Olin Stephens turned 100 years old in April of this year. He touched so many lives during his lifetime; mentored many many yacht designers, and brought joy to many many yacht owners. The list of his accomplishments is so very long, as well. He designed 7 America’s Cup defenders, and was involved in several more.
He is pictured with Alan Hanover, the present owner of “Columbia” the 1958 defender. Alan proudly announced in 2000 that he intended to restore “Columbia” to her original shape, adding approximately 4 feet to the stern . Olin responded quietly:”Why would anyone do such a thing?” After the restoration was complete, Olin conceded that the boat really did look better.I sailed with Olin on a number of boats and our lives crossed for other reasons as well as I lofted and built a number of his designs.
A few days ago there was a reunion of sorts. a number of the crew of the “glory days” of Charisma the S&S 56 belonging to Jesse Phillips turned up in Newport. I keep fond memories of our days sailing. It all seemed so easy, we all had confidence in one another . In the photo on the left taken during the Bermuda race, a hurricane crossed the course, we had
70 knots over the deck at one point. It was also the moment I decided that I could make a better safety harness.(it’s me in the photo)
the photo taken from the masthead of Charisma during the trans-atlantic race to Spain. A long slow race.
From there we took off to get to Sardinia in time for the first Mediterranean championships, Bill Ficker came and skippered the boat, we won everything.
the bottom photo is of Peter Van dyke and John Browning sailing throught the straits of Gibraltar