Perspective: Keeping the band together

Published on June 25th, 2023

For some regattas, the actual competition can seem like a supporting component. That was certainly the case for Jack Curtin, the owner of the legendary 12 Metre Intrepid (above), which sailed to a convincing win in Class 1 in the 2023 Robert H. Tiedemann Classics Regatta on June 24-25 in Newport, RI.

Curtin bought Intrepid in 1996, and for many years he raced the two-time America’s Cup winner (1967 and 1970) in the Modern 12 Metre Division. But sailing the only wooden Modern—the other boats are newer and built of aluminum—and against crews that were increasingly more professional became less and less fun.

“My crew has been the basically the same crew, running all the way back before [the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England, in 2001],” says Curtin. “We just said, ‘You know what, we’re all getting old. I’m not going to get into an arms race on sails and equipment and refitting and all that.’

“But we wanted to find a way to, as the guy said, keep the band together. So, we pick three regattas a year. The whole group comes back, and we have three great weekends for sailing. And sometimes we do well, and sometimes we don’t. This weekend was a particularly good one for us.

“The crew has been together a long time. We have two father-son combinations. It’s a family event. They are the most loyal, enthusiastic people, and I don’t pay them anything. I buy them foul-weather gear and shirts.

“But other than that, they come because they want to be together. And they come mostly because they want to be together. Sailing is important. But it’s not the primary reason.”


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