I tend to over-comment on obituaries, but two recent ones made for fascinating reading, both with deep and tangential connections to the glory days of the America’s Cup.
Most recent was John Cooper Fitch, who’s obit appeared in the New York Times on November 1, 2012.
- Race car driver (was on the Mercedes team that disastrously crashed into the crowd at Le Mans in 1955 and was to have relieved the driver of that horrific disaster, Pierre Levegh).
- Inventor of those round sand barrels one sees on abutments on offramps and high way bridges (inspired by the Le Mans tragedy.
- Yachtsman and socialite who met the Duke of Windsor (the one who abdicated because of his love for the American divorcee Wallis Simpson) while pissing together in a bush at some outdoors social event.
- Contemporary of the legendary Briggs Cunningham, another race car driver/yachtsman (helmsman on a couple winning 12-meters that defended the America’s Cup.
And second, but not inferior is Britton Chance Jr., renowned naval architect who designed several of those 12 meters. He passed away last month in Connecticut and earned his fame as the designer of the Stars & Stripes. He worked with great names in yachting like Ray Hunt and Ted Hood.