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.

July 22, 1974

Doug McKeish the boy who had been on the deck of Valiant

Valiant, july 22, 1974

Ted Turner and crew on Valiant

Jeff Neuberth, John Fisher, Richie Boyd

Valiant with a bone in her tail

In 1974, Valiant, which was Sparkman & Stephens mistake, too much bustle, too much displacement; was the only consolation for Mariner, designed by Britton Chance, as she was as slow.
   Courageous was the fastest boat but not as well sailed as Intrepid with Gerry Driscoll as the helm. The selection committee could not choose an old boat (Intrepid)
  The entire story made all the more fun by last weekend’s festivities. We could all reminisce about the glorious past. We did have fun, not every day, but it was good.
    Doug McKeish, was a young boy, and when the travel lift strap broke, Valiant fell and that sent Doug flying. I believe the photo was taken by Norris D. Hoyt.
   Almost everyone in these photos came back in 1977 to finish what they could not in 1974.
   Jeff Neuberth was our starboard tailer on Independence, and the Project Manager for the Courageous/Independence Syndicate. He was forced to choose; he was burning the candle at both ends to keep up (despite being a brilliant organizer). One day he was quite literally asleep in the tailer’s pit when we went to tack.
   Jeff did much of the organizing for the reunion event, keeping a low profile as usual.

12 meter era re-union, first night

dinner in the 12 meter yacht club, candy store

max awarding trophies 30 years late

The re-union does not start until tomorrow. Thanks to Ted Turner, some of us who had sailed with him on 12 meters and other boats started early telling the stories that only those of us who were there could confirm or deny.
   Tomorrow night 400 are expected. can’t wait to see everyone.