C. Stanley Ogilvy

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Charles Stanley Ogilvy (1913–2000) was an American mathematician, sailor, and author. He was a professor of mathematics at Hamilton College (New York), and a frequent competitor at the Star World Championships. His many books include works on both mathematics and sailing.[1][2][3][4]


Ogilvy grew up sailing near New Rochelle, New York, on the mainland side of the Long Island Sound.[1][2] Beginning in 1931 he crewed for Howard McMichael on the two-man Star class Grey Fox, and in 1934 he bought the boat and renamed it the Jay.[1][3] He won over 47 regattas, and was a frequent competitor in the Star World Championships;[3] his best finishes were second in 1947 (crewing for Hilary Smart) and third in 1949 and 1951 (both with his own boat, Flame).[5] Later, he also sailed Etchells.[1][2]

Ogilvy belonged to the Larchmont Yacht Club for 62 years, and served as its historian.[1] He was the first vice president of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association, edited its publications for many years, and also served as historian for the class.[3]

In 1990, Ogilvy was the second recipient of the Harry Nye Memorial Trophy of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association, in recognition of his contributions to Star class sailing.[6] The C. Stanley Ogilvy Masters Trophy, an antique sextant awarded to a sailor over the age of 50, was named in his honor and has been presented annually by the Etchells World Championships since 1999.[7]

Education and career[edit]

Ogilvy went to the Berkshire School, then did his undergraduate studies at Williams College.[1][2] During World War II, his bad eyesight preventing him from serving in the Navy; instead he became the commander of a rescue boat on the Pacific Front for the U.S. Army.[8] After earning an M.A. from Cambridge University and an M.S. at Columbia University, and doing additional studies at Princeton University, Ogilvy finished his graduate studies with a Ph.D. in mathematics from Syracuse University in 1954.[1][2][3][9] His thesis, supervised by Walter R. Baum, was entitled An Investigation of Some Properties of Asymptotic Lines on Surfaces of Negative Gaussian Curvature.[9]

Ogilvy began his teaching career at Trinity College (Connecticut), and joined the faculty of Hamilton College (New York) in 1953.[1][3] He chaired the mathematics department beginning in 1969, and was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He remained at Hamilton until 1974, when he retired so that he could spend more of his time sailing.[2]

Ogilvy died on June 21, 2000, in Mamaroneck, New York.[1][2][3][4]


Ogilvy wrote many books on both mathematics and sailing,[2] which were translated into several other languages.[1] They include:

  • Successful Yacht Racing (Norton, 1951)[1][10]
  • Through the Mathescope (Oxford Univ. Press, 1956).[1][11] Later republished as Excursions in Mathematics.[12]
  • Tomorrow's Math: Unsolved Problems for the Amateur (Oxford Univ. Press, 1962)[1][13]
  • Thoughts on Small Boat Racing (Van Nostrand, 1966)[1][14]
  • Excursions in Number Theory (with John T. Anderson, Oxford Univ. Press, 1966)[12][15]
  • Excursions in Geometry (Oxford Univ. Press, 1969)[1][12][16][17]
  • Win More Sailboat Races (Norton, 1976)[1]
  • A History of the Star Class: The First Eighty Years (International Star Class Yacht Racing Association, 1991)[3]
  • The Larchmont Yacht Club: A History, 1880–1990 (Larchmont Yacht Club, 1993)[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Martin, Douglas (July 4, 2000), "Stanley Ogilvy, 87, Sailor and Writer, Dies", The New York Times 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Ring, James (October 10, 2000), Stanley Ogilvy: Professor of Mathematics (1953–1974), Faculty Memorial Tributes, Hamilton College (New York) .
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Munson, Richard L. (2007), "C. Stanley Ogilvy 1913–2000", in Sprague, E. J., Jr., The San Diego Bay Star Fleet: 1925 to the Present Day – A Seventy-Five Year History, San Diego Bay Star Fleet, pp. 794–795, ISBN 9781427608017 .
  4. ^ a b Master of Sailing, Geometry Dies, Associated Press, July 4, 2000 .
  5. ^ World's Championship Results 1945–1957, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association, retrieved 2014-06-15.
  6. ^ 2005 Harry Nye Trophy Presented to John F. Koopman, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association, retrieved 2014-06-15.
  7. ^ C. Stanley Ogilvy Masters Trophy, Etchells World Championships, retrieved 2014-06-15.
  8. ^ Munson (2007). The New York Times and Associated Press obituaries agree with the particulars of his service but instead state that it was for the Navy.
  9. ^ a b Charles Stanley Ogilvy at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  10. ^ "What's New", MotorBoating Magazine: 92, November 1951 .
  11. ^ Hamilton, H. J. (1956), "Recent Publications: Through the Mathescope", American Mathematical Monthly, 63 (8): 592–593, MR 1529429, doi:10.2307/2310223 .
  12. ^ a b c Liu, Andy (February 1998), "Book Reviews: Mini-Reviews Update" (PDF), Crux Mathematicorum, 24 (1): 12–17 .
  13. ^ Hostinsky, L. Aileen (1964), "Recent Publications and Presentations: Tomorrow's Math", American Mathematical Monthly, 71 (7): 812, MR 1532867, doi:10.2307/2310936 .
  14. ^ Kean, Larry (January 1968), "Review of Thoughts on Small Boat Racing", Boating: 38 .
  15. ^ Bicknell, Marjorie R. (1967), "Book Review: Excursions in Number Theory by C. Stanley Ogilvy; John T. Anderson", Mathematics Magazine, 40 (5): 275–276, JSTOR 2688291, MR 1571724 .
  16. ^ Monk, D. (1971), "Book Reviews: Ogilvy, C. Stanley, Excursions in Geometry", Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2), 17 (4): 372, doi:10.1017/S0013091500009706 .
  17. ^ "Excursions in Geometry by C. Stanley Ogilvy", Kirkus Reviews, October 1969 .