Netscape co-founder gives $300,000 to marine charities

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Yachtsman James "Jim" Clark, Internet pioneer and co-founder of Netscape Communications, donated $150,000 apiece to two charitable organizations in Newport, R.I.: Sail Newport and Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.

The donations stem from Clark's public promise to make contributions to marine charities if he were ever to hire professional sailors to race in pursuit of a trophy.

Clark, who competes in regattas with his 137-foot J-Class yacht Hanuman, hopes to have other J-Class owners follow his lead.

"I have made it quite public that if I spend money on professionals to try and win a sailing competition, I will donate a comparable amount to a marine- or sailing-based charity," Clark said in a statement. "Some of us are fortunate to own J-Class yachts and, if we all give back in the spirit of friendship, dedication to the sport of sailing and devotion to the oceans that we use, perhaps we can have an impact."

Clark recently announced plans to integrate the Newport-based Puma Ocean Racing Team and helmsman Ken Read into Clark's amateur team aboard Hanuman in a series of upcoming Caribbean regattas.

Clark's donation will benefit Sail Newport's public access sailing center and sailing programs for all ages, according to executive director Brad Read.

Bart Dunbar, chairman of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, said the funding comes at an ideal time in the building of Rhode Island's "Education at Sea" tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and the development of its educational programs.

The steel hull of the tall ship is dry-docked and undergoing work at Promet Marine Services in Providence, R.I. After the deck, masts, rigging, sails and electronics have been added and its at-sea education programs for secondary schools and colleges have been established, the ship will sail as a 230-foot (sparred length), three-masted square rigger.

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