captain john bonds usn ret, phd
If you ever thought you were more passionate about sailing than anyone else, you hadn’t met John Bonds, who sadly passed away today in Newport, RI.
He defended the United States of America as a Captain of Navy ships. He was the head of Navy Sailing out of the Crown Center in Annapolis. He taught at the Naval Warfare college. At the U.S. Naval Academy he organized 600 Midshipmen to “voluntarily” jump overboard from the Navy’s sailboats in an attempt to figure out the shortest time method of recovering someone who fell overboard. This led to the Quick-Stop method of recovery that has saved countless sailors lives worldwide. He is past Chairman of the United States Sailing Association ‘Safety at Sea Committee’ and continued his service until now. He was a founder of the Safety at Sea Seminars and a co-founder of the US SAILING Hanson Rescue Medal program. He is a past Executive Director of the United States Yacht Racing Union (now US SAILING). After his retirement as a professional from USYRU, he maintained his presence by joining many of the committees of USYRU and then as US SAILING as a volunteer. He sat on the board of Boat U.S.
Many of you have listened to him speak at the Safety at Sea Seminars, have talked to him and had your questions answered by him.
He also went back to college to get his Doctorate in History. He has been writing a book on the development of Charleston Harbor which started out as a swampy marsh when the settlers arrived and has gone through a huge man-made transformation into the major port it is today, but he found that little had been written about this development and sought to bring it together.
He is a sailor’s sailor. With his lifetime of training, he had some great lines, such as – “You gits what you inspects, not what you expects.” He’s sailed the Bermuda race a number of times. I believe he has done at least one transatlantic (on a sailing vessel, not counting the Naval vessels he commanded).
He and his wife Beth have traveled the East Coast in their J/40 Alliance, for the past number of summers and was at the beginning of their summer tour. John passed in his sleep overnight last night while tied alongside Ron and Kathy Trossbach’s boat (another Safety at Sea guru). Having been a sailor, he had not toured the United States and had plans this fall to get in a car to see the National Parks and sites of America, after having fought for this country to have this privilege, and he always saw all opportunities as a privilege, he took nothing for granted.
Maybe you know his son John Bonds, Jr. past Executive Director of the J/24 Class Association. And then John and Beth’s other child is Margaret.
While John saw everything as a privilege, it was of great immense privilege to have spent time with John who knew right from wrong, whose presence in a room was daunting, commanding, but not in a forceful way, but in a very, very self-assured way. Every sailor has been touched by his stewardship on earth whether they know it or not. I will miss John and know many sailors out there who will bow their heads along with me today. My respects to Beth, Margaret and John, Jr. Add your remembrances.
– Glenn T. McCarthy