Museum Exhibits

Current Exhibitions

Icon: waves

Wind & Water

These elemental forces, embodying nature in its purest state, have served as a wellspring of inspiration for innovation throughout history. Humans have harnessed the power of wind and water to explore, trade, engage in recreation and compete. Purpose-driven design emerges as a result. Teamwork, commitment and dedication form a union of mental and physical skills, involving navigation, strategic decision-making, agility, speed and strength.


Sailing brings together individuals with diverse skills, collaborating toward a shared objective. Whether engaged in cruising or racing, teamwork is indispensable for propelling a boat swiftly through the water. Discover the stories of collegiate sailors leaving their mark, and join forces with friends to race towards the finish line.

Icon: people as a team
Icon: brain gears

The Making of a Sailor: Mental

Delve into the psychological aspects of sailing, encompassing navigation, tactics, leadership, and decision-making. Explore the tales of legendary dynamic duos and step into the role of a tactician yourself.

The Making of a Sailor: Physical

Sailors of all skill levels exhibit physical prowess, showcasing speed, agility, strength and endurance. Witness professionals soar above water, and take on the grinding challenge.

Icon: person sailing
Icon: Competition


Witness the pinnacle of the sport where sailors demonstrate their skills at the highest level. Explore iconic sailing events, delve into the history of the America’s Cup, and find resources to embark on your own sailing journey.

Schoonmaker Hall

Dedicated September 21, 2023

Schoonmaker Hall

Ding Schoonmaker was a Star World Champion who used his racing experience to guide generations of younger sailors to pursue their dreams. He served on the Executive Committee of the International Sailing Federation for 16 years. Ding provided leadership and embraced innovation during an era of advancing technology. His legacy is an inspiring story. I’m grateful for his wise guidance over many years.

~ Gary Jobson

James “Ding” Martinus Schoonmaker

July 9, 1933 – January 19, 2021

In a ceremony held on September 21, 2023, The Sailing Museum dedicated its main exhibit hall in the memory of sailing legend James “Ding” Schoonmaker for his dedication of service to the sport of sailing along with his outstanding performance on the water.

Fellow Hall of Fame Inductees Paul Cayard and Agustin “Augie” Diaz, alongside Bacardi representative Alex Argamasilla celebrated Schoonmaker with remarks at the dedication. An exhibition exploring the life and legacy of Schoonmaker was unveiled featuring items from his sailing career. Memorabilia includes the Bacardi Cup Trophy, (which Schoonmaker has won more than any other sailor), the outstanding service award medal from World Sailing, and a burgee and cards celebrating his whimsical Royal Dingo Yacht Club.

Ding Schoonmaker’s sailing journey began at the age of eleven in 1944 when he participated in his first race off Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  He became deeply passionate about sailing and dedicated himself to the sport.  In 1946, Schoonmaker was a crew for Olympian Jack Price in the Star Class.  The experience inspired him to reach for lofty goals. Schoonmaker achieved remarkable success winning World, North American, South American, Western Hemisphere, and European Championships in the Star Class. Notably, in 1975, President Gerald Ford recognized Ding Schoonmaker during the Star World Championship in Chicago. Ford humorously praised Schoonmaker’s “very talented and capable crew – Jerry Ford.”  Everyone got a good laugh and Ding, and his crew (the sailor Jerry Ford) must have been inspired because they went on to win the International Star Class World Championship that week. 

At the age of 19 he placed second in the USA Olympic trials in the Star Class. He was named the team’s alternate for the Games in Helsinki in 1952.  He earned that honor again in 1964 for the Games in Tokyo.  

Ding served the sport with distinction for many years.  He worked hard to improve the sport of sailing.  He served on the board on the Board of the US Yacht Racing Union (now US Sailing) and was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the International Yacht Racing Union (now World Sailing) and served a total of 14 years (1986-1994 and 1998-2004).  In 1987, he played a leading role in establishing the US Sailing Center in Miami. This center serves as a hub for training, coaching, and fostering young talent in sailing. It provides access to sailing programs, educational resources, and competitive opportunities for youth sailors.

Schoonmaker recognized the importance of nurturing young sailors globally by creating the World Youth Sailing Trust – which aims to support aspiring sailors in emerging countries by providing equipment, training, and mentorship. Through the Trust, Ding helped create pathways for young sailors to pursue their passion and compete at international levels.  In 1990, Ding Schoonmaker co-founded the US Sailing Foundation to enhance youth sailing opportunities via youth development programs, safety education and accessibility to sailing for underserved communities. Ding Schoonmaker’s dedication, talent, and generosity continue to inspire young sailors worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the sport he loved.