SAILING THROUGH LIFE

This is in response to those who asked:”Who are you?” It is a least a dimension.Boats have always been a part of my life. Naturally interwoven with the story of Newport.

1964 / 1974 CUP DEFENDERS, TALES OF THE PAST

A reunion of the crews from 1964 and 1974 America’s Cup defenders was a wonderful event filled with tales of the past. All made possible by Jimmy Gubelmann, as I like to call him the glue that binds. I heard stories that I had not heard before and a few I knew.

Mariner, Courageous, Intrepid, Valiant were represented from 1974 and Constellation and American Eagle from 1964.

TALES OF THE PAST
TALES OF THE PAST
INTREPID
INTREPID
BOB BAVIER, TED HOOD, JACK SUTPHEN, COURAGEOUS 1974
BOB BAVIER, TED HOOD, JACK SUTPHEN, COURAGEOUS 1974
AMERICAN EAGLE
AMERICAN EAGLE
CONSTELLATION 1964
CONSTELLATION 1964
MARINER 1974
MARINER 1974
COURAGEOUS 1974
COURAGEOUS 1974
THE MAN WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE, JIM GUBELMANN
THE MAN WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE, JIM GUBELMANN
HOMMAGE TO BUDDY BOMBARD
HOMMAGE TO BUDDY BOMBARD
DICK ENERSEN
DICK ENERSEN
RICH DUMOULIN
RICH DUMOULIN
LESTER ABBERLEY HANS ISBRANDTSEN
LESTER ABBERLEY HANS ISBRANDTSEN
1964/1974 AT STATION 10
1964/1974 AT STATION 10
PERFECT NIGHT
PERFECT NIGHT

PRETTY BOATS

INDEPENDENCE LOOKING AT COURAGEOUS
INDEPENDENCE LOOKING AT COURAGEOUS
COURAGEOUS BEGINNINGS
COURAGEOUS BEGINNINGS
ALMOST BLACK AND WHITE
ALMOST BLACK AND WHITE
CLASSICS RUNNING
CLASSICS RUNNING
NORTHERN LIGHT AND ONAWA
NORTHERN LIGHT AND ONAWA
VANITY
VANITY
COURAGEOUS TO WINDWARD
COURAGEOUS TO WINDWARD
COURAGEOUS WITH NEFERITTI
COURAGEOUS WITH NEFERITTI
INTREPID AND COURAGEOUS
INTREPID AND COURAGEOUS
EASTERNER
EASTERNER

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.

GOODBY STRETCH

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.

COURAGEOUS 35TH ( or the way we were)

 

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.

1974 america’s cup the beginning

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.

“Lightin’ ” was perhaps the last one tonner from Sparkman & Stephens, was complete, “Namis” a Gary Mull design, was well underway. I started lofting “Sorcery” a 56 foot sloop from S&S with Jay Selden, who coincidently had been at St. George’s with me. During this time Phil Rhodes, now retired, but had boats in his blood, started coming by and bringing me “homework” which he would correct the following visit. It is now 1973. We as a group are taking design courses at Long Island University. 
I sail the Annapolis Newport race on “Lightin” with Ted Turner and most of the crew who had been with him for some time and would be aboard “Courageous” in 1977; but we are not there yet.
I get married after the Admiral’s Cup on “Charisma”, we finish second to “Saga” the sistership of ” Charisma” in the Fastnet Race; it is August of 1973.  We all feel that Minneford’s will get to build the next S&S twelve meter, and it will be the first aluminum twelve meter ever.
We are again taking a course as a group, this time at Stevens Institute, a tank testing course, taught be Peter DeSaix.  He is excited about the results from Brit Chance’s design. Remember the as yet to be named “Courageous” is being towed at Stevens as well.
Brit Chance might never have continued on the path he started, had not the results encouraged him. Hindsight would show that the data had been mis-read/mis-interpreted. I will note the “Mariner” was being built at  Derecktor’s in Mamaroneck and I am pretty certain certain from each yard had seen what the other was building when the designs were on the loft floor.
The Fall Series in Annapolis,”Charisma”, skippered by Bill Ficker, would serve as the tryout platform for potential crew for the 12 meter we are building. We are not sailing on “Charisma” we are all pushed over to “Yankee Girl” the sistership to “Charisma”. We beat them for the series.
We built a mock up of a preliminary deck layout which we could heel, for Bill and his crew, who came to try it. An oil crisis would derail this Syndicate, who to their credit, felt that they could not in good conscience go forward with a 12 meter when the rest of the people in the United States were waiting in line for gasoline. This decision was based on the fact that the budget for fuel for the 4 months of tender for the boat was $50,000.00
Olin Stephens asks us to continue building and he will find a new syndicate. There would be no second-in-row for Bill Ficker.
This is the first aluminum twelve meter ever. LLoyd’s of London has been the guardian of the twelve meter rule and the scantlings or material standards for nearly 100 years. In addition to lofting “Courageous” my job was to co-ordinate with the representative from LLoyd’s as to our proposed ideas for building. He came once a week and would return with a yea or nay.
One day before we finished the lofting, Olin brought a guest, the man who had lofted “Constellation” and “Intrepid”;now elderly and could not see well, but he put his hands on the lines and gave them his blessing.

POURING LEAD

This may qualify as one of the more foolish things I have done in my life.  I have written about having lofted and built “Courageous”. we literally did it all; we built everything. 
The boat was well underway; it is the early spring of 1974, We started early in the morning, everything was prepared. We started heating and loading 50,000 pounds of lead in the cauldron we had crudely built. After all it was a one time use. As you can see from the photos this lasted all day and well into the night. Keeping the lead flowing and the slew free and running proved to be a challenge. If you notice how we are dressed, it may be a clue to how foolhardy this was. The hot lead was spattering everywhere.
We are pouring the lead into a cement mould also weighing nearly 50,000 pounds; which we had let cure for a period of time. With all this molten lead pouring into the mold the steam coming out of the cement was impressive. The heat was coming right through the soles of my shoes. 
Obviously we succeeded. “Courageous” became the last two time defender of the America’s Cup

1974



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.