Ted Hood - What he’s done - Soundings Online

Ted Hood - What he’s done

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If you are among those who aren’t quite sure whether this is the Hood who made the first in-mast furling or the one who designed the first center cockpit walkthrough, here is a brief primer on the man who is both.

If you are among those who aren’t quite sure whether this is the Hood who made the first in-mast furling or the one who designed the first center cockpit walkthrough, here is a brief primer on the man who is both.

Read the other story in this package:   Boating’s peerless idea man

• Early 1950s: Develops a superior sailcloth out of a new synthetic yarn called Dacron and, from his Little Harbor property in Marblehead, Mass., becomes the sailmaker to the big-time racers from the New York Yacht Club.

• 1958: Invited to crew aboard the America’s Cup contender Vim and to bring along some sails.

• 1959: Designs and builds his first cruising boat, Robin, an immediate race winner.

• 1962: Designs the radical America’s Cup 12 Meter Nefertiti, which fails to be chosen to defend.

• 1966: Introduces a radical hull shape known as the whale body, challenging all preconceptions about efficient yacht design.

• 1968: Wins the Newport-Bermuda Race with this design.

• 1974: Named skipper of Courageous, a Sparkman & Stevens design, and wins the America’s Cup, in addition to numerous other big-time ocean races in his own designs.

• 1977: Designs Cup contender Independence, which also fails to be chosen to defend.

• Into the 1980s: Hood Sails is the world’s largest sailmaker and continues to suit Cup boats with its sails.

• Mid-1980s: Sells the sailmaking business and starts Little Harbor Yachts, building semicustom sailboats and becoming one of the first major designers to build boats in Taiwan.

• 1985: Designs American Promise, which Dodge Morgan sails solo around the world non-stop in a record 150 days.

• 1987: Moves his business from Marblehead to Portsmouth, R.I., where he starts building powerboats and creates the Ocean State’s largest boatyard.

• 1999: Sells his entire operation to The Hinckley Co. and moves more assertively into power yacht design, having sold thousands of yachts of his design.

• 2006: Receives PassageMaker magazine’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

These are some of the high points of an obviously varied career. “There are just thousands of some very small and some significant concepts that he brought to sailing,” says longtime friend E. Paul Casey.

Indeed, Hood’s life has always been as much concerned with looking at the tiny details as focusing on the grand sweep of things. He concedes that while aesthetics are very important to him, it is function that drives him. And the details are what combine to produce the function that, 65 years after his first design, he still seeks.