I’ve had the honor of sailing and racing on many of the finest yachts in the world. The boat I grew up on, the Elizabeth, was a famous, respected racer in the 1920s and 1930s from the design board of the legendary John G. Alden. My first boat, an Atkins double-ender built in 1932, was a lovely little pocket cruiser. Carlotta won the 1968 Amateur Boatbuilder Society’s ‘Design of the Year’ award, and rightly so. Our present boat, Wild Card, was a fast, wholesome vessel in the mid 1960s when she was designed… and still is today.
Yes, there are some lovely vessels out there. I’ve raced on numerous 12 meters. I’ve sailed on IACC yachts. I’ve been aboard a couple of J-boats. I’ve trod the deck of Mari Cha…
However, I’ve only sailed on one magic boat and that boat is Olin Stephen’s 1934 Stormy Weather. Whether she’s on the starting line with a flock of Melges 24s or in a severe North Atlantic gale, she always handles like a dream.
…usually when I’m racing I’m either grudgingly content with our boat-speed or sadly disappointed in it. I often say, “…what’s wrong? She’s not happy… We’re off the pace…”
Stormy Weather is the only racing boat I’ve ever been on which is consistently going faster than I think it should.
I was her tactician for many years and raced Antigua Sailing Week, the Rolex, the Cort series, BVI Spring, the Hennie and numerous other Atlantic and Caribbean races aboard her (with the infamous ‘monkey’ crew).
I fell in love with her in heavy weather during the Bermuda race. It was the 50th anniversary of class victory during that event---and, while modern vessels were just shredded by the seas… Stormy romped. We finished in the top half of our class without any ‘old age allowance.’ It was fun telling the hi-tech, hotshot guys who’d beat us, “…we’ll meet you back here in 50 years for a rematch!”
Just how truly amazing is she? In August 1995, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her Fastnet win, she participated yet again - her 7th Fasnet - and was First in Class and Sixth Overall in a fleet of more than two hundred yachts.
For more on the amazing Stormy Weather, click here.
Isn't she lovely after her Italian refit? (Picture 2008)
In 1988 winning Antigua Sailing Week
aboard Stormy Weather.... this was one of the best races ever... the entire fleet behind us as we romped intoEnglish harbor...
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