Comedian Stephen Colbert named to sailing advisory board

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The National Sailing Hall of Fame announced that Stephen Colbert joined its honorary advisory board.

The political satirist, writer, comedian, actor and host of the television show “The Colbert Report” joins the board’s other members, including its chairman, actor and sailor Morgan Freeman, who filled the post left vacant when Walter Cronkite died in 2009.

“I’m honored to be named to the Honorary Advisory Board,” Colbert said in a statement. “I will do my best to not capsize the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Hard Alee!”

Colbert grew up on Charleston Harbor, right across from the Carolina Yacht Club, a Hall of Fame Founding Member Club. According to a 2011 article in Sailing World, Colbert recalled that “the regattas were right outside my window. I wasn’t allowed to go sailing because I don’t have an eardrum in one ear and I couldn’t get water in my ear. It just drove me crazy. My mom felt so badly for me that when I was 20, my doctor said, it’s healed enough — the thing that was wrong was still wrong, but it was better — he said, “You can go out there now.” My mom said, “OK, I’ll get you sailing lessons.” I said, “I don’t really want to now.” Which, of course, really upset her because, to her, I was still a little boy.”

He did a little sailing on and off until 2005, when a friend invited him to crew in the Charleston to Bermuda race onboard a 45-foot cat ketch. “I just loved it,” he said.

In October, Colbert hosted World Cup USA Team Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill on his show. Spithill explained the hydrofoil technology that makes the most recently raced AC72s go so fast, calling it “NASCAR on water.” Colbert likened the catamaran to “a spaceship with a 130-foot sail and two cruise missiles on it.”

“For the first time, non-sailors are watching sailing on TV,” Spithill told Colbert, offering an invitation to join the team on the boat to a pleased-looking Colbert. Something to watch for next spring?

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