Launched in June 1974, Courageous was the first ever 12-Metre boat built all in aluminium. It was a light boat, conservative in its lines and probably the most elegant 12 ever launched. During the 1974 sailing season, Halsey Herreshoff may have used the first computer system fitted aboard a Cup boat. Dick McCurdy developed the computer and software and Halsey did not commit a single navigation error the whole summer.
Bob Bavier was the first skipper during the selection trials except for during the last race, on September 2nd, 1970, when Ted Hood definitively replaced him.
In 1974, Mariner US 25 (Britton Chance's design) was the second new 12 to be launched. During the American trials two boats emerged: Courageous and Intrepid. Mariner, Heritage and Valiant were not competitive.
16 to 29 June: Preliminary selection trials. Intrepid showed good form in strong wind, with Courageous dominant in light airs.
13 to 24 July: Observation selection trials. 17 races were sailed. Mariner did not sail. Courageous won eight times, including three wins over Intrepid. But Intrepid earned seven victories, including three over Courageous.
17 August to 2 September. Courageous sailed with some North sails. On August 20th, Valiant and Mariner were eliminated. Dennis Conner joined the Courageous team after skippering Mariner. After 11 races on July 30th, Courageous and Intrepid had an equal number of wins.
2 September: a last race was sailed in an 18-25 knots wind, which was favourable for Intrepid…But with Ted Hood replacing Bob Bavier at the helm Courageous won this close race by 1 minute and 47 seconds and was appointed official defender of the 1974 America's Cup.
The America's Cup races: September 10 to 17, 1974 at Newport, Rhode Island -
Best four out of seven races.
Courageous raced against the Australian challenger Southern Cross
America's Cup Course:
Olympic Course - total distance: 24.3 miles - Start at a buoy anchored 7 miles, SSE (magnetic) towards the Brenton Reef Light Tower.
First leg is directly into the wind (windward leg). Second leg is a reaching leg as the third one, fourth leg to windward, fifth leg is a running leg, then the sixth and last leg is a windward one to the finish.
Races: four sailed.
Courageous beat Southern Cross by four wins to nil!
- September 10, first race. Wind at start: 212°, 11 knots. Wind at finish: 222°, 7 knots. Courageous beat Southern Cross by 4 minutes 54 sec.
- September 12, second race. Wind at start: 237°, 11 knots. Wind at finish: 236°, 16 knots. Courageous beat Southern Cross by 1 minute 11 sec.
- September 16, third race. Wind at start: 305°, 12 knots. Wind at finish: 308°, 11 knots. Courageous beat Southern Cross by 5 minutes 27 sec.
- September 17, fourth race. Wind at start: 190°, 12 knots. Wind at finish: 214°, 12 knots. Courageous beat Southern Cross by 7 minutes 19 sec.
Except in the second race, Courageous crushed Southern Cross… and defended the Cup successfully with ease.
For the 1977 America's Cup two new defender candidates were built: Enterprise US 27 (Olin J. Stephens' design) and Independence US 28 (Ted Hood's design).
The 1974 winner was refitted after Olin. J Stephens warned that Courageous should weigh 145 kilograms less than the figure on the rule certificate. Hood found to his astonishment that the boat was in fact 850 kilograms lighter (they were added in the keel for the 1977 configuration). Consequently, the boat had about 7.50 m2 too much sail. Hood and S & S altered the design during the winter 1976-77. The rudder was moved forward in order to shorten the measured LWL by the 15 cm required by the rule. The deck was also modified and the freeboard was raised.
The boat was re-launched at the end of the winter in 1977. Courageous tests proved the boat to be very fast.
18 June: Preliminary elimination trials. Courageous won 7 times and faced only one defeat against Enterprise by 08 sec.
16 to 27 July: Observation trials. After these races, the two 12's seemed to be equal: Enterprise and Courageous scored 7 wins and 6 losses each.
16 to 30 August: Final trials. Courageous scored 9 wins, Enterprise 5 and Independence 4. For the second time after its victory in 1974, Courageous was selected to be the defender of the 1977 America's Cup.
The America's Cup races: September 13 to 18, 1977, at Newport, Rhode Island -
Best four out of seven races.
Courageous raced against Australia, the Australian challenger.
America's Cup Course:
Olympic Course - total distance: 24 3/10 nautical miles - Start at America's Cup Buoy anchored 7 miles, SSE (magnetic) towards the Brenton Reef Light Tower. Races shall consist of six legs. First leg shall be approximately 4 ½ nautical miles in length, shall be from the starting buoy to windward; the second leg shall be from the first mark equidistant from the starting buoy and the first mark at a point on the circumference of a circle the diameter of which is the first leg; the third leg shall be from the second mark back to the starting buoy; the fourth leg shall be from the starting buoy to the first mark; the fifth leg shall be from the first mark to the starting buoy; and the sixth leg shall be from the starting buoy to the first mark, at which the finish line shall be established. Marks to be left on the same hand as the starting mark (America's Cup Buoy)
Races: four sailed.
Courageous beat Australia by four wins to nil.
- September 13, first race. Wind at start: 225°, 12.5 knots. Wind at finish: 205°, 17 knots. Courageous beat Australia by 1 minute 48 sec.
- September 16, second race. Wind at start: 195°, 11 knots. Wind at finish: 160°, 15 knots. Courageous beat Australia by 1 minute 03 sec.
- September 17, third race. Wind at start: 238°, 8 knots. Wind at finish: 310°, 8 knots. Courageous beat Australia by 2 minutes 32 sec.
- September 18, fourth race. Wind at start: 265°, 14 knots. Wind at finish: 260°, 9 knots. Courageous beat Australia by 2 minutes 25 sec.
In 1977, Courageous successfully defended the America's Cup. It was the third victorious defender to have the honour to defend the Cup for the second time in succession, after Columbia (1899-1901) and Intrepid (1967-1970).
Robert Edward III "Ted" Turner sold Courageous to A.L. Loomis. Its homeport was Atlanta. Turner bet he could take the boat though to the America's Cup for the third time in succession. A syndicate headed by George Hinman, Sr., the "People-to-People Sports Committee", backed him financially in his endeavors. Ted Turner also gathered together the 1977 crew, Gary Jobson, tactician, William Jorch, navigator, and Robbie Doyle as sail trimmer.
A former Ted Hood employee, James Taylor, reworked the hull of Courageous. The transom was raised and shortened and other changes were made, all of which had the same aim - to enable an increase in sail area.
Works on Courageous ended in spring 1980. During the defense elimination trials, the boat suffered from a lack of organisation and training even if, in the first preliminary race on 21 June 1980, Ted Turner won against Dennis Conner aboard Freedom US 30.
25 August: Courageous was eliminated from the defense final selection trials…
Dave Vietor and Leonard Greene bought Courageous.
Bill Langan, member of Sparkman & Stephens' firm, modified Courageous.
Under the banner of the Defender/Courageous Group of the People-to-People Sports Committee, Courageous entered the defender trials. John Kolius skippered the boat. The American John Bertrand was the tactician and Bill Campbell was the navigator. Courageous was fitted with new North & Ulmer sails. It was a good contender but was eliminated in the final trials.
The Courageous Syndicate headed by Dave Vietor and Leonard Greene owned the boat. Its homeport was Short Beach, Connecticut.
Courageous IV (its new name) was entered in the 1987 America's Cup. It was dramatically altered with a new winglet keel, but finished last in the World Championship in Fremantle. It soon withdrew from the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Sailed under the banner of the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club.
1993 - 1994
The Courageous Sailing Center owned the Twelve based at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Owned by US 26 Corporation based in Wilmington, Delaware.
Donated by Leonard Greene to The Museum of Yachting, Newport, Rhode Island. A huge restoration had since taken place on Courageous.
The yacht has since been used by the museum for racing, sailing demonstrations and educational programs.
New restoration paid by Craig J. Mylard and made by Hinckley Yacht Services, in Portsmouth.
Courageous is designated the "RI State Yacht" and flagship of the Museum of Yachting. Sailed by Craig J. Mylard in the International Twelve-Metre Class at Newport on September 2005. Finished first in the modern 12-Meter Class.
1974 - 1977
Sail number: US 26
Yacht club: New York Yacht Club, New York
Victorious defender in the 22nd America's Cup (1974).
Victorious defender of the 23rd 1977 America's Cup Challenge
Owner - 1974: Courageous Syndicate headed by Joe Burr Bartram, with F. Briggs Dalzell and Bob McCullough (also Syndicate manager), John Dorrance, Mrs. John Radley, Reynolds du Pont, Perry Bass, Robert Timkin, Charles Payson.
Owner - 1977: King's Point Fund, Inc., US Merchant Academy, King's Point, New York, USA. Headed by Alfred Lee Loomis and Robert Edward III "Ted" Turner.
International Twelve Metre boat
Keel sloop with trimmer and separate rudder
Original designer 1974: Olin J. Stephens assisted by David Pedrick project manager at Sparkman & Stephens, New York
Tank test facilities 1974: Davidson Laboratory Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, New Jersey. Tests made under Pedrick's supervision.
Original builder (1974): Minneford's Yacht Yards Inc. at City Island, New York, USA
Sailmaker: Ted Hood then Lowell North
Year of building: 1973 - 1974.
Launched: June 1974.
Altered in 1977 by Frederik "Ted" E. Hood and Sparkman & Stephens
Skipper - 1974: Frederick Emmart "Ted" Hood
Starting helmsman - 1974: Dennis Conner
Afterguard - 1974: Jack Stutphen as tactician and Halsey Herreshoff as navigator
Crew boss: Sam Waleman
Skipper - 1977: Robert Edward III "Ted" Turner.
Afterguard - 1977: Gary Jobson as tactician and Bill Jorch as navigator; Robbie Doyle as mainsail trimmer.
Construction 1974: Metal - all aluminum alloys according to new Lloyd's scantling rules authorizing this light metallic material to be used in the building of the 12-metre. This saved nearly two tons in the weight of the hull, which could be put as ballast in the keel.
L.O.A.: 20.10 m
L.W.L.: 13.60 m
Beam: 3.73 m
Draft: 2.73 m
Sail area: 151 m2
Displacement: 25.450 tons
Mast: 25 m
Year of building