1973


sometimes it is difficult to find a header that covers the events. 1973 was such a year. I sailed all the spring Long Island Sound races on “Charisma” She then left for England,

I then sailed the Annapolis to Newport race with Ted Turner aboard “Lightnin” probably the last one tonner designed by S&S,  we built it at Minneford’s in City Island. Peter Bowker navigated and cooked.  Rounding out the crew were Ted’s regulars; Richie Boyd, Bunky Helfrich, Max O’Meara . We won our class by a full day, beating many larger boats, boat for boat.Ted took the boat to England to Compete in the Admiral’s cup as well having to find ways to increase her rating to meet the minimum for the series.
I then re-joined “Charisma” who was also part of the American  Admiral’s cup Team, along with “Salty Goose” belonging to Bob Derecktor. In those days the admiral’s cup(three boat teams from one country) was sailed as part of Cowes Week, which meant that you started in your respective class of race week. and were scored both ways. The Channel race, in those days started in Southend, near Portsmouth, usually 220 miles, followed by the day races of cowes week and ending with the Fastnet Race (605 miles) Incidentlt, the cover photo is “Charisma” at the start of the Channel Race.
Bill Ficker skippered the boat, John Marshall was aboard( you want john with you) The real drama of the race was our finish. Anchored within 100 yards, alongside our sistership from Brazil “Saga”. It was a race to see who could get their anchor up first. “Saga” won and we finished second.

St. George’s School

I attended St. George’s School, “the hilltop” in Newport, RI. I played hockey, ran cross country, and sailed.

As in all boarding schools, nicknames were prevalent; our coach was affectionately know as “mad dog”, someone who suffered fools with difficulty and was always eager to challenge you intellectually. He was a good sailor and a smart coach.
During my tenure at SG I had a classmate, Steve Moore, “wonder boy” He was light years ahead of the rest of us as far as sailing was concerned. Interscholastic sailing in this time was primarily team racing. It made sense, more people participated, and acted as a team. There was a problem, “Wonder Boy” was so good, he was simply too fast. the combinations usually depended on a first.
We sailed Fireflies, hot moulded boats, still used in the Wilson Trophy, in the UK. Paul Elvstrom’s first Olympic gold was in a firefly, which was sailed single-handed in the Olympics

my town

Newport, is a tourist town, even the vikings visited;home to the oldest synagogue in America, designed by the same architect as Trinity church. In Newport the Jews and Christians co-existed harmoniously in colonial times as now George Washington even spoke at Touro.

My Newport is a town with many layers. each intriguing in it’s own right; for me, however, I must have somehow been infected with sea water at a young age, as I keep returning to the ocean



Newport


I live in Newport, RI, The bridge completed in 1969, has become an icon of sorts for Narragansett bay. The center span was being lifted into place as I was leaving for the start of the 1969 trans-atlantic race to Cork, Ireland. The photo of the bridge and the ferry must have been taken that fall.

I returned from my summer of sailing in europe having no idea what Woodstock was; one of the defining events of my generation. For me, the event that I remember was the walk on the moon, the BBC, which normally signed off at midnight, stayed on air to transmit the event, we were mid ocean, cold wet, everything was damp, huddled around the Nav station, listening to a static filled broadcast.
The other photographs show the moods of the bridge and the bay.


VERY COOL BOATS



What do Bill Hubbard, Jimmy Gubelmann, Jack Cummiskey and Stephen Lirakis have in common beyond a love of sailing? Two very cool boats. These are exact one-third scale full sailing models of the IACC class boats that competed for the America’s cup.
Where did they come from? You might notice the BMW/ORACLE logo on the bow.
27 feet long, 4 feet wide, and a draft of 5 feet. displacing 2050 pounds.(1650 pounds are the lead package) All carbon fiber, with six suits of sails. awesome.

Guinevereous Liraki



The British Museum of Natural History gave each yacht entered in the 1968 trans-atlantic race a log book asking each crew to record sightings of mammals including where,when, and under what conditions the sightings occurred. There were many sightings, I had forgotten until now, I described the porpoise in the photo, Geroge Moffett, the owner of the boat turned the log in at the end of the race. About a year later he wrote to me that the porpoise had been identified as a unique species within the family of Phocoenidae and that the Museum had attributed it the name “Guinevereous Liraki”

I have no substantiation of the story as I have long ago lost the letter.

windsurfing



I had the first windsurfer on the East coast(sail #48) and won the first New England Championships, which qualified me for the world championship held on Mission Bay, San Diego,CA.(November 1972) I finished sixth, six points out of first, tight racing. As a consequence, I became friendly with Hoyle and Diane Schewitzer;having many wonderful adventures with them. Hoyle has been credited with inventing the sport and the board.

This is a photo of me winning the New England Sunfish Championships, unfortunately I do not remember the date.

Lirakis safety Harness




The 1972 Bermuda race convinced me there was a better design for a safety harness, I am an inveterate tinkerer, always trying to improve on something. Simplicity is the key. Over the next few years I worked in my spare time on developing and refining my ideas. The first harness was sold in 1978. Shortly thereafter I left my job and started producing them full time, I continued to sail until finally the company grew to the point where I was forced to choose.

The harness was simplicity itself; which made it practical and user friendly in today’s words. It was followed shortly by the bosun’s chair, which brought the position of the bowman on a boat into the modern world. It redefined the responsibilities and activities of the man on the bow. Again it just made sense.
The Business continue to expand into many other areas, and responsibilities followed, sailing became a distant memory, but never gone.

1966




1966 the year I graduated from high school. In March of that year I traveled to Europe on a hockey team modestly called ” The United States All Stars.” A group assembled from schools principably around the Boston area. The photo taken in Sweden after our toughest match of the tour. The majority of the team went on to Harvard, and four of them signed with NHL teams.

June,1966 was my first Bermuda Race, on “Guinevere” the 48 foot alan Gurney design belonging to George Moffett. We placed well in Class. I sailed back from Bermuda on the 72 foot yawl “Katuna”
In September I postponed my entry into my freshman class in order to sail the English Speaking Union International Dragon Races. I had been loaned a boat by Archibald van Beuren.
The boat was not really competitive, however the experience was memorable.

1976 Mediterranean



Another even year, Bermuda Race time again. A new “Charisma” designed for Jessie Phillips by Sparkman&Stephens. Olin always said that Jesse was his favorite client. The Bermuda race turned out to be the worst finish I have ever tallied in my sailing career. a number of factors contributed to that.

Later that summer I joined Ted Turner in Marseille,France to once again sail the One Ton World Championships on “Pied Piper” the Peterson design that had been sailed by Lowell North and beaten us the year before. Ted ended up leaving the regatta early and Lowell appointed me the starting helmsman. We finished second for the regatta by a few feet, in the last race. regrettably I have no photos from the regatta.
A few weeks later I was aboard “Charisma” once again, for the Mediterranean Championships in Palma di Majorca ,Spain As noted in the photograph of Jesse, we won about everything there was to win. I was one of the helmsman