Buddy Friedrichs – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Tulane/Southern Yacht Club/1968 Olympics
G. Shelby “Buddy” Friedrichs went from being a 10-year old sailing prodigy to earning an Olympic Gold Medal to becoming known as one of the Gulf Coast’s greatest sailors, all while maintaining his home port of New Orleans for his entire life.
After his father started him in sailing on Lake Ponchartrain in 1950, Friedrichs continued to excel. At the age of 16, he crewed for his father in the Luders 16 Class International Championship and he would skipper crews to championships in 1960 and 1961.
He would attend Tulane University and become a star on the intercollegiate circuit. In 1964, he won the Mallory Cup, known as the North American Men’s Sailing Championship, with his crew; Tommy Dreyfus and Roy Troendle, Jr. After winning the 1964 Star North Americans (Luder 16s), he would turn his focus to the Olympic Dragon Class with the goal of winning an Olympic Gold Medal for the United States.
In a period when the Dragon was a very hotly contested class in sailing, he skippered boats to an impressive string of victories including three straight North American Championships (1965, 1966, 1967), the 1965 Canadian Championship, the 1966 European Championship and the 1967 World Championship.
In 1968, Friedrichs and his crew of Gerald “Click” Schreck and Barton Jahncke won the American Selection Trials (the Olympic Trials) to set them up to compete in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico (Acapulco for the sailing events). The format in 1968 called for a seven-race series. Friedrichs and crew, aboard their wooden Dragon Williwaw (US 231) finished 2-6-1-1-2-1-1to capture the Gold Medal.
A member of New Orleans Southern Yacht Club, Friedrichs served on the Executive Committee of the North American Yacht Racing Union and was active on a variety of committees in his home region. He is an inductee of the Tulane Athletic Hall of Fame (1985), the Intercollegiate Sailing Hall of Fame (1991), and the National Sailing Hall of Fame (2019). Tragically, he died of a heart attack in 1991 at the age of 51.
SOURCE: National Sailing Hall of Fame