Author: Tom Darling

Yachting History

Story Boats: The Tales They Tell

By Tom Darling

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Great boats make great stories. Iconic small boats and the stories that launched them – that is the subject of the new exhibit, Story Boats, at Mystic Seaport Museum (MSM) opening May 28 in the Collins Gallery at the Thompson Exhibition building on the Museum campus in Mystic, CT. Just a few of more than 400 small boats at Mystic Seaport Museum   Story Boats: The Tales They Tell is the brainchild of MSM’s Senior Director of…

Yachting History

Carleton Mitchell and the Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling In the fall of 2020, we followed in the wake of an iconic yachtsman, photographer, raconteur, all-around waterman, and tropical sailing pioneer. That would be Carleton Mitchell, born in 1910, who filled the 20th century with the writing on sailing that defined the activity of “cruising.” “Mitch,” as his friends called him, was a modern day Odysseus; his quest was to show the West Indies, its water, its people, its boats, to a curious…

Racing

IC Classic: 88 Years of Winter Sailing at Larchmont Yacht Club

By Tom Darling

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Story & photos by Tom Darling   In this second pandemic winter, we rediscover the ultimate socially distanced outdoor recreation for sailors. That would be Frostbiting, or as they say on the Larchmont Yacht Club website, Winter Sailing. Emerging in the depths of the Great Depression, winter dinghy sailing consumed some of the greats of that time, including the inestimable Arthur Knapp, Jr., considered the godfather of winter sailing with his pipe and professorial approach to yachting….

Community

Herreshoff, Hickman and Hunt: 100 Years of the American Runabout

By Tom Darling

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Imagine this. You are looking at a boating industry magazine and see an article from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. It reads: “Powerboat sales are still booming in 2021. Retail unit sales of new powerboats in February 2021 were up 34% compared to the same period last year.” Everyone saw it. No one saw it coming: The Great Powerboat Drought of ’21. In the year of COVID, sales of small boats and engines were off the charts…

Community

An IOD Reborn

By Tom Darling

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Jim, Clem (and Tom’s) Wonderful IOD Adventure Story and photos by Tom Darling     I told him not to do it. In fact, I begged him to reconsider. In February 2021, my good sailing friend of forty years, Clem Wood, called to ask my opinion on his pending choice of a new boat for his Stonington, Connecticut syndicate to replace the J/70 that they’d sailed the prior six years. I had to bite my tongue. He…

Yachting History

A Century of Sixes

By Tom Darling

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In Oyster Bay, New York, in the basement of the oldest yacht club in America, born 1871, there is a vault. In that vault and on the paneled walls of that club is the history of the oldest, most venerable racing class on the continent, in photo and half model. The club is the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club. The class is the International Six Metre. From the 19th century roots of the boat that evolved into the…

The S & S Twins: Finisterre and Fidelio Part II: Finisterre and the American Centerboarder

By Tom Darling

In Part I, we introduced the “S & S Twins,” my name for the two Olin Stephens 39-foot designs, Finisterre and Fidelio. This month, we put into perspective what was so unique about this Sparkman & Stephens design, and what the meticulously maintained sistership is doing on her Maine home waters. Finisterre was the most famous offshore design of the 1950s, Carleton Mitchell’s S & S equivalent of what Dorade and Stormy Weather were to the young…

Racing

The S & S Twins: Finisterre and Fidelio

By Tom Darling

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Part I: Carleton Mitchell: John Muir of the Caribbean, Bermuda Race Legend By Tom Darling This is the tale of two boats: one famous, one not. For these two classic cousins, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is how the career of classic boats can be. One boat, the rock star design of the 1950s, was the winner of three successive Bermuda Races, a feat never done before or after….

Community

Model Classics, Instant Classic

By Tom Darling

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Radiosailing Takes Off with DragonFlite 95 at Nantucket Race Week 2020 By Tom Darling This piece brings you something old and something brand new, but both right in line with the sailing history of their day. In the deep summer of COVID, I stumbled into a mega-trend of sailors trying to figure out how to have fun with boats in the age of masks, social distancing, and PODS. It is sailing gone “small.” Bring your beach chair,…

Yachting History

Alerion: Past, Present and Future Perfect Part II: The Big Bird Rises: Alerion III Reborn in New England (1977 to present)

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling In Part I of this article (windcheckmagazine.com/article/alerion-past-present-and-future-part-1-whats-an-alerion-1913-1977-perfect/), we detailed the design and early history of Alerion III, Capt. Nathanael Herreshoff’s favorite of dozens of personal boats. When we left Captain Nat in the 1920s, he had retired to Florida in an Alerion derivative named Pleasure and spent his eighties going into the Great Depression. He was on the sidelines for the rise of the mighty J Boats, designed by new blood like Burgess and…

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