If you have read my blog, you have found entries about past America’s cup programs when the 12 meters were still the boats being raced. The Julibee in 2001 breathed new life into the class. Many older boats being restored and raced.It is because these boats were built to Lloyd’s scantlings that they survived at all.
While a twelve meter is a heavy slow boat by today’s standards, they are thrilling to sail for other reasons, and are about as elegant and graceful as a boat can be.
In Newport there are at least 15 twelve meters. and more than twenty on the East Coast. A regatta can attract enough boat to make a sight, at the same time provide a venue where we “oldtimers” can still look useful and active.Of course it is always an opportunity for old shipmates to re-unite.
1974 was both a Bermuda race year and an America’s cup year. I lofted and built “Courageous” US 26, designed by S&S, the last two time defender of the America’s Cup at Minneford’s Yacht Yard, in City Island,NY.The story really started in 1973.
Sailed the spring races in Long Island Sound on “Weald” a Swan 48 also designed by S&S, followed by the Bermuda Race with a crew, many of whom I still sail with today.(I believe we finished 3rd in class) Of note, our navigator for this race was Chick Larkin, a legend long before he came aboard. Not only a man of tremendous charm, but with a wonderful intuitive sense of where to place the boat on the race course. Remember this is long before GPS or Grib files.
From there I raced my first Chicago-Mackinac Race aboard “Country Woman” a Doug Peterson one tonner.
The reader will start to see a number of threads starting to appear. As many of the people I sailed with re-appear at various times in my history.
1978-1979 I sailed aboard Intrepid about 100 days each season. I was the crew boss, responsible for scheduling crew as we were having tryouts. I was also the tactician, and sometime helmsman. additionally I had to make certain the boat was prepared each day.
Gerry Driscoll was the skipper, as good as I have ever sailed with. We raced France 3 again and again, Bic had visiting skippers, Bill Ficker, Lowell North and others. Gerry would quietly say to me , were do you want me to put them, He never lost a start and we failed to be first at the windward mark only once in the two seasons.
Independence US 28, skippered by Ted Hood. I was the bowman, and responsible for the rig. Conceptually the boat was good but simply not as fast as Courageous. We arrived in Newport with a boat that was just not fast enough. A summer filled with anecdotes of the personalities involved. The last summer of real amateur america’s cup sailing. Turner was unstoppable that year, he won every contest he entered.
It may have been the last year the “America’s cup demitasse” was run. Conceived as a fun event during a layday in the America’s cup summer. Two crew from each boat raced in Dyer Dhows. Turner won, Jobson was second, I came third.
the America’s Cup Jubilee held in 2001 in Cowes, England. The Woodstock of sailing as it has been described. Was truly a remarkable event. The Royal Yacht Squadron set the standard of how to make people happy. 38 twelve meters assembled in one place for the first time ever; along with so many other fabulous boats. For those of us who love sailing it truly was the best of the best, with no end of the “eye candy”.
White Crusader and Ecosse(USA) sailing upwind. Vanity V with 5 Vargas girls spinnakers;
the crew photo is Olin Stephens with a smile from ear to ear posed with the crew of Nyala sailed by Troben Grail
Columbia, the 1958 defender in the America’s cup aboard which I sailed, in a foul tide with the cliffs of the needles in the background.
Finally a photo of a water spout with Corsica in the background. taken while sailing Columbia from Sardinia to Monaco.