America's Cup Yacht - Easterner
History of Easterner
12-Metre US 18 SPECIFICATIONS:
LOA - 66'
LWL - 42'3"
LOA - 12'
Draft - 9'6"
Displacement - 66,000 lbs
Sail Area - 1,880 square feet
Designer - C. Raymond Hunt
Builder - Graves Shipyard, Marblehead, MA
Original Owner/Skipper - Chandler Hovey
Easterner was a contender for the America's Cup defense off Newport in 1958, 1962, and 1964. She is regarded by many as the most beautiful racing sloop ever built.
When America’s Cup competition was resumed in 1958 after a 21-year lapse with a new class of yachts, Chandler Hovey began his America’s Cup campaign by commissioning the 12-Meter Easterner. Designed by C. Raymond Hunt, Easterner was built at Graves Yacht Yard in Marblehead, MA and launched on June 27, 1958. Easterner arrived in Newport, RI on July 9th with the salute of horns and gunfire. She seemed to be the hometown favorite for the America’s Cup defense.
There were four American contenders for the 1958 America’s Cup defense. Vim (12-Meter US-15), Columbia (12-Meter US-16), Weatherly (12-Meter US-17), and Easterner (12-Meter US-18). Historian Norris D. Hoyt wrote, "The most beautiful of the three was the varnished Easterner..." In fact, during the 1958 America’s Cup hometown favorite, Easterner was even referred to as the "belle of the ball".
All the hull shapes of the 1958 America’s Cup defense contenders were tank-tested by Professor Davidson at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. As always, the results of the tests were kept secret while construction of the yachts was still in progress. However, after the information was no longer critical it was revealed that Easterner had tank-tested with the highest potential followed in order by Columbia, Weatherly, and Vim. Unfortunately, the trials did not turn out that way.
Easterner was again an American contender for the America’s Cup defense off Newport, Rhode Island in 1962 and 1964, making her one of the only three-time America’s Cup contenders.
Hovey eventually sold Easterner to Jack Ballie, who took the boat to Newport Beach, California and renamed her Newsboy. In 1995, Easterner was sold to her third owner, Arthur Shlossman. After 28 years of sailing on the west coast, Easterner was brought back to Newport, given back her original name, and restored to her original condition and layout.
SAIL TO PREVAIL & EASTERNER – An Extraordinary Gift:
In November 2008, Arthur Shlossman generously donated the classic 12-Metre America’s Cup yacht, Easterner, to Sail To Prevail. The Newport non-profit that developed the first adaptive sailing program, attempted the first-ever adaptation of its kind - successfully retrofitting the 66-foot Easterner so that people with disabilities could become the first-ever contributing crew of a former America’s Cup yacht. (And “they” said it couldn’t be done!) Sail To Prevail did, indeed, engineer Easterner for use by disabled children and adults, including a skipper’s position for a quadriplegic or a paraplegic. The adaptations also offer “pit” and trimming positions. This America’s Cup boat is the first in history to compete with a combined disabled and able-bodied crew working together as a team by participating in the 12-Metre World Championship in 2009 – even winning a race. In addition to competitive sailing, Easterner regularly provided therapeutic sailing for children with physical and developmental disabilities, autism, or pediatric cancer.
Advancing the Physically and Intellectually Challenged
Easterner was the first America’s Cup sailboat to be adapted for handicapped sailors. Since its inception in 1986, our sailing program has boosted the “skills of confidence” for over 15,000 physically and mentally handicapped adults and children sailing on our Sonar and Independence 20s. Similar to the smaller vessels, to participate in sailing such a large yacht requires the effective teaching of leadership, teamwork and organizational skills, enhancing self-confidence. These skills are universal and can be applied to other areas of people’s lives. While our sailing program continues to flourish with the Independence 20s, Easterner was key in adding new outreach to our program.
Attempting to Increase the Survival Rate of Children with Cancer
Chemotherapy treatment is terribly taxing on the mind and body, especially for children. An exhilarating sail on sparkling blue water is great medicine for the spirit. Easterner was used to establish what is now our “Sail Away From Cancer” program. Easterner’s cautious and caring crew welcomed not only the young patients but also their parents and “resident doctors”. This shared sense of adventure helped everyone endure the trials of lengthy chemotherapy treatment in hopes of increasing their chance of survival. The experience was so well received that Sail To Prevail continued to develop the program in collaboration with Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI. Today, all of our Independence 20 sailboats in Newport are utilized for the “Sail Away From Cancer” program, which continues to sail weekly throughout the summer.
Discovering the Effect of Sailing on Children with Autism
Easterner was such an attention-getter wherever she sailed! All her retrofitting had been intended for the purpose of allowing physically disabled people to participate in sailing this magnificent vessel. However, it was during a special sailing clinic offered by Sail To Prevail in Nantucket, MA, in 2009, that an extraordinary thing happened – children with autism were actually engaging in participation to sail the yacht! Under the watchful eye of the professional crew as well as the parents, one boy came to the wheel and put his hands on it to feel the tension and motion of the vessel. After observing for quite awhile, another boy stepped up to the wheel to also discover what it felt like to steer – the first boy was an example in teaching the second boy! Another boy watched Paul Callahan at the Skipper’s seat designed with “upside down bicycle pedals” to reel in or let out line to control the sail. The boy put his hands on top of Paul’s hands on the steering pedals and, with his back to the sail, and only listening to the sound of the wind in the sail, he seemed to intuitively know when to push forward or backward on the pedals along with Paul’s hands, to correct the fluttering sail! The parents of these boys were a-m-a-z-e-d at their children’s responsiveness and alertness to the stimulating effects of sailing. This fantastic day of sailing was the start of Sail To Prevail’s Nantucket Chapter, which now sails an Independence 20 sailboat three times a day throughout July, from the Nantucket Boat Basin, and many of the participants are children with autism.
Easterner won Race 6 of the
12-Metre World Championships 2009
Handicapped Racing Program in the 12-Metre Fleet
Easterner was the first America’s Cup boat in history to compete with a disabled and able-bodied crew working side by side. The racing crew consisted of trained sailors and sailed in various ports including Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and New York City.
Of particular good fortune to Sail To Prevail, Easterner was donated just in time for the Golden Year of Sailing, the fiftieth anniversary of the 12-Metre Class. Similar to the historical America’s Cup events in Newport, classic 12-Metre yachts from all around the world practiced for the World Championship set for September 2009. Our disabled sailors had the opportunity to race against some of the best professional sailors in the world, right here in our home waters of Newport. Never before have disabled sailors competed against some of the best sailors in the world, let alone assembled at the world championship level. The excitement and pride was unparalleled when the crew of Easterner WON the last race of the World Championship!
Collaboration with other Non-Profit Agencies
For the purpose of sharing our expertise and stretching our resources for the greater good, for the first time Sail To Prevail ventured out of our geographical region. Easterner visited Boston, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Connecticut, and New York City. Easterner’s success is a “feather in the cap” that continues to bolster Sail To Prevail programs and good reputation throughout the Northeast.
Easterner is a fantastic vessel that brought about great recognition for Sail To Prevail, set precedents for things that had never been done before in disabled sailing, and helped us develop new programs to reach even more people with disabilities and illness. However, Easterner is also an expensive boat to operate for a small non-profit like Sail To Prevail. After storing Easterner in dry-dock in Maine for some time, our Board of Directors has agreed to sell Easterner to a new owner who will once again refurbish this classic America’s Cup yacht. So look for her sleek lines and graceful sails in Newport Harbor in the future!
VIDEO: Click image for movie
VIDEO: Click image for movie
Paul Callahan, Sail To Prevail's Easterner skipper
Key Contributions from:
New England Boatworks
Pershing Square Capital (Bill Ackman)
New England Ropes
Jamestown Distributors (Mike Mills)
Alexander Egan Foundation
World Strategy Group
Jack and Lyle Manning
Dan Stanton & The Boathouse,
Thomas and Mary Gilbane and family
George and Emilie Hinman
Paul and Bonnie Weber
The Beachside Inn at Nantucket
Tylaska Marine Hardware
West Marine (Newport, RI)
Nantucket Community Sailing
Nantucket Boat Basin
Autism Speaks Nantucket (Kim Horyn)
Bob and Suzanne Wright
Great Harbor Yacht Club
Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club
Edgartown Yacht Club
Team One Newport (Martha Parker)