Former executive director of US Sailing John Bledsoe Bonds died June 8 aboard his J/40, Alliance, in Newport R.I. He was 70 years old.
According to an obituary by noted sailing author John Rousmaniere, Bonds was always infatuated with the sea and boating. Born in Arkansas, he attended Rice University in Houston and became an officer in the Navy, retiring with the rank of captain in 1988.
He was also appointed director of U.S. Navy Sailing in 1981 during his service time and was based in Annapolis, Md. He also helped develop the design, construction and rigging of Navy 44 sloops, and was instrumental in opening the Naval Academy's Safety-At-Sea seminars to the sailing public in 1984.
After his retirement, he served as executive director of US Sailing from 1988 to 1994 and increased the organization's membership. He sailed a J-24, a J-35, and finally the J-40, which won the Cygnet Cup, the oldest trophy in American yachting, during a 2009 New York Yacht Club Cruise. He leaves behind his wife Beth, who continues to live in their hometown of Mount Pleasant, S.C.