C. Thomas Clagett, Jr.
Tom Clagett was born in Washington, D.C.
Each summer of his youth he spent time on his cousin’s farm in Maryland where he learned to sail dinghies on the Chesapeake Bay.
He graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis.
Tom served in the US Navy during WW II in the Pacific and returned home to a career with companies in the Energy fields.
He married Nancy Leiter in 1940. Nancy was an extremely accomplished sailor. Arthur Shuman designed and built an 8 meter for her and she campaigned her 8 meter consistently beating well known sailors such as Charles Francis Adams and William T. Aldrich. Tom sailed a great deal with Nancy but would seldom crew for her in a race. “She was too tough” he would later admit. They shared 37 years of marriage, cruising the waters of the East coast from Maine to the Caribbean, on various boats of their own and also with friends. They supported many America’s Cup boats starting in 1964. Tom continued this support until the mid 1990's, even after Nancy died in 1977.
Tom was a member of The New York Yacht Club, The Ida Lewis Yacht Club, The Annapolis Yacht Club, The New Bedford Yacht Club, Sewanhaka Yacht Club and The Royal Malta Yacht Club.
In his youth Tom came down with Meningitis which left him temporarily paralyzed. He was fortunate that the condition was temporary but it left him with a respect for the accomplishments that disabled persons are able to achieve.
To the right pictured is C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. & Nancy Leiter Clagett.
After Nancy died in 1977, Tom donated 6 Lasers and a Trophy in her memory to The Ida Lewis Yacht Club. The Leiter Trophy is now US SAILING’s Jr. Women’s Single Handed Championship. Later Tom saw the need for Jr. Women to also have a double-handed king championship and through US SAILING he initiated The Ida Lewis Trophy which is now US SAILING’s Jr. Women’s Double-Handed Championship. These two very successful US SAILING models have helped to elevate the skill level of Junior Women racers.
Tom’s friends in the sailing community knew him also by the names of Senator Claghorn and Bubba. He was a man who had strong convictions and lived by his principles. He was strong, tough, fair, driven and dedicated to the values of sportsmanship and Corinthian values. Those close to him and even some not so close, never were left in doubt of where he stood on any given issue that was important to him.
During Tom's life he served on the Boards of many corporate, civic, religious and non-profit organizations including The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD and The Mystic Museum, Mystic Connecticut. He was a member of six America's Cup syndicates from 1974 to 1995. Tom was one of the original members of the America's Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee (Committee responsible for recommending to the museum board of trustees the nominees for selection to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame).
Tom was devoted to sailing , had a love of honest rivalry and was dedicated to quality competition. Tom always reminded everyone that they could achieve anything they wanted if they just put their mind to it and "reach for success." He would be very pleased that the C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta was initiated to assist sailors with disabilities to further their sailing capabilities in hopes of “bringing home the gold.”