Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

George Fisher '53: Sailing's Gentleman Champion

George Fisher is a partner and founder of Fisher & Skrobot. At 78, he routinely puts in a full week and sometimes more. With that dedication to his practice, it's a wonder he finds the time to continually hone his other passion -- sailing. Wonders never cease.

In 1945, while on a break from Navy training, George had his first sailing experience. Two years later, he bought his first Lightning class boat. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Few weekends have passed since then with George not on the water.

George (center) flanked by fellow sailors
George (center) flanked by fellow sailors

Sailing, like law, has rules. In his 50-plus years of sailing and practicing law, George has mastered the rules of both. He credits his knowledge of the rules as a key to his successes on the water, saying, "If you know and sail by the rules, the rest takes care of itself."

George's knowledge is widely respected in sailing circles. In 2002, he was given one of the sport's highest honors, U.S. Sailing's W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy for Sportsmanship. It is one of many honors. In 2000, he was named a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Interlake Sailing Class Association, becoming only the fourth sailor to be so honored.

As a long-time member of both the Hoover Yacht Club and Buckeye Lake Yacht Club, George has prevailed on club racecourses and consistently championed the sport he loves. He has worked to help raise the profile of his clubs and promote the sport in Central Ohio.
In his dual role of both father and teacher, he taught his sons Matt and Greg the sport.

Together, they have 27 national titles and a gold in the Pan American Games between them. Wife Marty and daughter Gayle have also sailed with George, along with his daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Add to this a lengthy list of students mentored by him in classes or seminars over the years.

Others, like Chuck Kaps, so value his opinions they seek his insights before or after racing. Kaps, a lawyer and former Hoover commodore has known George and raced against him for almost 15 years. "George is a great guy and a great competitor," Chuck says. "He's a true gentleman who defines the concept of a sportsman. He's in his 70s and he still wins major races. For all his knowledge, he's always been polite and humble. He carries the same qualities professionally."

Jeffrey Clark '81, current Hoover commodore, says George's commitment to giving back has garnered him friends all over the country and the world. "(George) is so well respected," he says. "There is something called a 'sea lawyer' in racing, where a person exploits rules and technicalities to their advantage. George is the antithesis of that. He does it all so well." Jeffrey says that through George's work with the Hoover Sailing Foundation, he has done much to promote youth sailing programs and that he has always shares his legal expertise when working on or leading the various sailing organizations he has been involved with.

As his colleagues say, though, George remains humble. "I've received so much from the sport of sailing that I just want to give back," George says. Classmates and friends wishing to contact George can reach him at gfisher@fisherskrobot.com.