Richard McCurdy, 78, Grew Up on Contentment Island, Founded Company That Made Computer-Based Marine Instruments

Download PDF

Richard McCurdy, formerly of Darien, passed away peacefully on July 5 at the age of 78.

Richard McCurdy Ockam Instruments

Photo from Ockam Instruments website

Richard McCurdy, 78, passed away on July 5.

Rich was the son of Richard C. and Harriet S. McCurdy who lived on Contentment Island for over 40 years. Rich graduated from the University of Connecticut after four years of service in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician.

After earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rich went to work for Kenyon Marine designing electronic instruments for sail boats.

When his father became involved in the 1970 America’s Cup, Rich decided to develop a computer-based instrumentation system for one of the boats competing to defend the Cup.

Rich recognized that integration of variables like wind speed, wind direction, boat speed, angle of heel, and course over ground could provide real-time performance measures for comparison with design-predicted speed curves.

This obituary previously was published by Darien Times. 

This work led to Rich founding his own company, Ockam Marine Instruments. Ockam became Rich’s life’s work. Through Ockam’s products, boat owners had the tools to maximize velocity in various conditions across the racecourse. Rich was one of a few with the foresight to be on the leading edge of computer-assisted sailing.

Rich is predeceased by his parents, Richard and Harriet McCurdy; and his brothers, Greg and Robert McCurdy. He is survived by his sister, Carolyn McCurdy Wilson; nieces: Alison McCurdy, Lauren Monin and Andrea McCoy; as well as loving extended family members and friends.

Contributions of remembrance in his name may be made to US Sailing in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

—See also: Eight Bells: Richard S. McCurdy (Scuttlebutt Sailing News, July 8)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *