Author: Tom Darling

Yachting History

A Women’s College Sailing Dynasty

By Tom Darling

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Reliving the Past in Intercollegiate Sailing We learned in the recent streaming series on the New England Patriots, “The Dynasty,” that a true dynasty team needed to have at least three successive championships in four attempts to be described with the D-word. The 1960s Boston Celtics, the ‘80s LA Lakers, and ‘90s Chicago Bulls come to mind. In the mid-1970s, in the very early days of Women’s intercollegiate sailing, one team made that grade and went one…

Museums

A Gam with Two Curators, Part II

By Tom Darling

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Interview by Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats, “the Podcast that Talks to Boats” Last month, we opened this gam – that’s whaling talk for a social conversation at sea – with whom I consider the top curator minds at Northeast marine museums. Christina Connett Brophy (CB), Senior VP of Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT, and Evelyn Ansel (EA), Curator of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in my old homeport of Bristol, RI, follow up this month…

A Gam with Two Curators

By Tom Darling

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This month we continue our series of what we call gams. That’s a whaling term for conversations, and we’re speaking with the curators of what I consider the most important marine museums in America, if not the world. Christina Brophy is Senior VP of Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT, and Evelyn Ansel is Curator of the Herreshoff Marine Museum, the flagship attraction in my old hometown, Bristol, RI.   TD: Hello to both you, and thanks…

Classic Conversations

Two WindCheck Vets Have a Gam

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats Ever wonder what seasoned amateur marine writers do in their free time? More often than not, they are having a “gam,” somewhere, anywhere. For those of you not conversant in whaling terminology, a gam was a timeout at sea, an opportunity to sit around and shoot the breeze. In his novel Moby-Dick, Melville brought this seagoing social media format to life in chapter 53, defining it thusly: “Gam (noun) –…

Racing

College Sailing Goes Offshore – 1928 to 2024

By Tom Darling

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Keelboat racing was the original form of intercollegiate sailing. From the McMillan Cup, first sailed in 1928 and formalized in 1930 as a quasi-national championship for college big boat crews, sprung a small number of spinoff events like the Kennedy Cup. Focused on the larger offshore keelboat fleets of the service academies, this form of intercollegiate big boat sailing was mega one-design competition. In the 1970s, that offshore schedule expanded with events like the Corinthians, rebranded in…

Conversations with Classic Boats

A Champion Forever

By Tom Darling

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Betsy Alison and 38 Years in Modern Women’s Sailing By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats In last month’s WindCheck, we interviewed our old friend and Princeton classmate Marilee Allan. From a Southern California sailing family, Marilee anchored the team that won the 1974 Women’s Intercollegiate Championship and went on to win them through 1977. She was a pioneer who along with her Newport Beach neighbor, the late Nina Nielsen, were the first female inductees into the…

Community

Marilee Allan: Women’s College Sailing Pioneer

By Tom Darling

Women racing sailboats isn’t new. The picture on the cover of Mystic Seaport Museum’s book on women and boating, On Land and On Sea, depicts the wife of an English lord at the helm of a massive J boat. In barely two generations from that time, women’s sailing has catapulted to an international sport across hundreds of countries. In the next two issues, we’ll present a few moments in time over the last fifty years of women’s…

Yachting History

Club Classic Keelboats: From the NY 40 to the Ideal 18

By Tom Darling

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In the Gilded Age, gentlemen sailors looked to designers like Herreshoff, Crane and Burgess for their custom sailing yachts. As the 20th century unfolded, however, a new age design emerged, that of the semi-custom keelboat, purchased by like-minded sailors interested in competing in fleets as one-designs. We call it the “Club Classic Keelboat.” The idea of designing a boat to a single design or class was a 20th century phenomenon. When young Clinton Crane was commissioned in…

Yachting History

A Busman’s Tour of this Summer’s Boating Museums

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats I have been accumulating my travel notes over the past six months of crisscrossing New England and present this Baedeker of my favorite nautical museum venues present and future. These collections are as classic as their contents. From the 2022 opening of The Sailing Museum in Newport, RI to the exciting prospect of a dramatic new home for the watercraft collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum, there has never been…

Community

Maverick Marketing: Bob Johnstone Writes the Book

By Tom Darling

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I recently had a gam with the co founder of J Boats, the company that launched 16,000 boats beginning 1977. I listened to him spin me the history behind his dedication to performance boating. I knew that already. But how many 80-somethings write a memoir and go on the road to promote it? He is Bob Johnstone, and he is a brand new author. His book is a memoir called Maverick Marketer: Time to Get Creative. Published…

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