JOSEPH R. DUPLIN
When Joseph R. Duplin returned to Winthrop from Chicago after winning the International Star Class sailing championships in 1963, he brought home a trophy so large that the Associated Press shot a photo of his 11-month-old daughter Carolyn sitting inside it. During the competition, Joe had passed six boats on the last windward leg in the fifth and final race en route to earning enough points to win the title. That victory came on the heels of a first-place finish at the North American championships, prompting a Globe headline: “Same Old Duplin: Always Winning.” He celebrated at a gathering right here at the Cottage Park Yacht Club, where he kept his boat, Star of the Sea. Joe, was named the US Sailing Yachtsman of the Year in 1963 and as a successful college coach is a member of the Inter-collegiate Sailing Association Hall of Fame at the US Naval Academy as well as being enshrined in the National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Md..
From 1967-1980, he coached 10 All-American sailors at Tufts University while producing seven national championship teams. His sailors won a combined 17 All-America awards. “When we worked out in the gym he’d be right there with us,” said Peter Commette, one of Tufts’ greatest skippers and a 1976 US Olympian. “And no question, because Joe had taken himself to the highest of levels of sailing competition, we knew that he knew how to get us there as well.” Peter said his mentor was well-known for “Duplinisms” — blunt one liners that got to the heart of the task at hand. They included phrases such as “come on, babe, I want to see blood in the bilges” and “it’s not rocket science, babe, keep pointing the boat at the mark.” Joe would say “When they do a good job I tell them so. But to me a good job is perfection,” Joe was also on the coaching staff of the 1972 and 1984 US Olympic sailing teams, and formerly coached at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts Boston, what is now Salem State University, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Joe’s accomplishments include the New England Star Class and European Star Class championships, and winning the Etchells 22 North American competition.
It was his mother who bought him a Star Class boat and at age 16, he won his first Star Class race against more experienced skippers. His son Joe Jr. tells us “The story is that my grandmother told my father, ‘I didn’t get you that boat to finish second’ ”.
Joe’s boat preparation was legendary. Steve Winkler, who worked with Joe, remembers “We’d take a keel off a boat and then move it an eighth of an inch because it wasn’t centered. Another time, he had me go up into the bow of a Star boat to remove every third screw from each joint to keep the weight off the ends of the boat. He went to extremes to make such minute changes, and that psyched Joe up because he felt he prepared his boat better than anyone else.”
Peter Costa Joe’s former sailing partner said “When I moved to Winthrop as a youngster, Joe helped me build my new sailboat, and he had more stamina than anyone I ever sailed with or against,”. “When he left the dock no one was more prepared.” That drive and competitive urge rubbed off on current MIT sailing master Fran Charles, whom Mr. Duplin coached at Tufts and said “I never lost that passion for sailing instilled in me by Joe. He was my inspiration,”.
Andrew Menkart, a former North American Star champion who attended Tufts says “Joe made a difference in my life, he believed in you, and so you believed in yourself.”
Here tonight is his wife Betsy, his sons Joseph Jr., Timothy and Matthew as well as his three daughters, Carolyn, Angela and Maureen. Mr. Duplin “was most happy when he was in the presence of the ones he loved,” Joe Jr. said in his eulogy. “He embraced life and lived it to its fullest,” adding that Joe was indeed “the Star of the Sea.”
It is with great honor and pleasure that Mass Bay Sailing presents the Distinguished Service to Sailing award posthumously to Joe Duplin.