John B. “Jim” Kilroy


From humble beginnings in Alaska, Kilroy and his siblings were raised by their courageous and loving mother in Southern California during the Great Depression. As a contributor to the household income a young Jim Kilroy quickly learned the value of hard work and resourcefulness. His self determination and insatiable curiosity proved to be the keystones to his future success.

He learned to fly in the US Army Air Corps Reserve in 1945 and this led to long standing friendships with key players within the aviation industry. His engineering background and innovative eye led him into construction, including design of high tech facilities for the aerospace industry.

His highly successful business interests and a growing family did not prevent him from taking on civic leadership roles. He was a political insider for the Republican party and witnessed first hand the political careers of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He was also the Chairman of the committee in the Los Angeles bid for the Olympic Games.

Kilroy had extraordinary success in campaigning a series of five yachts, all named Kialoa, in ocean races around the world, beginning in 1956 with Kialoa I and followed by the launching of the 73ft Kialoa II in 1963. Before the completion of Kialoa III in 1974, Kilroy and his highly skilled, fiercely loyal crews had circled the globe on Kialoa II, winning races and breaking records in many of the blue water classic events.

The performance of Kilroy and his crews on Kialoa III from 1975 – 1977 was unrivalled and their list of victories culminated in winning the World Ocean Racing Championship. During this period they set new standards of excellence in maxi yacht racing with their winning ways.”

Sail World


2014 Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award

“The National Sailing Hall of Fame Board of Directors has instituted a Lifetime Achievement Award category to be awarded annually to someone who, over their lifetime, has made a contribution to and/or has had success in sailing, while also achieving notable accomplishments and stature in a non-sailing career.”

NS Hall of Fame


Kialoa US-1: Dare to Win

“The chapters of this book will present the outstanding sailboat racing records of the five KIALOAs against the world’s most competitive yachts and crews. These results were the foundation for the award of sail number US-1 by US Sailing, the nation’s sailboat racing authority, to the KIALOAs and their owner-racing skipper.

The first three KIALOAs were also great cruising yachts, visiting the oceans of the world. KIALOA IV and KIALOA V were not required to have cruising capabilities. KIALOA II and KIALOA III were also fairly close in their high percentage of victories; however, KIALOA III sailed in more international competitions and could be more closely analyzed for racing results.

KIALOA III is recognized throughout the world for winning many major races and is said by international sailors to be the winningest yacht in yachting history. As you read this book, consider the challenges and the results: The first to finish victories, the record setting victories, and the handicap corrected time victories against smaller and larger yachts.

We who raced KIALOA III— our all-amateur crew, and me, their captain and primary helmsman—were thrilled with her results and recognized throughout the world.”

Preface by Jim Kilroy – Kialoa US-1 Dare to Win


Youth Sailing Advocate Jim Kilroy Passes Away at 94

“Legendary racer and sailing advocate, John B. “Jim” Kilroy (May 1, 1922 – September 29, 2016), passed away Thursday night at the age of 94.

Mr. Kilroy had an impeccable life in sailing and in business. US Sailing had the opportunity to work closely with Mr. Kilroy over the past several years in developing the Reach Initiative, a STEM education program designed to engage youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through sailing. He always believed that sailing is a positive activity for everyone.

“Mr. Kilroy’s vision and support of the Reach Initiative created a pathway to sailing for thousands of youth around the country,” said Jack Gierhart, Executive Director of US Sailing. “He was a true mentor and visionary and will be greatly missed.”

US Sailing