Big Ti!


Big Ti!

We have a new feature in which we are asking prominent sailors to name their favorite boat of all time. It can be a boat (or class) they sailed, designed, built sails for, got beat by or simply admired. They are naming the boat and sharing why this particular boat or class is their favorite with us. A great suggestion from anarchist  Wash was to ask legendary west coast sailor Skip Allan, and he has of course a terrific favorite boat. Who should we ask next? Tell us who you’d like to hear from. Send it in.

Legendary TICONDEROGA, affectionately known as "BIG TI" to all who sailed aboard her, is certainly my favorite boat of all time. Born from the drawing board of Francis Herreshoff 75 years ago, TICONDEROGA, was designed as a family day sailor, but had the heart of thoroughbred race horse. During her storied career, TI was first to finish in at least 34 major ocean races, setting elapsed time records in 16, including Miami-Nassau, St.Pete-Ft. Lauderdale, Marblehead-Halifax, Skaw, Miami-Montego Bay, and Transpac. With her raked varnished masts, 12 foot bow sprit, dolphin striker, and clipper bow, TI looks fast just tied to the dock. But when she felt the breeze, fresh and free, the lee rail and carved golden dolphins awash, TI’s 64 foot waterline would take charge. I was lucky enough to crew two Transpacs aboard Ti, in’63 and the epic ’65 race when we came down Molokai Channel neck and neck with STORMVOGEL. My pulse still quickens when I think how we dip pole jibed our jury-rigged 34 foot spinnaker pole in the dark off Koko Head in big seas and 35 knots of wind to win the Barn Door and break the record. In this age of precocious modern pretenders with carbon hulls and rigs, and electric keels, there always will be BIG TI.

~Skip Allan
Capitola, CA