Stars & Stripes

Experience a memorable two-hour Sunset Sail on a living piece of yachting history— the streamlined America’s Cup racing yacht the Stars and Stripes. Set sail out of Hilton Head Island and enjoy this amazing scenic sail.

The Sail America Foundation commissioned four 12 metre yachts to support a campaign lead by Dennis Conner, representing the San Diego Yacht Club, to win back the America’s Cup in the 1987 competition in Fremantle, Australia. This racing machine features an 85-foot-tall mast. She is solid, fast and features two steering wheels and a wide cockpit where you and up to five other passengers and the crew will control her speed and high performance. Throughout this South Carolina Sailing Adventure, your Captain and crew guide you as you help trim the sheets and grind the winches!

Yesterday morning we headed to Palmetto Bay SunRise Café on Helmsman Way for breakfast. The restaurant is adjacent the Yacht Club of Hilton Head. After parking the car, we inadvertently noticed an impressive yacht in dry dock at the Boathouse at Palmetto Bay Marina.  Though we were unaware at the time of the fortuity of our glance, we subsequently learned that it was the Stars & Stripes 12-meter yacht. Our intelligence was greatly expanded that evening when we watched a YouTube documentary about how Australia captured the America’s Cup.

The 1983 America’s Cup was a 12-metre class yacht racing series which pitted the defending New York Yacht Club’s Liberty against the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s challenger, Australia II. The September 1983 series of match races was won by Australia II, with four race wins to three, in the first successful challenge of the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year defense of the Cup. The Australian syndicate’s boat, skippered by John Bertrand, fought back from a 3–1 deficit to best the Dennis Conner-helmed defender, ending both the longest winning streak in sporting history and U.S. domination of the racing series.

The well funded Sail America Foundation commissioned four 12-metre yachts to support a campaign led by Dennis Conner, representing the San Diego Yacht Club, to win back the America’s Cup in the 1987 competition in Fremantle, Australia.

Stars & Stripes (Team Dennis Conner) is the name of an America’s Cup syndicate operated by Dennis Conner and its racing yachts, which are among the most famous in the world. The name “Stars & Stripes” refers to the nickname often used for the flag of the United States. TDC was registered under the flag of the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC).

The New York Yacht Club has brought on the Stars & Stripes sailing team as part of its effort to field an all-American squad for the next multi-challenger America’s Cup. The name Stars & Stripes is a nod to Dennis Conner, who won the America’s Cup four times, the final two with boats named Stars & Stripes. Coincidentally, Conner was representing the New York Yacht Club when his 12-meter Liberty was beaten 4-3 by Australia II in the 1983 America’s Cup, ending the longest winning streak in sports.

Caught up within this frazzle of nautical history has completed my rapture for Hilton Head Island. Although we have been aboard a catamaran from Fort Meyers to Key West, FLA I nonetheless persist in my preference for the North Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.  Certainly – as we discovered – the gulf is no less robust than the ocean; yet I hang to the impenetrable allure of the high seas. I have transcribed this prejudice to Hilton Head Island over anything along the Gulf of Mexico including the Florida Keys (though admittedly less stringently with Key West but unquestionably with Key Largo). The Hemingway contribution to Key West enhanced the nautical theme but The Old Man and the Sea hardly qualifies as an ocean sailing adventure particularly because of its connection in the Caribbean Sea with nearby Cuba (a mere 90 miles away).

The last major fictional work to be published during Hemingway’s lifetime, The Old Man and the Sea was begun in Cuba during a tumultuous period in the author’s life.

Meanwhile I content myself to enjoy the setting sun. Our breakfast this morning marked our final outing with Denis Secondus who is presently headed back north.  Our brief time together was exceedingly pleasant. Once again we have submerged ourselves in national politics and the abbreviated enhancements and amendments which inevitably follow a departure. We cannot but sense a measure of loss.