Lessons From 1983 America’s Cup
Hope everyone is getting through this rather unique summer without too much trouble…. We live in interesting times indeed.
But if you need to take your mind off of everything for awhile and learn a bit about long term strategies for improvement, tuning, campaign management and identifying strengths, weaknesses, victories and mistakes take a look at this article.
It is an interview with the late, great Tom Blackaller, one of the great personalities of sailing. He was loved or hated but never ignored. He could be verbose, in fact this interview is mostly “Blacky” doing the talking. The guy had no filter- he never pulled any punches when speaking and if he had an opinion on something, you were going to hear it! He was also an outspoken rival of Dennis Conner and had plenty to say about “Big Bad Dennis” as he called him.
The two locked horns on the race course many times over the years in several types of boats but the most public battles were during the 1983 and 1987 America’s Cup campaigns. Blackaller was the skipper of DEFENDER in ’83 and came back in ’87 with USA, an innovative 12 Meter with fore and aft rudders for lateral resistance and a giant lead torpedo on a strut for righting moment. They met Conner in the semi-finals but that’s another story…. Great book about that campaign here: https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Grinder-first-person-competing-Fremantle/dp/1469944006
Dennis Conner of course skippered LIBERTY in the summer of ’83 and took the Cup match to the bitter end against AUSTRALIA II. An amazing match to be sure and this interview offers a ton of insight into the techniques, politics, strategies, and everything else involved in the Cup defenses of the day. Interesting to see where things went right and where they went wrong….
Of course a lot of it will be relevant to any iceboater who wants to gain some insight about two-boat tuning and how to measure and make progress. Whether you want to do better on the race course or cruise farther and faster this article will help!
Click and enjoy America’s Cup: Looking back on 1983 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News Think Ice!!