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SEA Currents: News


November 21, 2016

Ocean education pioneers Exy and Irving Johnson inducted in National Sailing Hall of Fame

SEA Semester

Exy and Irving Johnson

The late Electa “Exy” and Irving Johnson, former SEA trustees and pioneers in experiential ocean-based education, were inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Irving and Exy were married in 1932 after meeting on a transatlantic sailboat passage. As husband and wife, they continued an amazing journey, sailing around the world seven times (!) while teaching crews of young people.

They wrote books and articles and made films about their voyages - Irving’s 1929 adventure as a mate aboard the Peking is captured in a well-known film, “Around Cape Horn”- and inspired generations of ocean explorers. The design of SEA’s first vessel, Westward, was inspired by the Johnsons’ brigantine, Yankee.

Irving served as a founding SEA trustee until his death in 1991,whereupon Exy took his place until her death in 2004. Since 1999, the endowed Exy Johnson Scholarship has supported SEA Semester students from all walks of life. One of Exy and Irving’s sons, Robert, has followed in their wake and served as an SEA Overseer since 2005. For more about this remarkable couple, we refer you to this 2015 article in SEA HISTORY.

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