Eight Bells: Hank Easom

Hank Easom

Notable yachtsman Harry (Hank) Easom passed away at the age of 88, succumbing to inoperable cancer on February 14, 2023 at home with his family in Tiburon, CA.

A life-long resident of the Tiburon Peninsula, Hank began sailing a Moon boat with his older brother, Bruce, at age eight, but didn’t win his first race against the adults until age 11. At age 13 he landed a job working at Clipper boatyard in Sausalito on condition that he buy a kit and build a 20’ Clipper dinghy.

After buying and building the boat, Hank daily sailed his Clipper from Tiburon to work at the boatyard in Sausalito. As 15-year-old crew, Hank and his skipper won the 1950 Mercury National Championships out of Sausalito Yacht Club.

Hank mustered out of the Coast Guard on March 11, 1955, and the next day March 12, established Easom Boatworks on the historic Marinship waterfront in Sausalito. While continuing to race at every opportunity, often recruiting his workers as crew, he quickly built a reputation for quality.

Hank sailed his classic 8-meter yacht, Yucca from 1964 until 2017. Built in 1937 and raced competitively under his ownership for 53 years, this beautiful wooden sailboat still graces San Francisco Bay. Not surprisingly, Hank’s current racing boat – the 36’ Sabre Spirit Serenade – frequently finds its way to the podium, as well.

Crewing for Hank is a rewarding experience, given the on-board camaraderie and opportunity to hone skills in sail trim and tactics – navigating the nuances of the Bay’s tricky wind and currents. Many of Hank’s crew have gone on to success racing their own boats.

Selected as Yachtsman of the Year by the St. Francis Yacht Club in 1971 and The San Francisco Yacht Club in 1990 and 2014, Hank Easom is the embodiment of gracious Corinthian spirit – which shapes and guides our lives on and off the water.

To recognize this humble hero, the Hank Easom Buoy was installed and dedicated February 9 on San Francisco Bay, creating an enduring remembrance of an exemplary person and sailor on his favorite playground.

Though he was too ill to accompany the voyage, Hank sent Serenade to be first to round San Francisco Bay’s newest weather mark – and christen it with a bottle of champagne. Hank delighted in seeing his buoy from the Sausalito shoreline on two special occasions during the last days of his life, putting a final, big and well-deserved smile on this hero’s face.

In the perfect close to a legendary career, on February 4, 2023, ten days before his passing, in Hank’s final race – the Golden Gate Yacht Club Midwinters – he was first to finish, first in division and first overall. In a competition usually decided by seconds, the next boat finished 30 minutes behind Hank Easom.

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