Three years ago, in an effort to defend the America's Cup, a group of U.S. yachtsmen commissioned a boat that was later described as 'the ultimate' in 12-meter design. Now, faced with another challenge, the U.S. has bought herself a still newer 12 that many hope will prove even more ultimate than the ultimate. Artist Donald Moss watched much of the building of this ultraultimate craft at a New York City yacht yard. North American Sailing Champion William Cox observed her first performance in competition. Their initial impressions, artistic and expert, are recorded on these and the following six pages.
like those of all but one of the last four cup defenders, were conceived in the brain of Yacht Designer Olin Stephens. International racing's most successful architect spent close to two years refining the plans for what became known as Hull No. 75 and tank-testing the results before he settled on the final unique two-ruddered vessel shown here.
MAKING PLANS COME TO LIFE
is the special genius of Nils Halversen, the layout foreman who has supervised the translation of many of Stephens' designs into reality on the lofting floor. It was the lofting department's Job to see that the patterns for all the parts of "Intrepid's" complex 64-foot frame were laid out full scale to the most exacting tolerances so that the blueprints would precisely match the completed 12-meter.
MORE THAN 20 TONS OF LEAD
were molded into a carefully shaped mass to form the ballast keel of the new boat. Once the lead was lowered into place under the supervision of Phil Gauss, longtime general manager of New York's famed Minneford Yacht Yard, construction proper began. The curious dinosaur-shaped piece of laminated mahogany that appears about to be bolted to the keel is called the "horn timber."
MANY SKILLED ARTISANS
were required to perform the tricky and arduous tasks of putting the new hull together. Their scraping, planing, painting, filling and bolting were constantly supervised not only by yard foremen and representatives of Sparkman & Stephens but by an official measurer and a man from Lloyd's Register who were watchdogging construction details.
AN 87-FOOT MAST
was carefully stepped in the hull to complete the new 12 as Engineer Don Wakeman and Syndicate Representative Paul Coble lent a hand. It was one of two flexible spars that were built for "Intrepid" on the West Coast. The other, being tested for the first time, broke in two in a light breeze during a relatively quiet sail on Long Island Sound last week.
SAILS BY TED HOOD
have become in recent years a sine qua non of cup defense. Even the Australian challenger, "Gretel," came to Newport five years ago wearing sails woven and cut by then 35-year-old Hood. A new ruling prevents the Aussies from using U.S. sailcloth, but the Americans aboard "Intrepid" will sail with new Hoods for maximum speed.
WITH PROPER FANFARE
and a bottle of champagne that characteristically declined to shatter, the brand-new 12-meter was dropped overboard as Minneford Yacht Yard President Henry Sayers smiled happily at a job well done. But "Intrepid's" own job—that of earning the right over other U.S. contenders to defend against the Australians—was just beginning.
SEVEN PHOTO MONTAGES