Classic Boat

STORM FORCE

The steady thrush of a radiused, heavily planked bow and hull shouldering into the pitched, green waves of a gale will draw either high anxiety or faith from one 300 miles from any point of land. The crew aboard the cutter had only faith, and not fear during the 1936 Bermuda Race. Strong, southeast winds blew gale force for a week. Ten boats were disabled or withdrew, and most were blown 75 to 100 miles off the rhumb line from Newport. With enough of a forefoot to “keep a grip on the water”, according to The Rudder magazine that year, Kirawan never sagged more than 40 miles off.

The Philip Rhodes-designed 53-footer (16.2m) stood up to what is considered one of the most gruelling races to the ‘Onion Patch’ in history. Her deep hull and broad shoulders, combined with a unique hard dodger called a ‘dog-house’, allowed her crew to stay strong and efficient over 635 miles of ocean racing.

She was third across the line, though she was given time by 27 yachts in the fleet. Just an hour and change behind the much-larger and , she bested Olin Stephen’s masterpiece , and won the overall trophy with owner Robert Baruch on the helm. This solidified the boat’s

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