Bugle Call: The Death of a Canadian and International Sailing Legend

On March 14, 2014, Hans Fogh died from Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease. Hans was a sailing legend in Canada, one of a select few from his generation, winning numerous Worlds, European, North American and National titles in a number of different classes including the Soling, Finn, Flying Dutchman, Star and Etchell.

Born in Copenhagen, Hans came to Canada from Denmark with the encouragement and support of long-time friend, Paul Henderson, who managed to lever Hans’ former career as a gardener to become a sail maker. Hans went on to build one of the most successful sail lofts in the world under the Elvstrom, Fogh and North banners. His involvement in the development of the original Laser sail and the subsequent Laser Radial sail are only the beginning of his many well-known accomplishments in sail making.

Hans’ competitive sailing career spanned seven decades from his first races in the late fifties to his last race earlier this year with his bronze medal crew John Kerr and his godson Johnnie Kerr. Hans was able to coach his sons as they entered the sport, then shared the 1984 Olympics with his oldest son Morten and was able to compete in 2 Olympic trials with his youngest son Thomas. A six-time Olympian, he won his first Olympic Silver Medal with Ole Erik Gunnar Peterson in Rome in 1960 for his native Denmark. In 1984, 24 years later, he won a Bronze Medal in Los Angeles, representing Canada with crew John Kerr and Steve Calder. Hans was extremely proud that he won a medal for his home and adopted countries. Hans also won a Pan Am Games Silver medal in 1987.

We at Sturgeon knew Hans as the founder of Fogh Marine, the supplier of most of the boats in our fleet. Morten Fogh, Fogh Marine’s now president, has sailed in Masters races on Sturgeon Lake and is a friend of our regattas. Thomas Fogh coached the provincial sailing team this last summer when they spent a week training at Sturgeon with our race team. Our condolences go out to Morten and to Thomas and the very large Fogh clan.

Leave a Comment