If a little is good, more is better America’s cup 1970

1970 brought more changes to the America’s cup. The story merits to be broken into segments, chapters if you like. The Americans have three boats: “Intrepid”, “Valiant” and “Heritage”. Ted Turner brings “American Eagle”, however she is not a real contender. Turner has raced her hard across the Atlantic, SORC, Annapolis-Newport; she was an ocean racing boat with milage.
     As alluded to previously, Olin Stephens and others noted that displacement seemed to be good, while also recognizing that wetted surface was not. The eternal battle in displacement boats.  “Valiant” represented the latest thinking by S&S, heavy, lots of bustle, short ends. This proved to be wrong, and S&S subsequently backed away from this direction.
     Britton Chance, probably best known for his 5.5 meter successes at this point, re-designed “Intrepid” again, increasing the bustle, shortening the keel, and reducing the size of the rudder.
    Charlie Morgan designed, built, skippered, and made the sails for “Heritage” Too much for one man to handle in an America’s Cup season.
      As we all know “Intrepid” went on to become the second two time defender in 1970. The story of how she arrived there is an interesting one. Bill Ficker the skipper and helmsman it took all of his concentration to sail “Intrepid” with such a small rudder. The top half of her mast was titanium (the top two-thirds of “Valiant’s mast was titanium) with no jumpers. Low windage and low weight. The need for more control of both the mast and steering the boat would be re-visited later.
   I must have photos of “Heritage”, as I worked on the shore crew under Paul Coble.  1970 was my final year in college, where we were ranked number 2 in the country, we certainly won our share. I arrived the morning of the Bermuda race from Wisconsin, site of the Intercollegiate national championships. Won the Bermuda Race aboard “Carina”; returning to Newport to work on Heritage.
   I have not talked about the Challengers and will do  in the next installment.

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ws lirakis

a sailor who carries a camera

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