Working backwards. Before the 2003 race my previous race was in 1975. Newport to Cowes, IOW. A Swan 48 named “Weald”. A fine sailing boat. We broke the headstay just off Nantucket in about 40 knots; the beginning of a strong low. We put into Marblehead and got a new headstay; restarted and managed to pass several boats.
This is a story that was brought back to memory by the thought that Ted Turner has chartered “American Eagle” for the 12 meter re-union in a few days. In 1969 racing on “Carina” in Cowes (Carina was part of the American Admiral’s Cup Team) We were racing a non-Admiral’s Cup race the Nab tower race. We did very well; not first, but well placed. We were ahead of “American Eagle” most of the course. The following morning motoring out to the start of a race that did count for the team, a launch from the Royal yacht Squadron came along side with a message for Dick Nye. It was an invitation to the Castle to receive the New York Yacht Club Cup, awarded to the first NYYC boat to finish. Now, we had done well, however another NYYC boat had finished ahead of us. Dick hastily penned a note indicating such and handed it ti the launch. We had to prepare for our race and anyone who has ever sailed a Cowes week knows it is chaotic with so many boats milling about on or near the starting line. The launch comes along side again with the message “you will attend” Here I must explain that Dick Nye and “Carina” were not only legend in English waters but adored. They simply preferred to award the trophy to Dick and not to the other skipper. Dick went and was awarded the trophy.
1975 was an active year for me. After the America’s Cup we moved to Cowes, on the Isle of Wight where I worked at Souter’s building boats. I continued to sail, skippering the prototype of the Swan 41, named “GunFleet of Hamble” in the Admiral’s Cup Trials. Then the Transatlantic race from Newport to Cowes on “Weald” a Swan 48. Cowes week on “Gitana VI” a new S&S 66′ for Baron Rothschild. The Fastnet on “Guia” a Bob Miller 44′ formerly known as “Gingko”
duke of york
Guia leaving the the fastnet
gunfleet of hamble
wsl and my mother in law at the hamble
During Cowes week where most everyone was there. I was invited to a meeting with Bob Miller, Johan Valentine, Alan Bond, Warren Jones, and a few others. Ironically, Bob Miller had taken the apartment over the Duke of York where Bernadette and I had lived for more than a year. This meeting was a proposal for me to go to Australia to build the next challenger for the America’s Cup. Naturally lots of questions and answers. The final moment was when Alan Bond asked if I would bring the lines of “Courageous” which I had built. When I answered “NO” the meeting was over.