Each morning joggers pacing the boardwalk of Mission Bay see him at the San Diego Rowing Club. So do visitors to the Star of India and Maritime Museum. He can even be found amongst the shoppers at downtown’s Horton Plaza. And now legendary San Diegan Joseph Jessop Sr. can be found in Balboa Park amongst the members of the Breitbard Hall of Fame. Joseph Jessop blew the wind into San Diego’s sail, and even though he passed away in 1996 at the age of 97, the old sailor’s spirit remains a gale. Jessop love affair with the sea began at the age of five, when he handcrafted his first “boat” from old crates from his father’s jewelry business. And while that first boat didn’t float all too well, his passion for San Diego aquatics never sank. Jessop’s yachting and aquatic accomplishments span nearly seven decades. Jessop joined the San Diego Yacht Club in 1917 and in 1929, at the age of 31, became the club’s youngest-ever commodore, eventually keeping the fledging club alive during the Depression. His most remarkable contribution as commodore came with the formation of the nation’s first junior sailing program; Fellow Breitbard Hall of Famers Malin Burnham, Dennis Conner, Gerry Driscoll and Lowell North are all alumni of Jessop’s junior program. In 1923, Jessop and friend Ed Peterson combined efforts to build and establish the first San Diegobased Star Class boat. The partnership’s progressive thinking led to the San Diego Yacht Club eventually producing more world champions in the Star Class than any other yacht club in the world. Joe Jessop also won a remarkable five consecutive Pacific Coast Star Class championships, and directed the first America’s Cup effort launched on the West Coast in 1970. Jessop, who rowed for the University of California in 1919, also carried a long-time membership with the San Diego Rowing Club. In 1973, Jessop, Patty Wyatt and Andy Borthwick founded the San Diego Crew Classic. Jessop called the Commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy and secured a commitment for Navy’s crew to come west and compete with the University of Washington, helping launch what has become one of the country’s preERNIE LADD JOE JESSOP 12 The San Diego Hall of Champions / Journal 2005 mier rowing regattas. This April is the 32nd annual Crew Classic. This year’s races will feature over 3,400 rowers from more than 120 clubs and will be watched by over 15,000 spectators. Jessop, who received the San Diego Hall of Champions’ Community Champion award in 1995, worked tirelessly throughout San Diego to promote aquatics. He worked closely with the San Diego Maritime Museum, serving as the President of the Board of Trustees from 1968- 1970. Jessop was instrumental in the acquisition of the 1898 ferryboat Berkeley, which now houses a large portion of the museum. Jessop was a driving force on the 1959 commission that planned and developed Mission Bay into the world’s largest aquatic park. He founded both of the organizations – Central City Association and San Diegans, Inc. – that merged into the Downtown San Diego Partnership and spearheaded key projects for the development of the 1,200 block downtown area. He was also instrumental in getting a branch of the Navy League in San Diego and in bringing the Aerospace Museum and Automotive Museum to Balboa Park. Jessop also helped initiate the expansion of San Diego City College. The 24-foot-tall jeweled clock within the Horton Plaza shopping center is a monument honoring the Jessop legacy. His family’s jewelry business, established in 1891, was San Diego’s first, and afforded Jessop the opportunity to give back to the city. For his contributions to San Diego, Jessop was named Mr. San Diego by the San Diego Rotary Club in 1976. Now Joseph Jessop will posthumously become the 107th member of the Breitbard Hall of Fame – yet another star on the sail for the patriarch of San Diego sailing. 2005 HALL OF FAME 2005 BREITBARD HALL OF FAME The San Diego Hall of Champions / Journal 2005.