Norrie Hoyt, teacher, shipmate, mentor. A wonderful intelligent, engaging, kind man with a tireless curious mind. My English teacher at St. George’s School, with whom I sailed my first Bermuda Race. He was probably responsible for my enduring interest in photography. He forced me into an orderly mind.
Norrie wrote a book titled “Addicted to Sail” a charming little book in which his enthusiasm pours out on the reader.
At school his apartment was always full of students, Norrie and his wife never seemed to mind. They made students feel welcome and cared for. To this day I do not know how they managed. English class was always stories of sailing which kept us captivated.
When Sail Magazine was started almost every cover the first ten years were photographs taken by Norrie.
Norrie held a Phd in English Literature and his swimming records stood for years at Yale.
In 1970 I sailed the intercollegiate championships in Madison, WI. In those days the team race championships were divided by district. We beat the West coast for the first time in many years; however in the individual championships they dominated.
I arrived the day following the conclusion of the series back in Newport the morning of the start of the Bermuda Race, which I sailed aboard “Carina” Dick Nye’s 48 foot McCurdy & Rhodes sloop. We won overall beating many bigger boats across the line.
Returning to Newport I needed a summer job. It was an America’s Cup summer. I found work on the shore crew for “Heritage” designed, built and skippered by Charlie Morgan, preparing the boat each morning before it left for racing and in the evening upon its return.
I raced the Stamford-Vineyard race on “Carina”. we did well and “Carina” won the NORT(northern ocean racing trophy) a cumulative scored prize.
“Chubasco” a 68 foot S&S yawl from the west coast. We left the dock for the delivery to Ft. Lauderdale,FL the middle of November. The wind never stopped blowing the whole trip. We had 50 knots out of the north for 8 days. wet and wild. Burke Mooney at the helm in the photo.
I returned to Newport. In December I flew to Charleston, SC to jion “Loon” a 45 foot yawl belonging to Gifford Pinchot to help sail it to St. Thomas,VI. He raced actively in the 1950’s and wrote a number of books on the subject. I arrived back to the news that by birthdate had been assigned a lottery number for the draft that would in all likelihood that would never be drawn.
the 2004 Bermuda Race was my first Bermuda Race since 1980. re-united with the core crew of “Snow Lion” from the 2003 trans-atlantic race and fastnet race.
2006 was the debut of the new Jason Ker 50 foot ‘Snow Lion”; launched only weeks before the Bermuda Race. We sailed the NYYC spring regatta and then off to Bermuda. It was a slow upwind race. We managed a class win and winning by the greatest margin in any class meant we earned extra silver.
The first evening of the race I hit what expect was a basking shark, quite large, it became wrapped around the keel, we had to stop and sail backward to free it.
No story about yachting is complete without “Carina” belonging to the Nyes. There is probably no boat in yachting history that won more races. There were several yachts bearing the name, all belonging to the Nye family. The success was a father,son story, complementing each other perfectly.
I started sailing on the last “Carina”a 48 foot sloop built in 1969, designed by McCurdy&Rhodes. They had been tasked to design a boat that would rate well under any rule and sail fast naturally.(The rating rule was in transition and no one knew exactly what it would be, the existing CCA rule in America was being melded with the RORC rule in the rest of the world.)the boat is still winning races today.
In 1969 of 32 starts I believe there were 29 firsts, the rest were 2nd or 3rd. We won our class in the Trans-atlantic race from Newport to Cork, Ireland. From there we went on to Admiral’s Cup and were part of the winning United States team.
1970 we won the Bermuda Race. and probably the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy, give for a cumulative score based on several races, block Island race, Stamford Vineyard race, Marblehead-Halifax race.
For me the Bermuda race was pier head jump flying in from the intercollegiate national championships.
1971 we sailed the boat across the atlantic again to participate once more in the Admiral’s Cup and Fastnet race.
I only sailed those three seasons on the boat, but it’s indelible mark was with me forever.
A few days ago there was a reunion of sorts. a number of the crew of the “glory days” of Charisma the S&S 56 belonging to Jesse Phillips turned up in Newport. I keep fond memories of our days sailing. It all seemed so easy, we all had confidence in one another . In the photo on the left taken during the Bermuda race, a hurricane crossed the course, we had
70 knots over the deck at one point. It was also the moment I decided that I could make a better safety harness.(it’s me in the photo)
the photo taken from the masthead of Charisma during the trans-atlantic race to Spain. A long slow race.
From there we took off to get to Sardinia in time for the first Mediterranean championships, Bill Ficker came and skippered the boat, we won everything.
the bottom photo is of Peter Van dyke and John Browning sailing throught the straits of Gibraltar
for those of you who might like to see what our race was like go to:Gallery.mac.com/yachtsman1
Here I am steering “Snow Lion” with my good friend Jack Cummiskey trimming main.