Saturday, June 09, 2012

Small World

Entry Way to Model Room
Trophy Room, NYYC

In 1934, the J class sailboat Rainbow defeated Endeavor, retaining the Americas Cup, and continuing what was to become the longest winning streak in sports history (132 years), until Australia won it with a brilliantly designed 12 meter yacht in 1983. My grandfather, Jack Parkinson, was one of the helmsmen in Rainbow along with Mike Vanderbilt and Sherman Hoyt.

From From Enterprise to Endeavor: The J Class Yachts:

"As in Enterprise, Vanderbilt steered Rainbow on the wind, as well as before the starts and when rounding marks. But Hoyt took the helm when the genoa was set, and Parkinson usually steered when they were racing off the wind."

Rainbow and Yankee
Rainbow almost lost to Endeavor, and it was only Hoyt's superb tactician work that allowed Rainbow to drive Endeavor into a hole (a space with little or no wind) and pass her in the seventh race, winning the series and preventing the Americas Cup from being replaced with Mike Vanderbilts' head on a spike in the trophy room at the New York Yacht Club.

The J boats look pretty traditional, but they were big fast things, and as technologically advanced for their time as the current AC45 catamarans, that are so over the top and dangerous to sail that the crew wear helmets, instead of double breasted blue blazers like they wore while racing big keelboats back in the day.

Fast forward to 1972. Norris Hoyt, Sherman Hoyt's son, patiently tries to teach me the fundamentals of photography during my short time at St. Georges School, in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1992, I watched America3 defeat Il Moro di Venezia from a spectator boat off San Diego, California. It was a bit of a silly thing. After the start, our boat quickly motored up to the windward mark. We soon lost sight of the racing, and everyone went below to the bar to watch the race on ESPN until they caught up with us, and we went back on deck to watch the mark rounding. Then back to the bar while we motored to the next mark. Repeat until the race is over. Wolf Blitzer was aboard, covering the race for CNN, I guess. He didn't seem happy with the assignment.  

America3 was Bill Koch's adventure. He has a house in Osterville, right across Cotuit Bay where I grew up. Fun fact: ESPN had cameras and microphones aboard both boats, and this was the series where Paul Cayard, Il Moro's skipper was heard to say "We're gonna tack the fuck out of them" on live TV.

In 2012, my business partner Adrian, who lives in Valencia, Spain (an Americas Cup venue) and is a world class athletic preparation/rehabilitation specialist, has some of the current Americas Cup athletes as clients. Sailing those AC45's is dangerous work, and they get injured doing it.

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