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8 Bells... Harry Robert Sindle

Laura Jeffers | Published on 5/1/2020

Harry Robert Sindle passed as dawn broke on Wilson Creek off the Ware River, in Gloucester, VA, April 24, 2020. It was the day before his 67th wedding anniversary to his wife Janet. He was surrounded by his family in his last 12 hours and passed with his wife and daughter by his side. He was 90 years old.


Born Oct 14, 1929 in Little Falls, NJ to Harold Lyman Sindle and Ruth Post Sindle, he began to sail at the age of 10, learning alongside his dad on the Jersey Shore. In the 1950's and 60's he was a nationally known sailor, winning major titles in the Lightning, Thistle, Comet, Flying Dutchman, and others. In the Flying Dutchman class he was the United States gold-medal winner in the Pan American Games (1959) and was on the 1960 US Olympic Sailing Team in Rome.


In 1963, wanting to move his growing family to a country setting, he left a small sailboat manufacturing company he co-owned (Siddons and Sindle) in Tom's River, NJ to come to Gloucester, VA to work as a sales rep for local sailing legend and designer of the Mobjack, Roger Moorman. The family originally lived on Ware Point, in Gloucester. The company moved to the old skating rink on Rt 17 in White Marsh, was purchased by Browning Arms, and named Newport Boats. He was made manager of that company and for a while helped manage both the Gloucester and California plants. Throughout the ups and downs and company name changes in the sailing business, he continued to design and manufacture small sailboats, culminating with managing Gloucester Yachts in a plant he built in Ware Neck, (Gloucester) until it was sold in 1986. Some of the designs he is known for are the Newport models named Holiday, Blue Crab, Flipper, Skipjack, Kite, N17, and Surprise. He also designed the Lockley/Newport (later named Gloucester) 19, 20, 23, 27. Other boats that he produced included the fiberglass version of the Hampton One Design, Albacore, Lightning, and the Chrysler (later named Gloucester), Buccaneer and Mutineer. He was Virginia's first Laser sailboat dealer.


Harry is an Alumni of Rutgers University (Mechanical Engineering) and a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He served in the US Army during the Korean War. He was one of the founding members of the Ware River Yacht Club and served a couple of terms as Commodore. For many years he was a guest racing expert for Steve Colgate's Offshore sailing schools, in Florida and Puerto Rico. He also worked as a representative of New York Life.


Harry is predeceased by his parents and son Richard. He is survived by his sister Gwen Mirrielees (Tampa, FL), his wife Janet, three children, Brad, Robert (Nancy), Susan, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. For the last 9 years, he was bedridden with Parkinson's. His wishes to remain in their home on Wilson Creek were honored by his family and made possible by his wife as main caregiver. It is impossible to list everyone the family would like to thank, but we feel a special thank you needs to be given to Dr. Peter Zullo, Joan Hooper (deceased), and Cindy Laughinghouse.


A memorial will be held sometime after Covid 19 at the Ware River Yacht Club. Today, surely he is spending "Another Day In Paradise." The family requests that any gifts in memoriam be made to the Gloucester Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 1417, Gloucester, VA 23061or the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, PO Box 385, Gloucester, VA 23061. Services under the direction of Hogg Funeral Home.


Above taken from his obituary:



Bob Astrove, VP of Classic Boats commented “I learned to sail on one of the boats he built. He built hundreds of Lightnings and was an early pioneer of the glass Lightning.” etc...


James Champagne, Mutineer 15 sailor mentioned Harry also played a major role in the Mutineer and Buccaneer communities as well.  “He built both boats at Gloucester Yachts and eventually bought the molds and started building them at his own company Cardinal Yachts. I met him several years ago at the Ware River Yacht Club at a VA Governors Cup Regatta.  He was being honored for his contributions to sailing and he was in declining health then.”

Geoff Beitner, Lightning #8730 Allen
To all: My remembrance of Harry Sindle is very special. Being part of a Lightning family since the 60's, my Dad had frequently referred me to the writings and accomplishments of Harry. Later on, in the early 80's, as I was in management with New York Life in Richmond, VA., I was delighted by a visit to my office by Harry. At first, I knew he looked familiar, but having not met before, we sat and began to review his resume. I then asked him if was THE HARRY SINDLE of the sailing world? he said yes, and I was speechless. As it ends up, he was in the process of selling his business and trying on a new career. It was like Paul Newman showing up at your doorstep, for me anyway. He was one of my heroes and here he was sitting across the desk from me. After what seemed like hours of conversation, I offered him a position and assured him I would mentor him as a financial planner if he would mentor me to improve my racing skills. We both agreed, and from there a 20-year friendship began. We became good friends, and with my weekend home on the water in Norfolk, and Harry just down the road in Gloucester, we spent lots of time together in work, Christmas, his surprise 60th birthday, sailing, etc. etc. He had a beautiful Nassau 45 moored in front of his house which he offered to me for a summer cruises on the Chesapeake with my family. We enjoyed time spent together, along with Janet and his kids. I recall spending hours in his den, wall to wall with trophies and plagues, and stories of his close friends like Allen, Peterson, Goldsmith, Melges, Eichenlab, Lippincott and others. He even told me of a race he was in with other sailing legends, in which he fell out of his boat during the race! Harry was a commodore at Ware, as I was Commodore at Salt Ponds in Hampton, and his guidance helped me dramatically in establishing that club. He was still building Buccaneers on the side until he could sell the business. I felt honored and privileged to have Harry as a friend, colleague, and mentor. When I retired to Florida in 2008 our connection of course had become less frequent, but at least 15-20 years of association, and of course our connection academically as far back as 1963. Strangely, I was thinking of him a few days ago, and then received the notice of his passing. Needless to say, I am distraught and sad, and felt like this note needed to be written. In life we strive to leave behind a legacy that will live on, and Harry Sindle accomplished that with success, respect, friendship, humility, and love for his family and friends. Now my Dad will be able to finally meet Harry, and at 72, I suspect my reunion with both is forthcoming. Who we know and surround ourselves in life are what we become. As for you, Harry, my dear friend, I will never forget you.


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