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.
The film produced by NBC sports is well done and a perspective I had not previously considered.
Forty years ago about this date we towed to Newport for the start of the selection trials to defend the America’s Cup.
We had had a small regatta in Marblehead over the Memorial day weekend in which “Courageous” was faster on every point of sail. Reggie Pierce looked up from the grinder handles and quipped: “It’s going to be a long summer”. Those words proved to be prophetic.
“Independence” was supposed to be the anointed defender. The rest is history.
“Intrepid” will celebrate 50 years.
I had the great privilege to sail “Columbia” the first twelve meter to defend the America’s Cup in 1958. at the America’s Cup Jubilee. There were 38 twelve meters there. This was a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the America’s Cup.
The idea of the Royal Yacht Squadron, from my prospective it exceeded all expectations. It was an endless parade of yachts each more beautiful and graceful the the next.
There will be smiles around San Francisco Bay with the announcement that America’s Cup style racing is set to return to the venue of the 34th America’s Cup.
A bold plan by Tom Ehman, whose experience with the Cup dates back to 1977, will see racing resume on an annual basis in updated 12 Metre yachts – which were the preferred Cup class from 1956 to 1987.
The new event will reflect the true spirity of the America’s Cup Deed of Gift, with competition being between yacht club teams comprised only of nationals from that club’s country.
The new event is being masterminded by Tom Ehman who is currently the Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the body charged under the 19th century Deed of Gift, which governs the conduct of the America’s Cup, with the organisation of the 35th America’s Cup.
The America’s Cup Events Authority is the body responsible under the Protocol for the organisation of the next Match, but it created a great deal of angst amongst the San Francisco sailing fraternity when it decided not to Defend in its home waters, and took the Cup Defence to Bermuda.
That frustration has spawned the new event, coupled with the desire of San Francisco sailors to maintain their place on the international sailing vista.
Unlike the America’s Cup the new San Francisco event will carry half a million dollars in prizemoney, and will be a lot lower costs of entry, with a figure of $1million being touted as the annual cost to run a team.
The benefit for sponsors is that they will get annual exposure for their outlay, as opposed to the once every three/four years with the current Cup plus what can be obtained from the America’s Cup World Series – a three day event which will be sailed three times this year, and with only three venues announced for 2016
Speaking with Associated Press, Ehman said he envisions the Golden Gate Challenge as the Wimbledon of yacht racing in that it will be held every year at the same venue. Unlike the America’s Cup, all teams will be challengers, meaning they’ll start on equal footing each year.
To be named the Golden Gate Yacht Racing Challenge, the new event is being launched at a time when many in the sailing world have questioned the vision for the 35th America’s Cup of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, which has so far lost two of its Challengers of Record in the first 18 months of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.
Ehman said he hopes to attract team owners who have been priced out of the America’s Cup or turned off by recent turmoil.
‘This is an opportunity to do something for the sport and the former cup community,’ Ehman said from San Francisco.
Ehman told Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press that he’s working to secure event sponsors and teams.
‘I think this is the best venue in the world for showcasing yacht racing and that was shown in the last cup,’ he said. ‘There’s a crying need in the world of yacht racing for such an event, especially in monohulls and especially in a lot of breeze. We’re seeing that because of what’s happening or not happening in other parts of the sport and in other parts of the world.’
The move is sure to raise the hackles of the America’s Cup Events Authority, a privately owned company charged by the Golden Gate Yacht Club with the commercial and event management activities surrounding the 35th America’s Cup, now removed to Bermuda.
Technically Ehman is part of a management structure to which ACEA reports, however his position is also understood to be voluntary, and ACEA would have few options open to shut down this new initiative or Ehman’s involvement in promoting a new sailing event in a venue deserted by ACEA.
Ehman remains vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is the America’s Cup trustee. He said his regatta is not affiliated with the GGYC and won’t compete with the America’s Cup. It is believed the new event will be hosted by all Bay area yacht clubs, and existing facilities will be used for team bases
‘I think the America’s Cup is off on its own and always has been,’ Ehman said. ‘The America’s Cup will survive the current situation. There is obviously strong interest in monohull racing with strong teams, in boats everyone has heard of and loves. There is a nostalgia and romance with the 12-meters, and to have those boats racing in a lot of breeze on San Francisco Bay where people can watch it, it will remind people of how great the America’s Cup was in Fremantle in 1987 in windy conditions in 12s.’
Ehman told AP that he’s having designers look at modernizing the 12s and hopes to keep the cost below $3 million per boat. All boats would have the same hull shape, which would make the regatta a test of sailing skill rather than a design competition, helping to hold down costs.
I have been working making short videos lately. I have made others that have nothing to do with sailing. Sailing is what people expect to find here.
This is in response to those who asked:”Who are you?” It is a least a dimension.Boats have always been a part of my life. Naturally interwoven with the story of Newport.
Every sailor wants a boat that is faster than his opponent. An edge that allows for errors in judgment. The achievement has been interrupted often because of rating rules; which attempt to make unequal boats equal. The disparity has now grown to a point where it is silly. Not that it was ever perfect.
Uffa Fox sitting on the upper balcony of his house in Cowes watching over the boats returning from a day’s racing, worked towards planing hulls, light and strong.
Dick Carter, so well known for fast boats that two of his designs were chosen for Admiral’s Cup teams before they were finished; i.e. untested.
Süd Fischer’s “Ragamuffin” , for me was not only the fastest of her time but the best sailed.
The just finished America’s Cup has changed the paradigm of the search for speed under sail.
We are in San Diego racing in the International Masters Regatta with a contingent from 1977 when we received a telephone call with the news.
Eight Bells for Stretch Ryder
We are very sad to report from Port Washington, New York, the passing of a wonderful friend and sailor- Gould “Stretch” Ryder. Stretch is best known as the winch grinder for Ted Turner aboard Courageous for the 1977 Americas Cup defense against Australia (one).
Stretch fought cancer for the past ten months and leaves behind wife Gerry, sons Michael and Christopher, and many family and friends.
Over the past few weeks Stretch received visitors and calls from all over the country. Every member of the Courageous crew called or visited Stretch. A highlight was last Friday’s visit by half the crew of Courageous, flying in from Montana with Ted Turner on his jet. Ted, Gary Jobson (tactician), Bill Jorch (navigator) and John “LJ” Edgcomb (bow) exchanged hysterical stories (mostly true) about the 1977 Cup.
Stretch was his communicating and humorous self up to the end. Stretch grew up sailing and playing football and basketball. Winning the Bacardi Cup racing a Star with Frank Zagarino was a major sailing highlight. At AlfredUniversity he was a tight end. While serving in the Army, Stretch coached football and flew helicopters in Southeast Asia. Since 1982 Stretch worked with John Thomson, running marinas, the famous “Barge” Restaurant, and Ventura Aviation. He raced for decades on John’s famous series of ocean racers and Farr 40s named “Infinity”. Stretch has been a longtime member of the Storm Trysail Club.
There will be a celebration for Stretch at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club at 2 pm next Friday afternoon November 1. All his friends are invited.