From the archives — Ted Turner’s disqualification

nyt-1977This year marks the 80th running of the Vineyard. Five years ago we ran a series of articles chronicling the history of the race. Starting today we will be reposting those articles on this blog. (Orig post date: March 2009)

Seems that wherever Ted Turner goes, attention follows. 1977 was no different. Skippering his 61′ Tenacious, Turner was disqualified for using his engine. Interestingly, he still won the Nina Trophy for first boat to the tower.

Here’s how the Sept. 6, 1977 issue of The New York Times described things:

A light wind forced Tenacious onto the port tack and caused her to drift toward the tower. When the rig of Tenacious was withink approximately 5 feet fo the tower Turner, believing the yacht to be in danger of fouling its rigging, threw the engine in gear just long enough to avoid collision.

The protest committee ruled that a yacht shall be propelled only by the natural action of the wind on the sails, spars and hull, and water on the hull, and shall not use abnormal means except for the purpose of rendering assistance or of recovering a person who has accidentally fallen overboard. Neither exception applied.

However, Stamford YC did award Turner the Nina Trophy since he did arrive at the tower first and nothing in the rules stated he had to finish the race to collect the trophy.

1977 was the year Turner sailed Courageous to victory in the America’s Cup. In fact, that happened just a week after Turner’s Vineyard Race episode.


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