Bill and Julie Dunbar
Hobie Sailors of the Month - September, 2012
For the past 30 years, Bill and Julie Dunbar of Old Lyme, Conn. have provided direction and leadership in the historic Blue Jay class. As they prepare for retirement, the Dunbars are eager to turn the reigns over to enthusiastic and energized individuals who will take the Blue Jay class to the next level.
This sloop-rigged sailboat was designed as a “Baby Lightning” and it became an all-around junior training boat for many. The International Blue Jay Class Association was formed in 1954 by Allegra Knapp Mertz. President for 35 years, she built the class with active board members. In 1984, at American Yacht Club’s Blue Jay Nationals, Leggie turned the gavel over to Bill who had been an active board member for 10 years. Soon after, Bill’s wife Julie took over as Class Secretary.
“There is a lot of tradition in this class and that’s really important to Bill and I,” said Julie. “We need someone to come in and focus on promoting the Blue Jay.”
Bill and Julie also discussed the evolution of the boat and how to promote the Blue Jay to all types of sailors.
“The Blue Jay is beautifully designed,” said Bill. “It’s good for children because it’s easy to handle and not too complicated. Kids feel comfortable sailing the Blue Jay. We also want this boat to be an option for adults, as we’d like to see parents crewing for their children at events.”
They became interested in the Blue Jay when their two daughters started sailing the boat as youngsters. Both daughters went on to sail competitively at the U.S. Naval Academy.
If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities in sailing the Blue Jay, visit the class website at http://sailbluejay.org.