New York Yacht Club periodically awards its medal to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions and achievements to NYYC and yachting in general. Conner is the 17th person to be awarded this medal. Past honorees include yacht designer Olin Stephens, America’s Cup challenger Baron Marcel Bich and America’s Cup winner and television commentator Gary Jobson.
"It was a huge night for me," said Conner, who was joined in New York by several former crewmates at the medal presentation. "Being awarded the New York Yacht Club Medal is special; it's one of the most coveted honors in yachting. What really meant a lot was being able to share this with so many friends, and the people who made this medal possible. It was an awards dinner that will be long remembered by the sailing legends who attended."
Conner grew up learning to sail on San Diego waters in SDYC’s Junior Program and later joined as a member. After progressing to win several world championships and a bronze medal in the Tempest class at the 1976 Olympics, he found success competing in the most prestigious sailing event in the world: The America’s Cup.
After sailing on Ted Hood’s winning Courageous team in the 1974 America’s Cup, he went on to skipper the winning teams in 1980, 1987 and 1988. Conner did lose the Cup in 1982 to John Bertrand and the infamous and technically advanced Australia II, but began a three-year campaign ending with a triumphant win of the Cup back from Australia and for San Diego Yacht Club. Conner is now known as “Mr. America’s Cup” because of these accomplishments.
Appropriately, these successes catapulted Conner’s respect and recognition in the sailing world. In 1993, Conner was inducted into the inaugural class of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the first group of sailors recruited and inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame.
Most sailors would agree that it’s an honor to be able to sail with Conner, including the current Commodore of New York Yacht Club, Rives Potts. Potts, a former America’s Cup crewmember of Conner, was present at the medal ceremony and took time to speak highly of Conner and his achievements throughout the year.
"Dennis Conner has had more impact on sailing than any sailor in the world over the past four decades,” said Potts. “For those of us fortunate enough to sail with Dennis, we are all better sailors because of our time on board with DC."