I crossed the atlantic twice on “Carina” which was launched in the spring of 1969. A year which was famous for Woodstock and the Moon walk. We huddled around the radio at sea to listen to the Moonwalk broadcast. We races the Fastnet and the US team won the Admiral’s Cup that year; finishing second in 1971.
The Transatlantic race to Spain started in Bermuda and was in stark contrast as the course crossed two high pressure zones. The boat that won sailed the isobars. I had argued the point to no avail aboard “Charisma” as it meant sailing at right angles to the course. Less than 24 hours after finishing we set out for Sardinia; for what would be the first Mediterranean Championship; winning every race with Bill Ficker steering.
The remark at the end by Robin Knox-Johnson about having crossed the ocean 6 times with one of his crew. I have had the great privilege of having made 5 crossings with Jack Cummiskey, 3 with Larry Huntington. And crossings with so many of the other competitors; being that this was my 9th.
I am 8 years younger than Robin but Perhaps my last? Who knows.
I am about to start my 9th transatlantic race on 7 different boats. I have sailed with a number of people as a result; and have warm memories of each race, each boat, and each and every person.
It is a fraternity that one can only join by competing.
I had news a few days ago that another of that fraternity had died. Peter Van Dyke passed away. A loss to our group.
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.
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.
The America’s Cup showcased foiling under sail; something no one can ever unsee. Foiling is the new standard. Swing keels are also a standard in the search to reduce wetted surface.
It is hard to imagine that “Charisma” was once the standard for speed under sail. Construction with aluminum lent itself to very strong boats that could be easily altered. “Charisma” was perhaps the penultimate IOR boat.
For ease of altering a boat nothing can beat aluminum. Carbon fiber is however in a class by itself for strength to weight ratio; making today’s yachts lighter and stronger than ever.
Every sailor wants a boat that is faster than his opponent. An edge that allows for errors in judgment. The achievement has been interrupted often because of rating rules; which attempt to make unequal boats equal. The disparity has now grown to a point where it is silly. Not that it was ever perfect.
Uffa Fox sitting on the upper balcony of his house in Cowes watching over the boats returning from a day’s racing, worked towards planing hulls, light and strong.
Dick Carter, so well known for fast boats that two of his designs were chosen for Admiral’s Cup teams before they were finished; i.e. untested.
Süd Fischer’s “Ragamuffin” , for me was not only the fastest of her time but the best sailed.
The just finished America’s Cup has changed the paradigm of the search for speed under sail.