Courageous 1974

The memories are still vivid thanks to the photographs. When we received the plans from S&S by courier,(this is a story itself) The courier arrived at the yard not knowing where to go, fell on me and asked if I would sign for the package, which I did. I always wondered what might have happened if the plans had been delivered somewhere else. It was the drawings for what would be “Courageous”.
We had been preparing the loft and the space where she would be lofted and built, all in the same building.  When we started lofting, we could not make the transitional areas, near the rudder post, fair. When we broke the battens, it worked. As you can see from the filler in front of the rudder, there was no way we were going to wrap the aluminum that tightly. Two different shapes fit together at the rudder post. The centerline of the rudder post was also the end of the waterline.
This would be the first aluminum 12 meter ever built, It was a big transition at the time. Looking back for someone who had not lived through that era, they certainly would scoff; given what is now capable with carbon. I also felt that it was the first time I saw efforts to make the boats user friendly, big turning blocks. The twin steering wheels with trim tab wheel and lock were the next step from “Intrepid’s” trim tab and steering.
“Courageous” would sport a “c” stay, “Mariner” a twinstay, and “Intrepid” hanks. There was still so much room for improvement.

I have already mentioned

How I Learned To Love Math

I don’t know about you, I struggled with math throughout school. I, like so many, could never see the necessity of knowing much math.

I loved sailing and wanted to know everything there was to know about boats. I worked building sails, building boats. I started lofting the designs; drawing them full size, This is the moment where any errors in the initial design appear. We would re-fair the lines. But for me, suddenly there was a reason for math. It all became so clear. I could define the “lines” of the boat with a formula. Math had a purpose, and therefore became a useful tool.


When I was lofting “Courageous” at Minneford’s on City Island; Phil Rhodes would come around the yard. He was retired from yacht design, but I never met anyone who had been involved in boats to let go just because time had moved on. Boats are a passion. It was clear that for Mr. Rhodes it was no different. We would chat; It must have become clear to him that I shared his passion. He started bringing work sheets with technical problems of various sorts for me to solve. The following week he would collect the “homework” and give me another set of problems to work on. I would receive the corrected sheets with comments. Something that continued until his death.