Twelve meters are elegant yachts. It is practically impossible to photograph them poorly. I had a long relationship with the 12 meter class; having lofted and built “Courageous” and having sailed on “American Eagle”, Weatherly, “Easterner” and “Intrepid” in the sixties and seventies.
They are still eight knots boats and after the last America”s Cup we will never be satisfied with anything that does not foil and sails at less than thirty knots.
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.
This week was the 35th re-union of the “Courageous” crew; celebrating their successful defense of the America’s Cup in 1977. Commodore Harry Anderson made some remarks bemoaning the present state of the Cup. I always feel that Ted is so nice to have included me in the event over the years. I was not part of the crew; I have sailed quite a lot with Ted over the years and was part of the same syndicate in 1977. What was announced as an event for 50-60 people swelled to over 225.
Courageous was the first aluminum 12 meter, the last two time defender of the America’s Cup. I lofted and built her in 1973-74 at Minneford’s.
There was another re-union of sorts this evening. Duby Joslin reminded us Richie Sayer, Jimmy Gubelmann, Duby and Myself have know one another for 52 years this month. We have all sailed together or against each other on 12 meters, big boats and dinghys since before high school and college.
Here is where the 12 meter story becomes more personal for me. 1972 Bermuda race, Transatlantic race to Spain, delivery to Sardinia aboard “Charisma”. November I sailed the first Windsurfer Championships in Mission Bay San Diego, a week later back on “Charisma” in Rio de Janeiro for the first Rio Circuit, upon return I picked up and moved to City Island and started work at Minneford’s for Chuck Sadler.
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.