Dick Carter: Yacht Designer in the Golden Age of Offshore Racing Hardcover – 26 Oct 2018
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Dick Carter, the "mystery man" of American yachting is back! Dick Carter, the champion and enfant terrible of ocean racing the in 1960s and 1970s, suddenly disappeared from top-level sailboat racing in 1975. Many of his colleagues thought he had died. Dick Carter has now reemerged with this definitive autobiography of sailboat racing in that period, one of the most productive and innovative eras of sailing. Carter designed and sailed such world-renowned boats as RABBIT, TINA, RED ROOSTER, and "the monster" 128-foot singlehander, VENDREDI TREIZE ("Friday the 13th ). Now here is Dick Carter with a great story of sailboats and sailing, thoroughly illustrated with photos and boat plans. Readers will also find out where he has been all these years!--John Rousmaniere, Author of "Fastnet Force 10" "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" and other sailing classics
"Timing is everything and fortunately for me, I was at the right place at the right time, by joining Dick in Holland for the launch of RABBIT and a summer of racing in and around the English Channel, and if all went well ending with the Fastnet Race! What more could a young New Englander, who had grown up racing a gaff rigged 12 1/2 on Buzzards Bay, dream of? It was a fantastic experience, which continued for three more summers of serious racing on three more of Dick's designs!"--Sandy Weld, "Ocean racer and frequent crew on Dick Carter's boats.
I was fortunate in 2017 to acquire RABBIT, Dick Carter's very first ground breaking design. Two boats in the 20th century changed the course of yacht design history: DORADE designed by Olin Stevens, winner if the 1931 Fastnet Race and RABBIT, designed by Dick Carter winner of the 1965 Fastnet. After RABBIT'S win, no yachts were built with traditional full keels. Rudders separated from the keels became the order of the day. It was an honor and a privilege to have restored RABBIT, a master work by Dick Carter, one of the greatest yacht designers of all time."--Francesco Gandolfi, Owner of "Rabbit"
"This has to be one of the very best books on yachts and yacht design I have ever read. It is beautifully illustrated with photos and technical drawings a fun book to read, as it takes you, step by step through the world of designing racing yachts at the highest level."--Bob Perry, Bob Perry is an internationally renowned yacht designer who worked with Dick Carter in early 70's, in his formative years. Bob Perry is responsible for many successful sailboat designs, including boats by Hans Christian, Islander, Esprit, Lafitte, Nordic Yachts, Norseman, and Valiant.
About the Author
Dick Carter was one of the best known racing sailors of the 1960s and 1970s. He was seemingly everywhere and winning all the trophies in the hottest classes. He abruptly moved on to other pursuits but now, just as abruptly, he is back. Dick Carter lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts and the U.K.
Related items to consider
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Indeed it was. It was, firstly, an amateur sport in those days. Surely, it could only be played with rich men's toys, but it required many more people than the few rich men to play it. I owned such yachts later in my life, used for family cruising almost exclusively, but couldn't afford one in the years I raced.. Although Dick is about 16 years older than I am, our time at the centre of the sport more or less coincided – from the early 60s to the mid 70s. I was not a famous designer or builder of yachts, or sailmaker, though I toyed with the idea for a while of making a living from my hobby. Dick would not know me by name, but, if he could imagine me half a century younger, would know me well if we met.
I wonder if someone who was never part of all this could find this book as wonderful as I do. It joins up so many dots for me – I bet I could join up a few for Dick also.
It was an amateur sport then, but why otherwise was the age so “golden”? Well, for a start, the yachts themselves were such beautiful objects – no advertising slogans, or patchwork laminated plastic sails, but typically the pristine white narrow panelled sails that Ted Hood made. When Dick came along and applied the Henry Ford approach of “add lightness and simplificate”, the typical offshore racing yacht became a more elegant beast than ever.
Just look at the marvellous photographs in the book and, even if this was long before your time, you will get aboard, just as we all can get aboard another age from the photographs of the Bekens over 100 years ago of the yachts of that time.
In 1966, we took the little Stella Class yacht “Starshell” from Essex to Copenhagen. It so happens that we were passing the finishing line of the last race of the One Ton Cup when the leading yachts came in. The previous owner of Starshell, Sammy Sampson, was one of Dick's crew on “Tina”, and apparently saw us. That year one of the 2 Briish yachts from Sparkman and Stephens, “Clarionet” and “Roundabout” were widely expected to win, but there was Dick in the wonderful “Tina”. The very way she moved in the water was extraordinary. S&S clearly had taken aboard aspects of Dick's first design, “Rabbit”, but this yacht was something else. I don't know if Olin Stephens was in Denmark that year but his brother Rod certainly was, and that is where I first met him. I was lucky enough to meet almost all the famous yachtting figures of the day in the next few years.
“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, and to sail “Red Rooster” was very heaven!” Ah! “Red Rooster” - the sexiest of all Dick's designs!
When Chris Dunning, who I crewed with, bought the yacht from Dick at the end of 1969, a team went to La Trinite-sur-Mer in South Brittany to pick her up on the freezing last weekend before Chistmas. Dick had thoughtfully (?) left a jar of peanut butter on the chart table for us. The delivery crew consisted of “Bunty” King, of Hood Sailmakers, “Butch” Dalrymple-Smith, myself, and a keen teenager named Jim Pugh (Google “Jim Pugh -= San Diego”) Enough to say that we had a flog against an Easterly Force 8 and snow to Lymington, and the amazing lifting keel Rooster behaved quite magnificently. A couple of days later (I am not making this up!), I ran into the, by then, wheelchair-bound Adlard Coles in the cocktail bar of the Angel Hotel in Lymington. The legendary author of “Heavy Weather Sailing” could not believe that a yacht like this could have handled so well in these conditions.
Chris Dunning was one of the finest yachtsmen of his time but was somewhat handicapped in sailing “Red Rooster”, for the simple reason that he had been disabled by Polio in his teens and so had never been in a sailing dinghy. I had been a keen dinghy sailor in the late 50s, and with another of the crew having similar experience, we “played” the mainsheet and won pretty well every race of the good many I skippered in 1970. I was once second (just) to “Prospect of Whitby” when I made a really lousy start.
I could go on and on and on about the many, many hundreds of miles I sailed in that yacht, and other Carter yachts later. Wonderful times!
Interesting, though, what he says about someone asking him what he would do after designing “Tina” other than to continue designing her.
That seems to be true of all yacht designers. The English designer “Kim” Holman is memorable as one of the few gay, Cornish, Jewish, yacht designers active in Essex in the 60s. One, moreover, with a live-in (later famous) Rabbi boyfriend named Lionel Blue. He said that his design career consisted of one good design that he just made bigger or smaller with slight variations. His yacht designing career was more or less scuppered by “Tina”, but was continued by his business partner, Don Pye (one of the crew of Tina in 1966), who well and truly took aboard the lessons of Dick's innovations.
Wonderful times! Wonderful yachts! Fascinating personalities - Dick himself was ever a tad eccentric. A lovely book, and an important historical document in this specialised but fascinating little world. Do buy and read, if you have any interest at all in the history of yachting.
This is an outstanding volume. Great Art coupled with engaging story-telling. How does someone without formal yacht design training decides to conceive his first boat, test fresh-new ideas and goes on to win the famous Fastnet race (1965) and many others? It was the love of racing, he explains. The book tells the story of Rabbit, Tina, the Carter 33, and many, many other Carter designs.
Here’s a chance to grasp the author’s thinking processes and understand how he questioned EVERY ‘design’ law of his time. Also an opportunity to see his commitment to simplification and drive for innovation at work. He was only problem-solving, he says. Essentially, Dick Carter felt free. He never thought he’d design another boat again after Rabbit and the Fastnet victory. If you don't believe him read this: he even published the lines of Rabbit (i.e. the trade secrets) in a top Yachting magazine, something no one else had done before in the industry.
Who else would dare moving the rudder aft when everyone else had it attached to the keel? Wider beams for increased stability? Where did he get these ideas? He tells the reader he studied hard, reflected, agonised over decisions and experimented. The book is packed with lots of informative and instructive details, beautiful photos and an incredible narrative skill. So much so that It’s difficult to put this book down!
The book tells the story of his sailing life, from his dinghy adventures on the Cape Cod coast just before WWII to the serendipitous chain of events which led to him becoming a highly sought-after designer of winning racing yachts in the 1960s and 70s. His story is one of a self-taught outsider taking on the establishment and winning.
The book is beautifully produced, full of fascinating photos and illustrations. Both educational and entertaining, I recommend it for anyone with an interest in the history of offshore racing and yacht design.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Dick Carter was one of the most successful ocean racing champions in the 1960s and early 70s. He was the designer of boats famous for their winning ways, such as Rabbit, Tina, Vendredi Trieze, and Red Rooster. Starting as an amateur designer, he was soon beating the best designers in the world at their own game, in the International One Ton Competition, the Fastnet Race, the Admirals Cup. His design, Lively Lady II, won the 2006 Newport-Bermuda Race.
I remember following the results of ocean racing in the pages of Yachting Magazine in the late 60s. Dick Carter’s designs kept showing up as winners, with his innovative ideas to make a boat go faster. In this heavily illustrated book, he describes his learning curve: racing Brutal Beasts on Buzzard Bay, Yale Corinthian Sailing Club on International 14s, a course in Engineering Drawing, and racing a 33-foot Medalist in the 1960s in the SORC and the 1963 Fastnet Race. He questioned every element of what made a boat win. Windage aloft? Freeboard? Wetted surface? The Racing Rule? He works out his reasons for the successes, and occasional failures…read it and learn. He was one of the shapers of the International Offshore Rule.
His first attempt at yacht design was a steel sloop named Rabbit; he sent the plans, page by page, to Dutch builder Frans Maas. With a pickup crew, and only peanut butter sandwiches for provisions, he went racing right out of the box, and won race after race. The lines for Rabbit are shown in a full page spread, along with photos in a chapter accurately titled “A New Approach to Offshore Yacht Design”. The book is beautifully produced, and it’s an important contribution of yachting history, and to understanding why sailboats are the way they are today.
Fun, fast and always ahead of the curve;
Dick Carter's work is well expressed with addventures and surprises.
This book is as beautifully written as illustrated, and deserves to be in your library.