Jan 14, 2013 10:25PM
● By Anonymous
Winning the America’s Cup alongside Ted Turner in 1977 is not Gary Jobson’s most proud moment in a sailing career that spans four decades. In fact, it barely crosses his mind when asked to recount a single-most shining accomplishment—one on which he’d hang his cap. Instead, Jobson recalls when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2002, the ensuing battle to cure the disease, and his perseverance to one day be able to declare that he’s cancer free…and sail again.
“Using the lessons of sailing to help me battle lymphoma; the things I learned on the race course. When I was in real dire straits—life and death—those lessons really helped me in my time of need. [Beating lymphoma] was my greatest achievement,” says Jobson.
The man who helped put Annapolis on the nautical charts as “America’s Sailing Capital” credits his cancer battle as a learning experience and one which has aided him in giving back to the very community that rallied around him. Today, Jobson, age 62, volunteers his time to a number of charities—most notably as National Chairman of The Leukemia Cup Regatta, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s sailing program—in addition to his many endeavors including serving as president of U.S. Sailing, television commentator for NBC and ESPN, and author. He travels the country and world over, delivering inspirational speeches, lectures, and promoting one of the most important projects for both the city and the sailing community; the United States Sailing Hall of Fame, which is to be built along the docks of downtown Annapolis. “The vision [for the USHOF] started in 1998 when we had the Whitbread Round the World Race here and at a skipper’s meeting I said, ‘We ought to honor everybody in the sport of sailing, not just these skippers today,’ so here we are 15 years later trying to make this a viable operation.”
The 30-plus year resident of Annapolis—married to Janice and father of three grown daughters—has a list of accomplishments and accolades…half of which would be considered more than many earn in a lifetime. However, he considers those who have benefited others as being the most meaningful. “I find it very stimulating to serve on boards that make a difference,” says Jobson, who has also anchored causes ranging from hospice to Olympic training. Local organizations that have Jobson in their ranks include the Anne Arundel Health System, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, U.S. Coast Guard Foundation, Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Annapolis Community Boating Organization, among many others. “Healthcare, the sport of sailing, and preserving legacy are things that are part of my long-term mission,” he says.
“Seize a passion and make the best of it,” offers Jobson, “because that can be quite helpful when you really need something.”