Crieghton Award



The Robert K and Ruth Creighton Cup is awarded annually by the Junior Sailing Committee of the Carolina Yacht Club to the most outstanding junior sailor of the season.  It can only be awarded to an individual once.  The charter of the Creighton Cup reads:


The Dr. and Mrs. Robert K. Creighton Junior Trophy is for the junior sailboat racer who displays outstanding commitment to the sailing program and exemplifies ideals promoted by the Creighton’s.


  1. The recipient will be a Junior Sailor as defined by US Sailing for the purposes of eligibility requirements to compete in the US Sailing Youth Championship.  This means that he or she shall not reach their 20th birthday by December 31st of an award year.


  1. The recipient may only be awarded the trophy once.


  1. The recipient must compete outside the club, representing the Carolina Yacht Club at events such as the US Sailing Youth Championship and other regional and National regattas.


  1. The sailing instructors, program director, and Junior Sailing Committee members may select several candidates and the final award decision will be a vote by full members on the Junior Sailing Committee after reviewing the slate of candidates.


  1. The trophy need not be awarded every year.


Ruth and Bob Creighton have devoted a large portion of their lives to promoting and refining Junior sailing at the local, regional, and national levels. Because of this, the sailing instructors and program director established the Creighton Trophy on September 23, 1989 to honor and thank the Creighton’s and to encourage commitment and excellence in young sailors. The trophy was purchased from revenue obtained from recycled aluminum cans. The club will engrave the perpetual trophy for display in the trophy case. It will also present the winner with a suitably engraved keeper trophy. The following people were instrumental in establishing the trophy:


Program Director:  Jodie Smith


Instructors: Kim Morris, co-head instructor


Bob and Ruth Creighton were instrumental in advancing the junior sailing program at the Carolina Yacht Club by organizing a junior point race series and encouraging travel to regional and national regattas to face competition and learn from the area’s top junior sailors.  The award was conceived by the Junior Sailing Director, Jodie Smith, and the four CYC sailing instructors at the time, Pierce “Scott” Barden, Kim Morris, Bill Smith and Brad Southerland.  These four sailor/instructors had been coached by the Creighton’s son, “RK” and had travelled throughout SAYRA and the southeast representing CYC in regional regattas and USYRU (now US Sailing) events, with the Creighton’s encouragement and support.  The junior sailors collected aluminum cans and transported bag after bag to the recycling center on a sailboat trailer to earn money for the award.  The Trophy was dedicated at the Annual Sailing Awards Banquet, with lots of tears from both Creighton’s, as well as those in attendance.


Neither Ruth or Bob Creighton grew up sailing.  When they moved to Wilmington for Dr. Creighton’s OB/Gyn practice, they were determined to learn the sport.  They both took lessons from Earl Roberson.  They competed with other local sailors in the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Racing Association (WBORA) keelboat series.  They bought a Sunfish, and became active dinghy sailors, as well.  Both of their son’s, RK and Michael, would distinguish themselves as the top CYC junior sailor on a Sunfish.  Bob Creighton eventually joined the US Coast Guard Power Squadron and obtained his pilot’s license.  He told friends that the Medical Board exam was easier than the Pilot’s exam!


Bob developed multiple sclerosis, which forced him to stop practicing medicine in 1979.  He did not let the disease slow him down, however, and many sailors will recall his power chair and adapted van which was frequently parked in his reserved space in the CYC parking lot.  He continued to serve on Race Committee, and could almost always be found in the tower on Junior Point Series Saturdays, and of course enjoyed a hot dog off the grill afterwards!  He earned his master’s degree in public health and joined the NHRMC Medical staff as the system’s first physician liaison in 1985.  He held this position and served as a medical expert in malpractice cases in his later career.  He (and Ruth) were owners and developers in the Shinn Point Community on the Intracoastal Waterway.  They bought a piece of property in 1979 and completed their home in 1985. 


Ruth developed her interest in junior sailing while watching her two sons sail their Sunfish in CYC races.  She served on Race Committee starting in 1974, encouraged by Carter Mebane.  She went to USYRU race management training seminars and became the first Senior Race Officer in the southeastern US.  She and Bob felt that a Junior Racing program was important for the club, and devoted many hours to making the Junior Point Series a reality.  She attended the National Junior Sailing Symposium in 1988, and created a Junior Sailing Director position at CYC.  She served as the club’s first director, then appointed Jodie Smith when she became the SAYRA Regional Training Coordinator in 1989.   Bob Creighton was Commodore of CYC at the same time!


More recently, Ruth Creighton served on the Board of Directors of the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association (SAYRA) from 1995-2002, where she was influential in promoting training for sailing instructors and race managers, as well as growth of the Helen Hanley Fund, which promotes and funds travel by junior sailors in the southeast region.  She also served on the Board of Directors of US Sailing from 2002-2006.   In 2008, she was awarded US Sailing’s Timothea Larr Trophy.  This award is to recognize a person whose vision and guidance have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of sailor education in the United States.  From 2002-2006, she said that she “did something for US Sailing almost every day”.


At an interview in 2016, Ruth Creighton stated that she was most proud of the legacy of their influence on CYC sailors traveling to other venues.  They made 2-3 trips to Charleston every year with their sons, and they both felt that “You don’t get better unless you go elsewhere”.  Dr Robert K and Ruth Creighton were certainly a strong influence on the CYC Junior Sailing program, and perhaps one of the largest reasons that our Race Team is a powerhouse at regional regattas, frequently bringing home trophies in classes we are represented in. 


Past Recipients:

1989 Charles Smith
1990 John Efird
1992 Jack Sawyer
1993 Dana Beery
1994 Oliver Carter
1995 George Miars
1996 Benton Whitesides
1997 Paul Whitesides
2001 Will Beam
2009 Ward McLean
2010 Parks Blair
2012 Daniel Birmingham
2013 Eliza Schuett
2014 Chase Carraway
2015 Thomas Smith
2016 Scott Harris
2017 Henry Omirly
2019 Arabella Dixon


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