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Visit with Olin Stephens on January 7, 2008  
   

January 7, 2008. My daughter Nicole and I drove up to New Hampshire to visit with Olin yesterday. We spent some time looking at the website and then reviewed with Olin the start of a book your webmaster is planning based on the website. Following practice established last year we brought along another jar of my wife Chris' hand picked, home made, world famous, strawberry jam. Click here to see it

Among the large stack of books he was in the process of reading, Olin pointed out to me the one on his coffee table - the just published Six Meter book by Pekka Bark and Tim Street, The Six Meter - 100 Years of Racing. (sorry about the picture quality - will upgrade when time and opportunity permit) This is a beautiful embossed, leather bound, in a case, large format book, numbered and signed, and for sale for about $130. Olin raced Six Meters in his youth and was a major contributor to this book. He started working on his Six Meter designs in the late 1920s, before his breakthrough with Dorade, the 1931 transatlantic race winner that established his reputation as an off shore winning designer. During this period european designers dominated the winning boats in this very competitive class. In 1930 Olin's design, Cheroke, broke through and won the Six Meter Class Championship. In his early days of designing Six Meters Olin met with Starling Burgess whose advice the up and coming young designer eagerly accepted. Years later, Olin and Starling teamed up to design Ranger, the last of the J boats that raced in and won the America's Cup in 1937.   I cannot pass this opportunity to connect, or reconnect, those of you who have already been there, to Starling Burgess' Atlantic Class design. Click here to go there
So why this diversion into the Six Meter Class? This humble appearance of the spiral bound book at the left is the start of the Dolphin 24 book! That's why. At this stage it is basically the website pages copied. This was done for the early Dolphin owners who were contributors to the website project and who do not have or use computers. I am slowly converting the pages on the site, using Microsoft Publisher, and editing them into a real book format. I have a few draft pages of the conversion done including a very preliminary draft of the cover and the Author's Notes which you can see by clicking here. This visit with Olin, and seeing his Six Meter book, has committed me to getting this project done - late in 2008 is my target date right now. (nice try!!) And, I will have at least one leather bound copy, numbered # 1, signed by the author and delivered to Olin!!

Patience here - the following is related to the Olin visit! Olin and I have a mutual friend, Herve Elies, of Brittany, France. Herve is the Secretary of the Sparkman & Stephens Association in France and was the host of the annual S&S Association meeting in Brittany in 2006. He and his wife Marie were 'crew' on your webmaster's Marionette at the 2004 S&S 75th Anniversary event at Mystic Seaport.

On December 31, Herve emailed me with an update on his and Marie's plans to move to the Greek Islands!! and take with him his Palynodie II, a 1962 classic, 40', S&S designed, modified keel wood sloop. In the email he asked about Olin who he had met when Olin was in France. So, I just picked up the phone, called Olin, asked him how he was doing, arranged a visit to see him and show him the site and book draft. That's why this visit was made!

Olin signed a copy of his autobiography "All This and Sailing Too" for Nicole - we now have 3 such copies in our family! She is a past National Champion in the Blue Jay Class which he designed. She and son Michael competed actively in the Lightning Class, which he also designed.

If I live long enough I look forward to another visit with Olin in early 2009 - book in hand! He will be then approaching 101 and waiting for it, I'm sure.

ps: The "Book" was finally published in November, 2010. Click here to go to it. But Olin had already left us .

 

 

 

 
   
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