Industry mourns advocate for sailors with disabilities

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Longtime sailor Hugh Elliot, who helped to establish the U.S. Disabled Sailing Program after a serious car accident in the 1990s, died Feb. 2 in Tampa, Fla., after serving as a judge at a regatta at Davis Island Yacht Club.

In the mid-1980s, Elliot was a top-notch Laser sailor, according to Scuttlebutt.

From 1982-88, he qualified for the gold fleet at least once each year at the U.S., Canadian or North American Championships. He enjoyed crewing, most often as tactician or spinnaker trimmer, on boats that included Flying Dutchmen, J/24s, Lightnings and J/30s.

After a car accident in 1993 led to the loss of his left leg (above the knee) and later his right leg (below the knee), Elliot helped establish the disabled sailing program. From 1997 to 2000 he campaigned as crew on a Sonar; his team finished second at the U.S. trials for the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. He continued to campaign in Sonars as a skipper until 2005.

In 2008, US Sailing presented Elliot with the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for his outstanding contribution to sailors with disabilities and disabled sailing over a sustained period of time.

Scuttlebutt said that in recent years Elliot made innumerable and immeasurable contributions to sailing through his work in race management, expertise on the Racing Rules of Sailing and efforts as a US Sailing senior judge and ISAF international judge.

Elliot had been a member of the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, Md., since 1985.

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