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it’s all downwind from here

We didn’t do a very good job acknowledging the passing of Ted Hood, but fortunately Brian Hancock did.

The sailing community lost a rare treasure last week with the passing of Ted Hood. For SpeedDream the loss was acute as both Vlad Murnikov and Brian Hancock worked with Ted over the years and came to admire his genius. Many of the day-to-day items that modern-day sailors take for granted can be attributed to Ted Hood. Ever used roller-furling to reef or stow your headsail? Thank Ted, it was his idea born on the back of a nifty little thing called a C-stay. Ted, always on the hunt for a clever idea, was looking for a quicker way to change headsails back in the days when hanks were standard equipment. He came up with the C-stay, a two track system that allowed one sail to be hoisted before the other was lowered. It was just a step from there to making a rigid foil that could be rotated with a drum and the roller-furler was invented. It was a device that dramatically changed the course of sailing.

I came to United States in 1980 to work at Hood Sails on an inventory of sails that was being built for a boat that was to participate in the ‘81-‘82 Whitbread Round the world Race. I was the sailmaker on board and Hood was the sailmaker of choice for all boats over 60 feet. One night I was working late, laying out a sail when a long shadow fell over me. I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was and to be honest I was petrified. Here was a man I had only read about in books, a man who had already skippered the winning boat in the America’s Cup. I turned to see Ted and was surprised that he looked nervous. He stammered out a few words, correcting me on the way I was building the sail, and then walked off. More here.

 

July 11th, 2013

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