lofts worldwide.

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Robbie’s accomplishments as a sailmaker often harken back to his background in physics which he studied at Harvard. Robbie Doyle has always been an innovator and his more recent achievements and innovations in the superyacht industry illustrate that best.

As Robbie says, “many of the sailmaking achievements for which I have been credited such as Maltese Falcon, Mirabella V, and Sailing Yacht A were achieved with the engineering help of my son, Tyler, and his work in computational fluid dynamics. Tyler Doyle’s company is called Doyle CFD.

However, there are many, many key people, including owners and naval architects, who put their faith in me and continue to do so. Back in 1982 Jim Kilroy ordered sails from Doyle before we had finished expanding and fitting out the loft. Shortly thereafter Tom Perkins asked us to build sails for his 147 ft. Andromeda la Dea.

These relationships have led to long term friendships. Over time, as our superyacht industry grew, we have built and provided a sail inventory for some of the largest and most challenging vessels including the Maltese Falcon which led to a call to build sails for the world’s largest sloop at the time, the 247’ Mirabella V with her 300’ mast.

This ultimately led to our building the sails for the next then largest sloop in the world, Perseus^3. At the time P3 sported the world’s largest sail ever built which was her 28,000 sqft. A2. This was soon followed by the current world’s largest sailing vessel, Sailing Yacht A (469’) that has three similar mainsails of about 16,500 sqft.

None of those projects could have been accomplished without an incredible team of engineers and sailmaking talent which continues to this day.”

We here at Doyle Sails remain forever grateful that we are part of this innovative and evolving company, not only at the forefront of sailmaking technology but also that we stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best minds in this industry.

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