UNBOLTING THE CUP

intrepid & courageous both two time defenders

unbolting the cup marble house september 1983

Tomorrow is the start of the twelve meter north american championship followed by the 12 meter era re-union.
   We sailed with 11 crew, today the boats are sailed with 17.  I do not remember being overtaxed. The normal rush turning corners.
  I look forward to seeing those I sailed with and against.

12 meter era reunion

I will keep the thought alive. I should very much like to see all of those who walked the same path as I did. With extra pleasure in seeing all those who when before me. The text is from Jerome Brooks, written in 1958 shortly before the start of the first 12 meter defense of the America’s Cup.

An addendum, “Leopard of London” while not yet finished lost the window to eclipse the record set by “Mari Cha” . The weather was not as co-operative as they had hoped.

America’s Cup 1958

Columbia the first 12 meter built after world war II and the first 12 meter to defend the America’s Cup.

The “J” boat era was brief 1930-1937 and few boats were built. Prior to the J’s the boats were built to the universal rule with fundamentally a waterline length as the only restriction. and in earlier events time allowances were part of the game.
Back to 12 meters, City Island,NY was the home of the greatest boat building yards in the East,rivaling those in Europe. Certainly during the 12 meter years, any syndicate wanted to have their boat built by a City Island boatyard. There was without question a community of skilled craftsman that were attracted there. Additionally, The major naval architects were based in New York, as were the men with the money. It made sense to have easy access to a construction project. If you lived in Greenwich or White Plains, City Island was on the way home.
Sparkman&Stephens dominated the 12 meter years having 5 designs defend between 1958 and 1980. Two of them being two time defenders.(in the history of the America’s cup there have been 3 two time defenders)
Olin and Rod Stephens lived briefly in City Island, Rod working at Nevins Yard, learning the practical aspects of boatbuilding. and Olin’s early designs were built there.
The Sears family committed to build the first 12 meter, once the class was determined for the America’s Cup competition, the first after world war II.
I had the pleasure to sail “Columbia” US 16 her sail number, in the America’s Cup Jubilee in 2001. Henry Sears, the grandson of the original syndicate head, brought his scrap books, a true joy to listen and read a first hand story.
I will continue this thread along with photographs for the entire span of the 12 meter years.
For those of you interested I have a number of books related to these years for sale.



12 meter prize giving

A rainy day in Newport,for the awarding of prizes for the 12 meter world championship as well as the north american championship. The final day of the” legends” forum. full of recognizable faces of those who have contributed not only to the America’s cup but sailing as a whole.

Next week the twelve meters will sail in North Harbor on the Hudson in New York City, for those who were not able to view them sailing here in Newport.