Story & photos by Stuart Streuli, New York Yacht Club Director of Communications


The 12 Metre Intrepid, skippered by Jack Curtin, posted a 1-1-1-1 scoreline to win Class1.
© Stuart Streuli


For some regattas, the actual competition can seem like a supporting component. That was certainly the case the weekend of June 24 & 25 for Jack Curtin, the owner of the legendary 12 Metre Intrepid, which sailed to a convincing win in Class 1 in the Robert H. Tiedemann Classics Regatta. Winning is always nice, but there’s so much more to this event that the results for Curtin.

“I knew Bob, way back,” says Curtin of Tiedemann, who passed away in 2006. The regatta was started in his honor in 2007, and has been run biennially since, with the exception of 2019. “He was one of the critical guys, like George Hill and Herb Marshall, that kept the whole 12 Metre fleet alive. I started out chartering, and it became contagious. In ’96, I bought Intrepid, and Bob and Elizabeth [Tiedemann] were incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about building out the class and having people participate. I thought it’d be a relatively short run, but here we still are.”

For many years, Curtin raced Intrepid, which won the America’s Cup in 1967 and 1970, in the Modern 12 Metre Division. But sailing the only wooden Modern—the other boats are newer and built of aluminum—and against crews that were increasingly more professional became less and less fun.


Austin Fragomen (third from the left) steered the 68-foot Blackwatch to victory in Class 2.
© Stuart Streuli


“My crew has been the basically the same crew, running all the way back before [the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England, in 2001],” says Curtin. “We just said, ‘You know what, we’re all getting old. I’m not going to get into an arms race on sails and equipment and refitting and all that.’ But we wanted to find a way to, as the guy said, keep the band together. So we pick three regattas a year. The whole group comes back, and we have three great weekends for sailing. And sometimes we do well, and sometimes we don’t. This weekend was a particularly good one for us.”

Racing against two other 12 Metres plus the 59-foot Hound and the 76-foot Wild Horses, Intrepid was impossible to catch, winning all four races to take Class 1 by four points over Hound, skippered by Dan Litchfield.

“We didn’t make many mistakes this weekend,” says Curtin. “The crew has been together a long time. We have two father-son combinations. It’s a family event. They are the most loyal, enthusiastic people, and I don’t pay them anything. I buy them foul-weather gear and shirts. But other than that, they come because they want to be together. And they come mostly because they want to be together. Sailing is important. But it’s not the primary reason. I think Bob would be very supportive of that.”

In Class 2, the winning boat, Black Watch, is a familiar name to classic yacht enthusiasts, but the skipper is not. Austin Fragomen is usually found sailing at the cutting edge of the sport on custom carbon fiber boats all named Interlodge. This season, Fragomen took advantage of the opportunity to join the syndicate that owns Black Watch, a 68-foot yawl.

“I’ve always really admired and liked classic yachts,” says Fragomen. “And any opportunity I had to support the different programs and boatbuilding or whatever, I always took. So it was something I was always interested in. I had the opportunity to become a member of a syndicate that owns Black Watch. She’s such as great old boat with a terrific history, a beautiful design. I’ve been really happy to be part of it.”

Black Watch won the two races on Saturday and then was able to hold off a hard charge from the 95-year-old 12 Metre Onawa, skippered by past New York Yacht Club Commodore Christopher J. Culver. The key race, says Fragomen, was the first race on Saturday, a 10-mile tour centered around Gould Island just north of the Pell Bridge. After two hours of sailing, in light winds and passing rain showers, the top three boats were separated by just seconds on corrected time, with Black Watch first, the legendary Dorade in second and Onawa third.

“They’re very competitive boats in the class, and the ratings seem to work very well,” says Fragomen. “We beat Onawa by 16 seconds on adjusted time in one race. They would have won the regatta but for those 16 seconds. It’s really close racing. That makes a lot of fun.”

In Class 3, the largest of the regatta with ten boats, it was Peter McClennen’s Gamecock that came out on top of a duel with Chris Bouzaid’s Bijou II. The two low-slung wooden sloops were all but impossible to beat in the light air. In Sunday’s deciding race, Gamecock finished just 13 seconds ahead of Bijou II on corrected time. In fact, in the three races Class 3 sailed, Bijou II and Gamecock were separated by just 51 seconds, total, of corrected time.

Gamecock topped the 10-boat Class 3.   © Stuart Streuli

In the S Class, which is one of the oldest active one-design classes in the world, it was Angus Davis’ Squaw that won the regatta, rebounding from a fifth in Race 1 to take the overall win by 2 points over Michael McCaffrey’s Osprey.

The next edition of the Robert H. Tiedemann Regatta is scheduled for the last weekend in June of 2025. For more information, visit■

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