Charles Paine Burgess, University of Glasgow educated naval architect and aeronautic engineer – designer of the revolutionary aluminium rig for the 1930 (13th Cup match) J-Class America’s Cup defender Enterprise – and brother of America’s Cup designer Starling Burgess, once described designing for the America’s Cup as, “having the fascination of sin.”
With the turn of the year, the 34th match for the America’s Cup, to be sailed on the Bay of San Francisco in September, feels closer.
For those rebuilding badly bent boats – or building new ones from lessons learned – foil-borne multihulls that are pushing the boundaries of technology and sailing skills – it must feel scarily closer.
And the skulduggery has begun in earnest.
Of course such matters are nothing new, as Martin Black discusses in his richly illustrated and meticulously researched biography of America’s Cup designer George Lennox Watson, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design.
Stolen plans for the G.L. Watson designed challenger Valkyrie III turning up in New York in 1895; G.L. Watson designed challengers built under wraps at Partick and Dumbarton on the Clyde to avoid espionage, in 1887 (Thistle), and 1901 (Shamrock II); a nephew of Nathanael Herreshoff, the designer of the potential American defender, residing in the Firth of Clyde seaside town of Helensburgh during the winter of 1900/1901 – less than 10 miles from Dumbarton, where the G.L. Watson designed challenger Shamrock II was in build at Denny’s shipyard…
It’s all there in Martin Black exquisite book that is a fine gift or essential purchase for any America’s Cup enthusiast and participant.
For a finely written – as always – account of the sometimes stormy, but mostly very pleasant Irish interest in the America’s Cup, check out Winkie Nixon’s recent blog at Ireland Afloat Magazine.
Our title is also Irish, and even involves a character called Valkyrie. “… horror, comedy, mystery, romance and fantasy…” The 34th America’s Cup in a nutshell?