Thursday, August 27, 2009

1997 - Ted and Eunice Kennedy aboard Mya win the Mayor's Cup

It was September 1997. The South Street Seaport sponsored the 31st annual Mayor's Cup race in New York harbor for Schooners and wooden boats. We were there (John Collins and I) aboard my 16' North River, a Herreshoff 12 1/2.

Ted and Eunice were there. They had brought Mya down to New York for the occasion. (Here at the Liberty Landing dock in the Morris Canal Jersey City). There was a fleet of Star boats racing. (They walked away from everyone in light air.) Ted and Eunice and I chatted about the Star boats. They reminisced about sailing their Star as kids with Jack.

As the north wind died the current turned south. The fleet, in parade formation, was stalled by the building ebb tide. I turned on the motor and crawled through the fleet to get up river of the line before the first gun. We heard a diesel motor kick in and Kennedy charged through the fleet at about 8 knots to get upwind of the line.

The schooners started first and Kennedy was first over the line, with Eunice at the helm. Halsey Herreshoff in the Neith got caught below the line - and anchored. We passed him on our way south. As we neared the leeward mark a big cat boat and a small steel schooner (which had passed us) miscalculated and were stalled by a northbound tanker. With a better angle of sail we passed both of them!

In a 22 boat fleet we were the smallest boat by 10 feet yet we finished 15/22 on elapsed time (well ahead of Neith) and 10/22 on corrected time. My best performance ever in the Mayor's Cup.

Kennedy - first over the starting line never lost the lead - winning the Mayor's Cup.