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ESPN 30 for 30: Ted Turner's Greatest Race


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One thing I learned, which I had no idea about, is that Christian Williams was crewing for Ted.  

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1 hour ago, OneWorldSailing said:

Does anyone know if Tenacious is still around?

From (courtesy of) Soundings, 2006:

Boatyard refits a classic sail-racer

SOUNDINGS EDITORS - APR 5, 2006


Tenacious, the 61-foot Sparkman & Stephens made famous when media mogul Ted Turner sailed her to victory in the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race, was recently in Connecticut being refitted for her new owner, Jan de Vires.

Tenacious, the 61-foot Sparkman & Stephens made famous when media mogul Ted Turner sailed her to victory in the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race, was recently in Connecticut being refitted for her new owner, Jan de Vires. The work was done at Brewer Pilots Point Marina in Westbrook.

“She needed some work, but I bought her because of her design and her history; for her comfort and speed,” de Vires says. The 60-year-old Dutch doctor and sailor plans on racing Tenacious in Fastnet 2009, the 30th anniversary of her fateful win.

While at Pilots Point, Tenacious was handled by a crew that has extensive experience with the boat. Rives Potts, general manager of the marina, says Tenacious’ owners have sailed her to Pilots Point for periodic “tune-ups” for more than two decades.

“Tenacious has been brought to us every three or four years for work,” Rives says. “It’s sort of been a cycle. When [Turner] owned her, he’d come here. When Warren owned her, he’d bring her here, too.”

Warren Brown, a Bermudan expedition sailor and Tenacious’ owner after Turner, brought the sailboat to Pilots Point in September for repairs. Potts says Brown owned Tenacious (although he renamed her War Baby) for 23 years. During that time he sailed her on numerous Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and is noted for having set the Marion-Bermuda Race record with her in 1989.


But, Potts says, Brown was forced to sell his beloved sailboat.

“He sold the boat against his will,” Rives explains. “His health hasn’t been so good and his family has strongly suggested he sell her. The boat has been for sale, on and off again, for a number of years.”

Once Brown found a suitable new owner for Tenacious, Potts and his team went to work. They revamped the electrical and mechanical systems, having removed three 90-gallon barrels of dead wiring. They installed new refrigeration, heating and cooking systems, removed the generator, repaired the 85-horsepower Perkins 236, cleaned the water and fuel tanks and went over the rigging. They also re-welded plates in the boat’s aluminum hull.

“Our guys are real familiar with the boat and we were given control to do what we thought was needed,” Potts says. “We knew how much Mr. de Vires cares for this boat. We got in there and did it right.”

De Vires caught his first glimpse of Tenacious in the late 1970s. It was a cloudy, rainy day, he says, and she was sailing in the English Channel, off the Isle of Wight.

“I looked upon her again and again,” says de Vires. “I thought she was beautiful. And then she was gone, out of sight. That was the beginning of it. That’s when I fell in love.”

As years passed, de Vires says Tenacious never left his mind. In 2000 he discovered the boat was up for sale. Despite his desire to own Tenacious, de Vires held back. It wasn’t until last July that his interest became serious.

“I kept telling myself it would be too expensive and too much work,” he says of buying Tenacious. “But last summer [2004] when I saw her for sale still, it being Sparkman & Stephens’ 75th anniversary year, I told my wife I had to get on a plane. I had to have the boat.”

This past summer, de Vires shipped Tenacious to Holland where he will complete her restoration and begin sailing her. In the next few years, he plans to assemble a crew to compete in the Fastnet Race in 2009. And, it turns out, he already has an interest in one person in particular: Potts.

“He invited me to be part of the crew and I said I’d be happy to do it,” says Potts, who crewed Tenacious during the race in 1979.

“[De Vires] seems like a very worthy owner. He handles the boat well and overall he absolutely loves the boat. I think Tenacious is going to have a good future.”

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Before she was Tenacious the boat was Dora IV.  I was docked next to her before my first Port Huron to Mackinac race in 1975 or 1976. It was a pretty cool week watching the boat nanny tending to the yacht.

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Christian is a very interesting guy. I first learned of him watching a YouTube video of his family cruises to LIS on a Hereshoff double ender. If he mentioned that boat to Ted, I’m sure he got TT’s opinion on what they are shaped like..

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My first exposure to Christian was on his solo to Hawaii videos on youtube.  Always found him entertaining.  I had no idea he had that kind of racing pedigree.  Impressive.

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You have to find his family cruising in the 50’s out of NJ on a 29’ Yawl. He and his brother are shooting a pistol into the water for fun. Good old times for sure!

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Ted is my Idol

 

Love the mouth of the south

One of my favorites is the one where he Defends the cup. The NYYC wanted no part of him but his performance forced them to choose him to Defend the cup.  Once Robbie Doyle recut the sails, he was fast.

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When I met Ted at an event on Lake Ontario I asked him; "Which was the most satisfying race to win, the America's Cup or the Fastnet in 79?"  His answer was "Any asshole can win the America's Cup!"  I believe that this was just after DC had one it and Ted and DC didn't really get along I guess.

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2 hours ago, PirateDave said:

Love the mouth of the south

One of my favorites is the one where he Defends the cup. The NYYC wanted no part of him but his performance forced them to choose him to Defend the cup. 

It was way worse than that for them - they had to make him a member. :o

There was a story around that time about him attending a function at the NYYC - everybody in evening dress, pearls and all being very pretentiously "Club".

Turner turned to his companion and said "What some of these stiff old babes need is a good fucking".

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4 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

It was way worse than that for them - they had to make him a member. :o

There was a story around that time about him attending a function at the NYYC - everybody in evening dress, pearls and all being very pretentiously "Club".

Turner turned to his companion and said "What some of these stiff old babes need is a good fucking".

HAHAHA - better than Caddyshack!

I highly recommend Ted's autobiography, narrated by him, on Audible (Call Me Ted).  Some of his friends chime in with anecdotes.  Like when he drops to his knees at a pitch meeting, crawling under the conference table saying "Whose shoes do I have to kiss??"

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2 hours ago, zenmasterfred said:

Had the pleasure of meeting him in Seattle for a 6m regatta, Tom Blackaller was there as well.  Pretty interesting pontificating from both legends of our sport abounded.

 

We really miss those guys. They were characters. 

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Met a friend for lunch once at Ted's Montana in Manhattan, and lo and behold Ted himself was there.  I found out the next day that he was in town because my neighbor (like literally 4 houses down from me in the suburbs) had passed away.  Sadly I was relatively new to the area and did not know him, but he was part of the crew on Courageous.  Ted flew in the remainder of the crew for the funeral, which I thought was pretty neat.

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