This past weekend was the fortieth reunion of the “Courageous”/ “Independence” crews from 1977. It was genuinely nice to see people with whom I had shared so much. None of us are getting any younger, which puts particular emphasis on this event.
Ted Turner has been so good about re-uniting the teams.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the launching and first successful defense by the 12 meter “Intrepid”. It also marks the second successful defense by the 12 meter “Courageous”. Each boat successfully defended the America’s Cup twice. Only one other boat can lay claim to that fact. That was “Columbia” 1899 & 1901. She is no longer with us.
A reunion of the crews from 1964 and 1974 America’s Cup defenders was a wonderful event filled with tales of the past. All made possible by Jimmy Gubelmann, as I like to call him the glue that binds. I heard stories that I had not heard before and a few I knew.
Mariner, Courageous, Intrepid, Valiant were represented from 1974 and Constellation and American Eagle from 1964.
This may qualify as one of the more foolish things I have done in my life. I have written about having lofted and built “Courageous”. we literally did it all; we built everything.
The boat was well underway; it is the early spring of 1974, We started early in the morning, everything was prepared. We started heating and loading 50,000 pounds of lead in the cauldron we had crudely built. After all it was a one time use. As you can see from the photos this lasted all day and well into the night. Keeping the lead flowing and the slew free and running proved to be a challenge. If you notice how we are dressed, it may be a clue to how foolhardy this was. The hot lead was spattering everywhere.
We are pouring the lead into a cement mould also weighing nearly 50,000 pounds; which we had let cure for a period of time. With all this molten lead pouring into the mold the steam coming out of the cement was impressive. The heat was coming right through the soles of my shoes.
Obviously we succeeded. “Courageous” became the last two time defender of the America’s Cup