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.