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Hans Fogh – A remarkable sailor

by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe on 17 Mar 2014
Hans Fogh Ian McAllister
Hans Fogh, born in 1938, passed away on 15 March 2014, aged 76 years, was one of the world 's most successful sailors with a sailing career which really started when he as a 22 -year-old won Olympic silver in 1960 at his first Olympic Games for Denmark in the Flying Dutchman class, together with Ole Gunnar Petersen. and as late as 2006, it was the World Championship gold in the Soling.

Hans Fogh grew up in Copenhagen in a family of gardeners, who expected that he would take over the family business. He started sailing at age 17 in Hellerup Sailing Club and was soon offered a job with his sailing friend Paul Elvstrøm, who also sailed in Hellerup.

From Elvstrøm he learned his skills as a sailmaker and in 1969 he emigrated to Canada and started Elvstrøm Sails Canada. Later he started Fogh Sails, which later became the Norths Sails Canada. In addition, he operated Fogh Marine, which his son Morten took over some years ago.

Hans Fogh also helped to design the first sail for the world's most popular dinghy class - the Bruce Kirby designed Laser - and was the first person to sail the Laser.

Ever since he moved to Canada more than 40 years ago, he has maintained relations with the family in Denmark, his great friend Paul Elvstrøm and Hellerup Sailing Club, which he always visited a few times a year.

Hans Fog participated in six Olympic Games. Four Olympic participations for Denmark, where he won Olympic silver in the Flying Dutchman in Naples in 1960, and two Olympic participations for Canada, where he won Olympic bronze in the Soling in Los Angeles 1984.

There were many highlights of Hans Fogh 's sailing career and it has indeed been a remarkable sailing career in two Olympic classes, namely Flying Dutchman and Soling. He has been part of the world elite in sailing for an impressive 46 years, starting with the Olympic silver in 1960 and winning his last World Championship in Soling in 2006.

This shows partly Hans Fogh’s love for sailing and partly the great sailor and athlete he was. He sailed the Soling until shortly before his death.

Besides two Olympic medals, he won two World Championship gold and two European Championships gold in the Flying Dutchman, and two World Championship gold and three European Championship gold in the Soling. In addition numerous silver and bronze medals at worlds and continental championships, and victories in numerous international races worldwide. Back in North America, he often also sailed Etchells, and his son Thomas also sailed with his father for some years, and was supported in his Olympic ambitions.

His wife Kirsten was the family bastion and focal point throughout the years, and without Kirsten's strength and great support to her husband, it would not have been possible for Hans to achieve the many successes as a top-sailor and in his business career.

Hans Fogh was humanly an extraordinary person who was incredibly rewarding, helpful and highly respected by everyone around him. When getting ashore after the races, you always saw Hans telling even competitors, how they could improve trim and technique.

The Soling class considered Hans Fogh like a father figure in the class, and he was close to the class for many years and sailed actively for over 40 years, up unti he passed away a few days ago. Hans undertook always a role where he wanted teach others about sailing the Soling class. He always motivated all his competitors - and friends - to improve, have fun and promote the Soling class. One of the stories from the class was that Hans at a debriefing after a race, giving good advice to other sailors on boat speed and trim, and then he added: 'You have to go any faster because it's more fun for me when the races are closer'!

I have myself experienced, coming to North America to train and sail for Olympics, Pre-Olympics, Worlds and other races that Hans was always ready to help Danish sailors. I will always think back on Hans as a great sailing friend from Hellerup Sailing Club, on his helpfulness, cheerfulness, positive attitude to life and infectious humor.

In 1985, Hans Fogh was honored in Canada by being entered into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.

Our thoughts are with his wife Kirsten, sons Morten and Thomas and all the family in the coming difficult time.

Glory to Hans Fogh’s memory.


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