Fran Charles joined the Institute in 1992 as a varsity sailing coach and assistant to former sailing master, Hatch Brown. Now, as the fourth Sailing Master since 1935, Charles is responsible for the entire recreational sailing program with over 2,000 members annually developing sailing skills and using the fleet of over 100 boats.
In 2007, Charles was inducted into the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Hall of Fame and received the Graham Hall Award for Distinguished Service to College Sailing by a Professional. He is a certified umpire for team racing and is often volunteering to officiate at US National and World Championships. Charles's race management skills are sought for junior, national and world level events year in and year out.
Before joining MIT, Charles served as co-director of the Courageous Sailing Center in Boston, which teaches sailing to city children. In 1996 and 1997, he managed the sailing competition for the Massachusetts Special Olympics as well as sponsored multiple clinics, seminars, and competitions for local junior sailors. In 1999, Charles was honored by Mass Bay Sailing with its "Distinguished Service to Yachting" Award.
Charles and his wife, Sue, continue to race competitively together on the winter "frostbite circuits" in New England. Occasionally he competes in the Olympic Star Class and IOD Fleets in Marblehead and Northeast Harbor.