Eight Bells for Jim Kilroy

Eight Bells for Jim Kilroy

January 06, 2017


We were saddened to hear that Jim Kilroy, owner of the racing sailboats, Kialoa, has passed away. Dave saw Kialoa 2, in the Ala Wai Harbor, as a young child. Growing up, he thought, "If I own a business, I'll name it Kialoa." The photo is from Dave's office wall. A gift from the Kilroys. Aloha to you Jim. 

by Latitude / Andy on latitude38.com

September 30, 2016 – Southern California


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Wearing a classic red team-Kialoa shirt, Gentleman Jim stands at the wheel of Kialoa V, near the end of his active racing career.

© 2016 Phil Uhl / www.philuhl.com

One of the true titans of competitive sailing passed over the bar yesterday: 'Gentleman Jim' Kilroy was 94. 

Having campaigned a succession of five splendid racing yachts — all named Kialoa — and garnered frequent victories, Kilroy was a dominant influence within the international sailing community for decades. In fact, he is regarded as a pied piper of sorts, having inspired many other yacht owners to follow his lead in competing at prestigious regattas around the world. The sport of sailing would not have been the same in recent decades, without his tireless enthusiasm and thirst for innovation. 

Born in Alaska in 1922, Kilroy's childhood memories included his mother transporting him, his brother and sister in a dogsled. The family moved to Southern California in 1927 (Jim was five). There his father left, leaving Jim's mom to raise the family alone. When Jim was old enough he helped out by mowing lawns, delivering papers and working in a bike shop. He graduated high school a year ahead of the norm.

In 1940, Kilroy dropped out of UC Santa Barbara's engineering program to work at Douglas Aircraft, which then built Navy dive bombers. In 1944, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he studied all facets of aerodynamics and airplane construction — and learned to fly.

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