There was surely a moment on that star-strewn Bahamas night in the late fall of 1968, as Windward Passage leaned over with her big jib humming, put her shoulder into the Gulf Stream chop, and started to charge-when her owner, "Big Bob' Johnson, wanted to shout for pure joy, 'What a helluva boat.’ No racing yacht of the modern era stirred up more emotion, engendered more consternation, and caused more owners of other boats to cry. From day one she has been magic: breaking all the norms; causing owners of competing boats to spend vast fortunes building boat after boat to beat her. And again and again, long after she was no longer supposed to be competitive, she simply kept winning. This is the story of Windward Passage: a diva with the best lines, the most dedicated owners, and the most competent crews. Today she is a cherished icon and is a pristine expression of the best of design and the finest of materials, all while remaining a boat hearts race to sail. Welcome aboard a true legend!
Submitted by Grey McGown, from the Library:
Two great books have been added to Fort Worth Boat Club's library. One called Small Boats, which was published 100 years ago reproduced beautifully and authentically by Wooden Boats magazine publishers. A hundred years ago a small boat was anything up to 40'!
The other new book is about Windward Passage. She was built in the late 60's and owned by Bob Johnson, lumberman of Portland, Oregon. He also owned the 72' Ticonderoga during her record breaking days. FWBC's Commodore Isaacks raced Ticonderoga twice to Havana and won both times. Ticonderoga's epic 2,200 mile boat for boat battle with Stormvogel is one of the grand legends of the Transpac Regatta. A book named Ticonderoga can also be found in the library with Commodore Isaacks' photo, pictured below:
After racing thousands of miles and winning with Ticonderoga, Johnson decided to build a new boat designed by Alan Gurney named Windward Passage, also a 72 footer. She was built of cold molded wood on a beach in the Bahamas. She continued Ticonderoga's winning ways breaking record after record. Her story is in the book in the library entitled Windward Passage. The book is massive, 13x13", and weighs 7 lbs. The book may be the most lavish treatment of a yacht in publishing history. Check it out.
The FWBC Library is in the process of subscribing to Seahorse Magazine, published by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Many fine sailors believe Seahorse to be the last word in yachting periodicals.
Thank you Mr. McGown for continuing to share your knowledge and passion of FWBC's history. The McGown Library is a treasure we will always enjoy.