Saturday, August 21, 2010

America's Cup 1980

1980 brings ever increasing interest in the America's Cup. Ian Howlett, who has had an abiding interest in the meter rule since he was young, designs "Lionheart"; named after a contest in England. He had explored the rule extensively and came up with the bendy mast. This added unrated sail area.
    "France III" has her best showing ever, making to the Defender finals, losing to" Australia."
      "Clipper" designed by David Pedrick for Russell Long, probably needed more time to get the boat going fast. "Freedom" the last Successful Sparkman&Stephens 12 meter, again with small incremental changes, sailed by Dennis Connor. Dennis, with this challenge brought the America's Cup to a new level. He logged more hours of sailing in more conditions than anyone had previously done, leaving no part of the 12 meter rule unexplored. Truly a well prepared defense. "Freedom" almost unbeatable in the trials; becoming the defender against "Australia" designed by Ben Lexan and Johan Valentijn  winning 4 to 1 in the races themselves.
      A new benchmark was set, and the course to where the America's Cup is today was launched.
    My involvement in the America's Cup finished in 1979 after Gerry Driscoll could not raise money to bring "Intrepid" back again. I was fully involved in Lirakis Safety Harness, and in fact stopped sailing altogether in 1980 until 2001, for the America's Cup Jubilee.

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