Allen E. Puckett, who made his career in aerodynamic engineering, but was a passionate sailor, and George Baskette, a founding father of the kite community, died recently.
Puckett died March 31 at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 94.
He was an avid yacht racer and cruising sailor and a highly sought-after master navigator in the days when a sextant, compass, wristwatch and paper charts were the primary and sometimes only equipment used.
When the first portable personal computers became available, Puckett was one of the first to develop software to assist in navigation and sailing performance analysis.
In 1992, he was a member of the design team in Bill Koch’s successful defense of the America’s Cup with America3.
The kite community is mourning the loss of Baskette, who died of a heart attack on April 6 while ice sailing on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire.
Baskette began flying kites at an early age. He was an early promoter and performer of fancy indoor kite demonstrations and trick flying. He was one of a handful of pioneers who started kite skiing and traction kiting in the United States.
“He flew kites with buggies and skis at a time when many of today’s kite sailors were still in diapers,” said a remembrance by Sailing Scuttlebutt. “He flew often and hard. He was an inspiration to many, always willing to give advice and to help introduce others to the sport. His enthusiasm, patience and delight were infectious.”