Holland "Cappy" Capper
Sailor of the Week: May 13-19
Holland “Cappy” Capper will be inducted into the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Hall of Fame at the awards banquet following the ICSA National Championships in Madison, Wisc., May 25 – June 3. Cappy will receive the 2009-2010 ICSA Graham Hall Award for Outstanding Service as a Sailing Professional.
As head coach of the University of Minnesota sailing team, Cappy has been a mentor to college sailors for the past 10 years. He credits college sailing for the inspiration he has for coaching and teaching. “I had been working for yacht clubs coaching junior sailors and high school programs for more than 16 years and was looking for new challenges,” Cappy explained. “I have really enjoyed the college scene and it has also re-energized me to work with the younger kids again.”
Cappy is the executive director of the Wayzata Community Sailing Center (WCSC) in Wayzata, Minn. The WCSC, located on Lake Minnetonka, has an annual enrollment of over 500 youth sailors. College and high school teams train here in the spring and fall, while youth day camps, youth racing programs and adult lessons are offered in the summer. Cappy also trains two local high school sailing teams. He founded and served as president of the Midwest High School Sailing Association and vice president of the Interscholastic Sailing Association of North America.
US SAILING has presented Cappy with a number of distinguished awards through the years for his contributions in sailing instruction and program management. He received the “Outstanding Seasonal Program Director” in 1995. A year later he received the “Captain Joe Prosser Trophy” for excellence in sailing instruction, and in 2005 he was named the “Outstanding Director of a New Program.”
Cappy has a number of US SAILING instructor certifications and is a member of several US SAILING committees. He is a US SAILING Small Boat Level 2 Master Coach Trainer. Cappy is a member of US SAILING’s National Faculty, chairman of the National Junior Championships, member of the Youth Championships Committee, member of the Training Committee, and a regional training coordinator.
Cappy started sailing on a Sunfish when he was five years old on Lake Michigan. His entire family sails, including his father Holland, who still races competitively at the age of 78. His sister Lizanne was a very competitive college sailor, while crewing for Ken Read at Boston University, where they won the coed nationals twice. His sister Jean is a cruiser, and like Cappy, a certified instructor. His two sons, Ben (17) and Mike (19), are both active sailors. Cappy met his wife, Martha, 24 years ago at the Mistrial North American Championships.
“One of the things I enjoy most is racing with my dad on his T-Ten with my boys and other family members,” Cappy mentioned. “It’s really cool to sail with three generations on the boat.”
His sailing endeavors took a brief setback last year following a serious skiing accident. Cappy spent nine days in an intensive care unit, and another two weeks in the hospital. Cappy’s injuries included three broken bones in his neck, one in his back, 15 in his right elbow, two in his left arm, lacerations in his kidney, liver and spleen, and bruised bowels and ribs. He was in a halo for three months, a hard collar for one month, and a soft collar for another month.
However, the accident didn't keep Cappy off the water for long. After six months of surgeries, healing and rehab, Cappy returned to sailing with his father, and soon after he sailed alone in his Sunfish. “I have never felt happier than I did after those two times sailing,” Cappy added. “I look forward to sailing with my family, the opportunity to race again in the Chicago-to-Mackinac Race, and continue coaching at a high level.”