Billionaire media mogul Ted Turner is pretty well known around the country for being the founder of CNN, the owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and ex-husband of actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda.
But to the diehard sailors of Annapolis, he will always be remembered for skippering the 12-meter yacht Courageous to victory in the America's Cup races in 1977. It was the last time an amateur gentleman-sailor won the most coveted award in the sport. (According to legend, the colorful Southerner showed up drunk to collect the prize.) Since then, the trophies have gone to professional racers.
At the Annapolis Maritime Heritage Festival, the ancient mariner will ride again, with an old friend and local celebrity -- sailing commentator Gary Jobson -- at his side. Jobson served as tactician aboard the Courageous back in 1977, when he and Turner swept their Australian rivals. On the weekend of May 3, the two will race against another legendary boat, Freedom, which won the America's Cup in 1980.
When Turner called Jobson to personally request his services, his old shipmate jumped at the chance.
"He's a great skipper and a great helmsman," Jobson said. "It was no accident that he was Yachtsman of the Year four times."
Jobson noted that Turner, who has been retired from sailing since 1981, is still a nonresident member of the Annapolis Yacht Club. Jobson prizes the book that he co-wrote with Turner, "The Racing Edge." In it, there is a chapter where the two have a conversation on the reason to race:
"I would just say that we have a need to compete. It's as natural as sleeping or eating," Turner wrote. "We have a need to excel. And sailing is very good at bringing it out."
But if Jobson is worried that his competitive skipper might be rusty after two decades away from the sailing world, he didn't show it.
"He'll be fine," Jobson predicted. "He'll click right back into it."
Two Teachers of the Year
In a ceremony dubbed "The Academy Awards of Anne Arundel County Schools," two teachers were presented this week with the esteemed title of Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year.
And the winners were: Weldon A. Jones from Severna Park Middle School and Gina L. Goncz from St. Martin's Lutheran in Annapolis.
Jones teaches social studies and was recognized for his rapport with students, work with extracurricular clubs and support for colleagues. Gonez, a science teacher, was credited with redesigning a school science program, developing a forensic unit for the middle school and sparking students' interest in science The teachers were selected from a pool of 29 public schools and three private schools. Their awards were announced Tuesday at a dinner reception at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum Heights.