Campaigning for the America's Cup is a complex business that involves many people, many skills, many miles of travel and many hours of thought and effort. The only activity that may rival it in complexity is that of covering the campaign for a weekly sports magazine. SI Boating Editor Roger Hewlett was hard at work on his plans to cover the current cup campaign while Designers Olin Stephens, Bill Luders and David Boyd were still putting the finishing touches on their plans for three of the seven boats that were to race in the trials.
His first report on prospects for 1964 appeared in the very first issue of the year, when Staff Writer Hugh Whall, himself a racing sailor, brought our readers up to date on Stephens, the successful designer of two earlier defenders, Ranger (1937) and Columbia (1958).
Whall's piece on Stephens was scarcely off the press when he was asked to put on his sailing gear and interview another character in the cup cast—Ted Hood, sailmaker extraordinary and skipper-designer of cup boat Nefertiti. Whall got Hood's story in mid-ocean and helped him win a Class A victory in the SORC while doing it.
Along about that time America's foremost ocean racer, Carleton Mitchell, our special contributor on yachting and a three-time Bermuda winner, was on his way to England to size up the British challenge. Mitchell's story appeared in the magazine just as Senior Editor Coles Phinizy was leaving for Australia to investigate the near-fabulous Livingston Brothers, whose Australian money helped make the two-boat British challenge possible.
August 23, 1964
Meanwhile, SI's permanent London bureauman, John Lovesey, was negotiating with some of the Englishmen involved in the challenge to tell their own story on our pages. The first fruit of those negotiations appeared in mid-March in an article by Anthony Boyden, the British yachtsman and millionaire who organized the entire British challenge. The second appears this week in the enthralling piece on page 27 by Sovereign Helmsman Peter Scott.
In early spring, Hewlett gave SI's readers a first look into the complicated mind of yachting's best racing strategist, Cornelius Shields, the "Silver Fox of Long Island Sound." As printed in our magazine on June 29, Corny Shields's full-dress instructional on match racing (i.e., America's Cup racing) was, we understand, required reading on the quarterdeck of would-be Defender Constellation.
As Shields pondered the strategies of victory for the benefit of our readers, Mitchell, Whall and Photographer Richard Meek were busily shuttling back and forth across the Atlantic to report on and photograph first the English boats in their early trials, then the American boats in theirs. Stories by Mitchell and Whall appeared in May, June and July. Meek's four-color photographs of the principal boats are impressively visible on this week's cover and on pages 22-26.
Now Mitchell, Whall, Meek and Reporter Mary Jane Hodges are once again heading for Newport. From there, along with Britain's Scott, they will continue the report until the cup is finally lost or won.