PxPixel
Eight Bells: Ted Hood - Sail Magazine

Eight Bells: Ted Hood

This past June, the sailing community marked the passing of Ted Hood, a true innovator who played a central role in making the sport what it is today through his work in sailmaking and cruising hull and rig design.
Author:
Publish date:
HR8-1309-racecourse

This past June, the sailing community marked the passing of Ted Hood, a true innovator who played a central role in making the sport what it is today through his work in sailmaking and cruising hull and rig design.

His Marblehead, Massachusetts, based company Hood Sailmakers, which he founded with his father, was a pioneer and long-time leader in the manufacture of Dacron sails, while his many designs strove to find the perfect balance between speed, comfort and safety afloat.

Hood was also a true gentleman of the sport; a man of few words whose word was his bond, and the winning skipper of the 1974 America’s Cup aboard Courageous.

Few, however, knew Hood well, and even at the zenith of his career, he could be painfully quiet at times, something his colleagues and friends say was largely a protective measure. “He said very little but he reacted to things. His eyebrows were very expressive. He wasn’t shy like Olin Stephens, but he didn’t want to give anything away, because he knew so much,” says yachting historian and author John Rousmaniere.

Dev Barker, one of Hood’s oldest friends who wrote extensively about Hood in the 1960s and 1970s as an editor for Yachting magazine, says Hood became much more relaxed in social settings as he got older, but that “for a long time it was very difficult for him.” Barker adds that during his time as race committee chairman for the 1970 America’s Cup, he shared a number of experiences with Hood that not only illustrated Hood’s high regard for the sport, but his unique stature within it.

“He was virtually the only sailmaker building sails for the 12s,” recalls Barker. “Everybody trusted him to make the fastest sails for them, even though he was competing against them. That is truly remarkable.”

In 1968, Barker convinced his friend to compete in the Bermuda Race aboard Hood’s self-designed 50-footer Robin, one of a series of Hood-designed performance cruisers that carried that name. In a fresh breeze, crashing into the Gulf Stream, Hood called for a No. 2 genoa that had never been fitted to the boat. Worrying about the bow wave being caught in the foot of the jib, Hood switched the halyard pennant from the head to the tack to raise the sail clear of the waves. “That was the sail we wound up using for the bulk of the race, and we won,” says Barker. “That was Ted. ‘Let’s try it.’ And it was always absolutely the right thing. That was his genius.” 

Related

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more

Navy-Sand-Dune_1080

Tucket Footwear’s Giller Shoes

Just for KicksMove over Crocs, there’s a new plastic shoe in town. Unlike the aforementioned fashion crimes, Tucket Footwear’s Giller shoes are made for boating. Water will get in, yes, but it will also run straight out again via rows of “scuppers” in the uppers and a dozen drain ...read more

01-m3113_git170829-294

France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

It’s hard to believe how far foiling has come since the Moth class figured out how to reliably take to the air in the early 2000s.Was it really only in 2013 that the America’s Cup was dragged kicking and screaming into the foiling world by Emirates Team New Zealand back in San ...read more

GGTobagoCays

Cruising: Guadeloupe to Grenada

Our Dream Yacht Charter delivery started as a “wouldn’t it be fun if” idea. Those are usually misguided, if not downright stupid. But a Bali 4.3 named Jumelles (French for “twins,” appropriately) needed to leave Guadeloupe to do heavier charter work in Grenada, and as soon as I ...read more