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The America’s Cup 36 recently over and the opinions varied with just who was the better skipper, talk of the faster boat always wins and what if Burling and Spithill swapped boats it got me to thinking, just who is the best or greatest America’s Cup skipper of all time, not just AC36. 

How would you measure “The Greatest”. Total race wins – and do you make that gross or net? Then you have the problem that not all matches were the first to the same number of wins. 3, 3, 5,7 or 9 have all been the number of race victories required to lift the Auld Mug at the end of the day. SO it has to be the number of America’s Cup Match wins? Again gross or net? 

History will always remember the ultimate victors and in the America’s Cup there is only a handful of skippers who have risen to the dizzy heights of 3 America’s Cup.

So who are the contenders?

First of all was Charlie Barr, and he certainly set the bar (sorry) high for those following him.

His first involvement in The Cup was sailing with his brother on Thistle, the Royal Clyde Challenger in 1887. Obviously unsuccessfully but Charlie Barr stayed on in the USA, became known as a skipper of note and importantly a naturalized American citizen.

He defended the Cup in 1899,1901 &1903, notably in 1901 for the second time on the same boat, one of the rare occasions a yacht has defended the cup twice.

Following on from Captain Barr was perhaps the last of the owner drivers in Harold Vanderbilt, latest it that family’s line of AC defender’s owners. He spent a considerable amount of his or his families money in defending the Cup in 1930 )Enterprise); 1934 (Rainbow); and 1937 (Ranger). He also gave us the “Vanderbilt Start” and the “Vanderbilt Rules” which were not a  million miles from what we race with today.

Then along came the war and various challengers and defenders until in 1977 Ten Turner defended the Cup with a certain Dennis Conner beside him. Conner went on to win the Cup in 1980 only to lose it in 1983 to Australia 2. Not being one to give up easily we chased the Cup down to its new home in Perth, Western Australia and promptly won it back in 1987.

He won the Cup for the third time in the infamous Deed of Gift match against New Zealand’s Big boat, turning up in a catamaran with his rather ungracious comment at the end of the day “I bought a cat to the fight but you brought a dog.” Perhaps the clearest example of the faster boat winning but perhaps not the best example of sportsmanship the Cup has ever seen.

That leaves just one final 3 times winner as skipper – enter Russell Coutts, now Sir Russell.

Ask any Kiwi what they think of Russell and you will get one of two diametrically opposed views. Either he was the hero that brought the Cup to New Zealand or the guy who sold out to Alinghi a few cycles later. I am not a Kiwi so have no opinion one way or the other.

He first won as skipper under the leadership of Sir Peter Blake skippering Black Magic in the famous ‘Red Socks’ campaign of 1995. He defended for Team New Zealand in 2000 before moving to Swiss team Alinghi to win in 2003.

Some would count Oracle’s victories, where Coutts served as CEO, in 2010 & 2013 as part of his tally but he wasn’t on the boat so he joins the other three on three America’s Cup wins as skipper.

So, just who is the greatest? Well, I have to admit to a little bot of bias (perhaps). When I was getting not sailing, my dad who was born in Greenock on the Clyde took great delight to tell me about Captain Charlie Barr born in the neighboring town of Gourock which partially ignited my interest in the America’s Cup at that early age.

However one can add to that judgement the fact that on practically everyone’s lips is the maxim “The Fastest Boat will Always Win the America’s Cup. Really?

In 1903, Barr was skipper of Columbia for the second time up against a newer faster boat in the defender trials yet his skill and rules knowledge meant the older slower boat prevailed providing one of the oldest disproves of that expression.

That for me tips the balance, the better skipper beat the better boat. Bedsides he was the one that set the benchmark and until Jimmy Spithill came along was the only non American born skipper to defend the Cup for America.

Undefeated and for good measure then took the schooner Atlantic across the Atlantic Ocean setting a record time for the crossing that (for monohulls) stood for over 90 years.

Others may disagree. Would love to hear your reckoning.

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Great research......and there I was thinking that only 2 skippers had won the AC 3 times (Coutts and Connor)

Add Charlie Barr and Vanderbilt to that list.

Its impossible to compare across the ages.  I think the greatest sailors are determined in one design classes where it is all the sailor.  But your question was about greatest skipper......which to me means that you contributed to the victory beyond just having the fastest boat and beyond just the sailing skills.

That leans me towards Russel who won at the helm 3 times and then won again 2 times as CEO of a team.  

Dennis won 3 times and he was clearly skipper, principal and manager of the team.......raising the funding and selecting the team.  

Im going with Russell on instinct.

I think Russell would probably out sail Dennis and Charlie if they were all the same age and put in an identical boat.  I think he would pull together the best team as a skipper.  But its gut. Charlie B was obviously way ahead of his time.

 

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Love him or loath him, I think it's gotta be Coutts.

DC's loss in '83 puts him behind Coutts. Barr did not have to go through challenger series, nor win as many races in each campaign, and he defended from a position of significant relative strength (NYYC having successfully defended 9 times before Barr won with Columbia in 1899). For me, that puts Coutts' nearly impeccable record ahead.   

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Barr was a pioneer as one of the first professional yacht racers. By the way - we think that hired guns are new in the Cup, but back then many of the American campaigns were Scottish-crewed. In an effort to respond to criticism (everything old is new again) and have an "All American" crew, the 1895 and 1899 campaigns were crewed by lobstermen from Deer Isle, Maine. "Deer Isle's Undefeated America's Cup Crews" is a really nice, short Kindle read if you want to know more.

I have to say Coutts, though. The thing Coutts has that Barr doesn't is that two of his three Cups were won as the challenger, and he started his run by knocking off the former standard-bearer in Conner.

Lots of respect to Turner, though. The last Corinthian to win as a helmsman in an age when professionalism (or at least sailors from the marine industry) was rapidly becoming the norm. By the way, if I understand correctly Conner wasn't on the boat in '77 for the win - he was Turner's tactician in '74 for his first (unsuccessful) defense campaign. Jobson called tactics in '77.

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14 minutes ago, Sean said:

Charlie Barr hands down. He was a legend in his own time.

Here’s what The NY Times had to say upon his passing - https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1911/01/25/104818034.pdf

 

Don't under estimate the organizing and the tactical skill of campaigning one of the 90' Cup racers of the 1890s. Captain Barr was not just at the pinnacle of this, he didn't even have any serious rivals.

He supervised the recruiting and training of the crew, discussed technical details of the vessel and design with N.G.Herreshoff (himself an outstanding genius of his generation), and then skippered the vessels while maintaining the proper social relationship with often-prickly owners.

About the Deer Isle crews- none of them would have had experience with anything like sailing a Cup racer before actually being selected to be on a crew... they got thru being known to prior crew bosses, having an incredible work ethic and absolute attention to detail. Just wanted to dampen the idea that somehow commercial fishermen grew up knowing how handle hollow-sparred skimming dishes..... one point to remember about those boats is that they were the highest horsepower-to-weight machines mankind had yet assembled and it was usual for them to outrun steamships and speedboats of the day; there were occasionally spectacular failures and more than one fatality, sailing them.

The main accomplishment that Coutts has over Barr, IMHO, is that he won the Cup as a challenger which is a slightly tougher row to hoe.

FB- Doug

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4 hours ago, Editor said:

“I bought a cat to the fight but you brought a dog.”

My pick is Dennis after losing the Cup in 83 then winning it in 87 quite some achievement in my books.

Ed the DC retort was “I’m sailing a cat somebody else is sailing a dog”.

 

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51 minutes ago, Sean said:

Charlie Barr hands down. He was a legend in his own time.

Here’s what The NY Times had to say upon his passing - https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1911/01/25/104818034.pdf

 

Certainly a standout of his time. However, another advantage that Barr had over Coutts and DC was that at the time he raced, the DoG still required challengers to sail to the port of the race.     

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1 minute ago, Will_Co said:

Certainly a standout of his time. However, another advantage that Barr had over Coutts and DC was that at the time he raced, the DoG still required challengers to sail to the port of the race.     

Agreed. However, if you look at the entirety of Barr’s career, he was without question the best sailor of his time including non A/C events. 

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We’re looking for a single person, right? Well, I think they’re hard to find these days. Or they might be someone no one thinks of. (The real ”hero” of the recent winning Team NZ might by an unknown computer-yada-yada-scientist.) I think we’ll have to go back to people like Ted Hood (designer, sailmaker, helmsman) or Pelle Petterson (designer and helmsman of the Swedish contender ”Sverige” in 1977 and 1980). 

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Im going to go with Coutts, although I agree we are comparing three very different generations.

  • Barr was obviously head and shoulders above the other professional skippers of his era. 
  • Connor was the dominant force in the 12 meter era. This was an era when you had to win defender series in order to defend . Dennis won no less than 3 defender series in addition to winning the cup as both defender and challenger 3 times.  .  Freemantle was probably his crowning achievement. In Australia in 1987, he had to defeat 12 challengers which (I think) is the largest challenger fleet of all time.  Then in the Luis Vuitton Cup final he came up against New Zealand (Again! Damn these kiwis are always in this thing) in KZ7.  KZ 7 had won an incredible 37 out of 38 races up to this point, in the round robin and the semi finals. This included beating Connor and Stars and Stripes twice when they met in the round robin.  But Dennis found an extra gear to win the LV series. The race that Dennis lost, race #3, was remarkable for DC's tenacity throwing in a tacking duel on the 2nd windward leg which comprised 55 tacks. I am almost certain that remains a record for the AC which will never be broken.  In my mind the LV final was the real final. The actual cup was a sweep to Dennis 4:0.  So when you contemplate that Dennis won 3 defender series, 1 DoG match and 1 Challenger series....that is a lot of America's Cup success. In the 12 meter era, he does stand supreme and he was the last of the quasi amateurs.
  • Coutts came to the fore when the level of competition was increasing.  I think his achievements stand out because success followed him through 3 different syndicates.  Although it was sad for NZ when he went to Switzerland and Alleghi, it did demonstrate that he could build a team from zero and win the cup on its first attempt ...although Brad Butterworth should get a lot of credit for that as well.  (Should Brad be on some sort of list as a nominee.....winning tactician in 2000, 2003 and 2007 with 2 different helms)

When it comes down to it I lean to Russell but I feel you are comparing three giants from the ground, its hard from down here to see who is the tallest!

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2 hours ago, Will_Co said:

Certainly a standout of his time. However, another advantage that Barr had over Coutts and DC was that at the time he raced, the DoG still required challengers to sail to the port of the race.     

Yep

Lipton's challengers were towed (although they did sail at least a little during the voyage), his and the ones right before (Dunraven iirc) then offloaded everything including cabin furniture, put on new taller spars, and of course used new (bigger) sails to fit.

Doesn't seem like they lost much.

FB- Doug

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6 hours ago, Will_Co said:

Love him or loath him, I think it's gotta be Coutts.

DC's loss in '83 puts him behind Coutts. Barr did not have to go through challenger series, nor win as many races in each campaign, and he defended from a position of significant relative strength (NYYC having successfully defended 9 times before Barr won with Columbia in 1899). For me, that puts Coutts' nearly impeccable record ahead.   

Although Charlie Barr didn't have to go through a challenger series he did have to go through defender selection trials when in the second defence of the trophy he went through those trials in an older slower boat

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Seems to me this is like discussing who's the best driver in f1. When it's nigh impossible to disentangle boat performance from skipper/crew performance, it's a bit futile to make assertions about whos "greatest"

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4 hours ago, Mid said:

John Bertrand celebrates America’s Cup glory in 1983.

 

Ozzie , Ozzie , Ozzie 

Oui ,Oui, Oui

:P

If it were not just a numbers game John Bertrand would be another personal favourite. He took a team and national effort that had taken a kicking and built a group of men who really believed in themselves. His book "Born to Win" is a study of, not only winning a yacht race, but of management style. There is a mini-series called "The Challenge" which is up on youtube. It is obviously dramatized but on reading other sources many of the events portrayed actually happened. Quality is a bit lower than we are used to these days (it was made 30 odd years ago.)  

 

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5 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Don't under estimate the organizing and the tactical skill of campaigning one of the 90' Cup racers of the 1890s. Captain Barr was not just at the pinnacle of this, he didn't even have any serious rivals.

He supervised the recruiting and training of the crew, discussed technical details of the vessel and design with N.G.Herreshoff (himself an outstanding genius of his generation), and then skippered the vessels while maintaining the proper social relationship with often-prickly owners.

About the Deer Isle crews- none of them would have had experience with anything like sailing a Cup racer before actually being selected to be on a crew... they got thru being known to prior crew bosses, having an incredible work ethic and absolute attention to detail. Just wanted to dampen the idea that somehow commercial fishermen grew up knowing how handle hollow-sparred skimming dishes..... one point to remember about those boats is that they were the highest horsepower-to-weight machines mankind had yet assembled and it was usual for them to outrun steamships and speedboats of the day; there were occasionally spectacular failures and more than one fatality, sailing them.

The main accomplishment that Coutts has over Barr, IMHO, is that he won the Cup as a challenger which is a slightly tougher row to hoe.

FB- Doug

"the highest horsepower-to-weight machines mankind had yet assembled and it was usual for them to outrun steamships and speedboats of the day"

So in many ways they were the AC75s of their day. 

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I had forgotten John Bertrand's book. Ordered one, not the one for $800 on Amazon. I always liked him, smart man. Hope he's doing ok.

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6 hours ago, Sean said:

Charlie Barr hands down. He was a legend in his own time.

Here’s what The NY Times had to say upon his passing - https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1911/01/25/104818034.pdf

 

Thanks for posting - what a career. I doubt if any skipper before or since had such a winning record

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13 minutes ago, NeedAClew said:

I had forgotten John Bertrand's book. Ordered one, not the one for $800 on Amazon. I always liked him, smart man. Hope he's doing ok.

Not easy to find these days - I am on my 3rd version. I stupidly lent the 2 previous ones out and then forgot who to. This (third) one stays in my library.  

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4 hours ago, Rennmaus said:

Coutts, as an allrounder, helmsman, skipper, CEO, gold medallist. 

He only failed as a promoter, nobody is perfect. 

Failed for being a traitorous prick too Rennie.

Although I'm not sure he has really failed as a promotor.

The problem IMO isn't that he hasn't been good at promoting sailing, but rather that sailing as a sport is simply too niche to support the same sort of professional competition such as Formula 1 etc.

Despite all the bullshit whinging from many people on here (many who let's be honest, were Kiwis), I thought Bermuda was a brilliantly run cup. The natural amphitheatre, the facilities, media, etc were all magnificent.

So perhaps his failure as a promotor is that he hasn't realized that the sport lacks the audience to generate the revenues sufficient to enable his vision to come to fruition?

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1 hour ago, shanghaisailor said:

"the highest horsepower-to-weight machines mankind had yet assembled and it was usual for them to outrun steamships and speedboats of the day"

So in many ways they were the AC75s of their day. 

That was kind of my point

We see them as dinosaurian clunkers... they were fuckin' gaff rigged fer gosh sake! But the materials... advanced metal alloys including in "wire rope" (a phrase that sounds even more quaint than "radio-telephone"), multiple speed winches, hydraulics... I think it was RELIANCE that had a system to pump water in or out of the rudder to help balance the helm...

Express trains were faster, but these 90ft LWL Cup racers hit the high teens regularly in an era when the Blue Ribband winner, and the Navy's fastest torpedo-boat destroyers (another quaint phrase from bygone era), were barely a tick or two faster, if at all. It was a common complaint that they easily outran the excursion steamers that took paying (and betting) customers out to see the spectacle.

It would be a very interesting situation, to bring Charlie Barr and Russell Coutts and a few of the other top sailors (I'm a fan of Paul Elvstrom & Jochen Schuman, myself) together to race in some radical cutting-edge kid of boat unfamiliar to all. Come to think of it, I bet they'd all enjoy it too

FB- Doug

 

 

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34 minutes ago, jaysper said:

Failed for being a traitorous prick too Rennie.

Although I'm not sure he has really failed as a promotor.

The problem IMO isn't that he hasn't been good at promoting sailing, but rather that sailing as a sport is simply too niche to support the same sort of professional competition such as Formula 1 etc.

Despite all the bullshit whinging from many people on here (many who let's be honest, were Kiwis), I thought Bermuda was a brilliantly run cup. The natural amphitheatre, the facilities, media, etc were all magnificent.

So perhaps his failure as a promotor is that he hasn't realized that the sport lacks the audience to generate the revenues sufficient to enable his vision to come to fruition?

Interesting just saw via Twitter of all things that LE via his Tako Ventures is a UFC investor/owner via Endeavor private placement https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-31/entertainment-company-endeavor-files-for-ipo-after-2019-flop

Endeavor rings a bell for me wrt SGP, they were the ones bought a share of SGP lasty ear valuing it at $200m.  https://sailgp.com/news/sailgp-sells-minority-stake-to-endeavor/

Keiretsu, anyone? Or just self dealing? 

Is RC training for better things, expected to turn SGP into UFC or what? 

Maybe the AC is a fallback plan for RC after Dalts retiress.

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9 minutes ago, NeedAClew said:

Interesting just saw via Twitter of all things that LE via his Tako Ventures is a UFC investor/owner via Endeavor private placement https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-31/entertainment-company-endeavor-files-for-ipo-after-2019-flop

Endeavor rings a bell for me wrt SGP, they were the ones bought a share of SGP lasty ear valuing it at $200m.  https://sailgp.com/news/sailgp-sells-minority-stake-to-endeavor/

Keiretsu, anyone? Or just self dealing? 

Is RC training for better things, expected to turn SGP into UFC or what? 

Maybe the AC is a fallback plan for RC after Dalts retiress.

Remember A1GP? Probably had a decent valuation for a while.

Theranos peaked at $10 Billion before falling to zero and WeWork peaked at $47 Billion but now has a (overly optimistic IMO) current valuation of $2.9 Billion.

I'm not genuinely putting SailGP in the same category as Theranos, but rather pointing out that IPOs and placements are often wildly over optimistic based on the hype machine 

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I think one of the best is truly Kevin Shoebridge. The guy has flown under the radar, has won the Whitbread twice on Steinlager 2 and NZ Endeavour, and the Americas Cup 4 times. He's a proven leader, and a respected team builder and member. He knows, and has what it takes to win.

"Shoeb" has managed to maintain relationships with the best. Peter Blake, Russell Coutts, Grant Dalton, and even guys like Ashby and Burling and Tuke.

Though there's a lot of high profile names that people always talk about... Barr, Coutts, Blake, Spithill, Burling etc, but Shoebridge has to be up there with the best.

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2 hours ago, Forourselves said:

I think one of the best is truly Kevin Shoebridge. The guy has flown under the radar, has won the Whitbread twice on Steinlager 2 and NZ Endeavour, and the Americas Cup 4 times. He's a proven leader, and a respected team builder and member. He knows, and has what it takes to win.

"Shoeb" has managed to maintain relationships with the best. Peter Blake, Russell Coutts, Grant Dalton, and even guys like Ashby and Burling and Tuke.

Though there's a lot of high profile names that people always talk about... Barr, Coutts, Blake, Spithill, Burling etc, but Shoebridge has to be up there with the best.

Greatest skippers not crew members Four.
Kevin Shoebridge never skippered a AC challenge or defence.

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4 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

That was kind of my point

We see them as dinosaurian clunkers... they were fuckin' gaff rigged fer gosh sake! But the materials... advanced metal alloys including in "wire rope" (a phrase that sounds even more quaint than "radio-telephone"), multiple speed winches, hydraulics... I think it was RELIANCE that had a system to pump water in or out of the rudder to help balance the helm...

Express trains were faster, but these 90ft LWL Cup racers hit the high teens regularly in an era when the Blue Ribband winner, and the Navy's fastest torpedo-boat destroyers (another quaint phrase from bygone era), were barely a tick or two faster, if at all. It was a common complaint that they easily outran the excursion steamers that took paying (and betting) customers out to see the spectacle.

It would be a very interesting situation, to bring Charlie Barr and Russell Coutts and a few of the other top sailors (I'm a fan of Paul Elvstrom & Jochen Schuman, myself) together to race in some radical cutting-edge kid of boat unfamiliar to all. Come to think of it, I bet they'd all enjoy it too

FB- Doug

 

 

Oh, i got your point Doug, but so many people don't. These 'Big Boat' racers were definitely as "out there" in their day as the foiling cats in San Francisco were and definitely on a par with the current AC75 and they generated the same sorts of problems - how do chase boats keep up (or not) and for the spectators similar problems now having to be solved with a custom camera boat and a couple of helos. The good news is that Sir Ben Ainslie has recently gone on record saying he would like these to be the AC class for the next 10 years - all the more relevant in his position as CoR team principal. 

And as for your comment about being able to bring the greats together? Oh for a time machine, that would settle the discussion once and for all.

I know the 'torpedo boat destroyer' name well as my old club in Scotland is based in a marina which used to be a Roya Navy torpedo boat destroyer base. In fact our clubhouse (almost a glorified wooden shed but it served very well)which has just been demolished to make way for a new one was built in WW1 as a temporary Officer's Mess -  a whole different meaning to 'temporary'- it lasted a little over 100 years.   

On your final point "If in winning a race you lose the respect of your fellow competitors etc etc" is one of the most profound pieces of philosophy applicable to any sport.

He maybe has one less silver medal than Sir Ben but he was more than just a medal count.

See ya on the water.

SS

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4 hours ago, Priscilla said:

Greatest skippers not crew members Four.
Kevin Shoebridge never skippered a AC challenge or defence.

Neither did Tom Schnakenburg, but he is one of the greatest.

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Coutts Connor Charlie Cornelius

All 4 of them won the cup 3 times.  All 4 of them had a profound impact on the cup or sailing beyond judt their sailing prowess

Its a draw 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Editor said:

barr-281x300.jpg

 

In 1903, Barr was skipper of Columbia for the second time up against a newer faster boat in the defender trials yet his skill and rules knowledge meant the older slower boat prevailed providing one of the oldest disproves of that expression.

That for me tips the balance, the better skipper beat the better boat. Bedsides he was the one that set the benchmark and until Jimmy Spithill came along was the only non American born skipper to defend the Cup for America.

Undefeated and for good measure then took the schooner Atlantic across the Atlantic Ocean setting a record time for the crossing that (for monohulls) stood for over 90 years.

Others may disagree. Would love to hear your reckoning.

You've got your years slightly  out of whack on this one. As you pointed out earlier, Barr won with Columbia in 1899 and 1901. In 1903, he won with Reliance.

It's really hard to make inter-generational comparisons here, because it the combination of men and machine that wins, at the end of the day. The guy who won sailing the massive cutters would have been lost on a foiler, and the foiling skipper might have the wrong skillset for a 150-tonn gaff sloop.

Rather than specify the single greatest of all time, you've specified great candidates to share the top of the podium. We also have plenty of younger candidates who are currently elbowing their way to the top.

This is a story still being written.

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9 hours ago, Forourselves said:

Neither did Tom Schnakenburg, but he is one of the greatest.

You had better go start a Who is the most greatest winningest team member to not helm a successful AC Campaign thread.

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3 hours ago, Stingray~ said:

If you narrow the question to ‘who is the most successful helm over the past two foiling cups’ then clearly it’s Pete. 

Naturally although how much of that is the wider team needs to be considered.

In terms of all time, it is Coutts IMO.

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50 minutes ago, jaysper said:

Naturally although how much of that is the wider team needs to be considered.

In terms of all time, it is Coutts IMO.

Agreed that Coutts had wider perspective and control than what Pete’s likely more-focused and specialized role has been, so far. 
 

Love or hate them, RC has also been the choice go-to guy for big $B’s that include Ernesto and Larry. Those relationships have IMO had a profound impact on vast amounts of $M’s being dumped into sailing. 

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On 4/5/2021 at 8:27 AM, Stingray~ said:

Agreed that Coutts had wider perspective and control than what Pete’s likely more-focused and specialized role has been, so far. 
 

Love or hate them, RC has also been the choice go-to guy for big $B’s that include Ernesto and Larry. Those relationships have IMO had a profound impact on vast amounts of $M’s being dumped into sailing. 

You say "include Ernesto & Larry". That suggests there are/were others when in fact that is the entire list. 

Don't think for a moment that Coutts introduced big money into the America's Cup. Charlie Barr was paid $2,965.75 in wages plus a $1,000 win bonus IN 1899

While sailors were not paid the rock star wages the top guys can earn today, Captain Barr picked up (inflation adjusted) around $125,000 in today's money and then there were the 20+ crew to pay for so hardly a pauper's game back then.

Big money being 'dumped' into sailing is not exactly a new phenomenon and I really don't think two ego driven billionaires are solely responsible for the money spent on sailing today. TP52s, Maxis, Vendee Globe campaigns, the Whitbread/Volvo? Just a few examples of sailing where millions are often 'dumped into sailing' and most pre-date Russell Coutts.   

I am sure however he has been very good at dumping vast amounts into his own pocket along the way although there is nothing wrong with that.

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1 hour ago, shanghaisailor said:

While sailors were not paid the rock star wages the top guys can earn today, Captain Barr picked up (inflation adjusted) around $125,000 in today's money and then there were the 20+ crew to pay for so hardly a pauper's game back then.

Tommy Sopwith had 90 crew on the books with the Endeavour I and Endeavour II tilt for the AC 1937 campaign previously having lost 15 out of 23 of his professional crew in 1934 in a dispute over wages and left Blighty with a predominantly amateur crew which couldn't cut the mustard for the 1934 AC.

He seems to talk glowingly of his 1937 crew though.

Endeavour I was lost in a storm whilst being towed home from America after the 1937 campaign where she was the trial horse for Endeavour II given up for lost she eventually made it back to Blighty by sail.

Section of the tow rope that parted.

 

TM2_IMG_3698.jpeg.ccb12285bfae9a3a8dd72a98a7b2bcf3.jpeg

 

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Just strikes me that the same billionaire spending many hundreds of millions on sailing is described as "dumping money" sometimes and "largesse" other times. Lol.

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