A Gnarly Trip to New London


In the Cup Summer of 1964 I worked as crew for John Nicholas Brown aboard Volta. When one American Eagle crew member developed appendicitis, Mr. Brown volunteered my services as replacement crew. I was a fraction of the size of the crew I was replacing! This happened just shortly before the NYYC Annual Cruise, in which all of the 12 metres were expected to participate. The Cruise was to start in New London and on the day we were to be towed the weather turned foul. Our tender Active, however skillfully operated by owner Bill Stetson, was just not designed for this job. As we approached Race Rock, the wind, rain and foul tide worked at the flawed transom tow bit as a tail wagging a dog. The tender could not tow American Eagle away from Race Rock. We saw no choice but to cast off the tow line and set a staysail. Happily, we were able to sail away from danger. Once clear we transferred the tow line back on and completed the journey safely. –Stephen Lirakis