Author: Tom Darling

Racing

IODs Fly Again at Fishers: Prelude to the 2022 Worlds

By Tom Darling

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In the spring of 2021, we embarked on a four-episode podcast tracing the development of the International Six Metre Class. The hubs of that furious design and competitive scene were Seawanhaka Corinthian and Larchmont Yacht Clubs in New York. The sailing characters included Briggs Cunningham, Herman Whiton, and many future 12 Metre skippers. We still get podcast listener comments today on those episodes; Sixes stories abound. The drama of the competition played out between designers young and…

Community

Collecting the Classics at the 50th Opera House Cup in Nantucket

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats On the PBS program Antiques Roadshow, the hosts consider things fifty years or older to be vintage, antique. Proud owners of boats over 50 think similarly. What about the regattas they compete in? On August 21 in Nantucket Sound, there will be a new “Antiques Sailshow,” a celebration of the 50th running of the Nantucket segment of the Classic Yacht Owners Association season. It is the 50th Opera House Cup…

Community

Story Boats: The Tales They Tell, Part II:

By Tom Darling

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The Song of the Solo Sailor By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats     What is it about the solo sailor that so captures the imagination of the ranks of normal sailors? Slocum. Chichester. Knox-Johnston. All have this mystique of man against the elements, alone. In curating Mystic Seaport Museum’s current exhibit, “Story Boats: The Tales They Tell,” Christina Brophy, Senior VP of Curatorial Affairs, ran her own “Maritime Idol” competition. Of the eighteen boats and…

Community

Signature Boats: A Senior Classic Goes to the Onion Patch

By Tom Darling

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By Tom Darling, Conversations with Classic Boats   In a typical Bermuda Race year, there is a small contingent of vintage boats, 50 years or older, who prepare for and participate in American offshore sailing’s Big Race. Many skippers opt for the Marion to Bermuda event, but Newport Bermuda is THE Bermuda Race. Back in 2020 it was Jesse Terry’s intention to do the Big One. He had worked on his boat, counted the screws in her…

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…

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