Freedom 1980


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Freedom Half Hull by Abordage Expand

America's Cup Defender,1980.  Sloop designed by Olin J. Stephens, Sparkman & Stephens. 

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Hand-crafted plank-on-frame wood hull. Freedom's hull is completely blue with 3 white cove stripes.

Hull size: 60cm.

Board size: 75cm X 20cm

Size75 x 20cm
Half Hull SizeMedium (75cm X 20cm)

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Freedom 1980

Freedom 1980

In 1980, Olin J. Stephens II was 72 years old. He had never been out of the limelight of naval architecture and had been a yacht designer for over half a century. 

1980 was the year Olin J. Stephens chose to retire. But before leaving, he designed his last Twelve to defend the Cup, Freedom. Bill Langan assisted him in his work . Although there was nothing revolutionary about Freedom's hull, she was greatly inspired by the unfortunate Enterprise ( 1977 ), and was the result of in-depth research into reducing pitching and windage of the hull, giving one of the lowest in the water in 1980. Only one day was spent tank testing, with models of Enterprise and Freedom.

In the races, it was the professionalism of Dennis Conner that gained the upper hand. The pressure had never been so great after the outcome of the 1980 challenge. But the ever-elegant Olin Stephens was able to retire with dignity: out of eight Cup challenges since 1958, seven Twelves had come from Sparkman & Stephens !

There was a crowd in attendance at the launch of the third America's Cup defender designed and built by the Herreshoff brothers. As ever, the boat has been built in an utmost secrecy, forbidding the access of the yard to every journalists and photographers. This time the defender helm was put in the hands of Charles Barr. This was the first time that the famous Scottish skipper, living in he States for some years , had been entrusted with a defender. Captain Nat  was to be his co-skipper.

As John Brown predicted, Columbia's steel mast broke after the first trials, due to electrolysis. It was replaced by another in Oregon pine for the rest of the trials. The final race was held on October 20th. The struggle was hard and none of the two teams managed to take a decisive advantage till the last mark. The two were now both fighting against the wind. They heeled over impressively, stemposts dipping into the spray and lifting immense cascades of water.Throughout this first windward beat, Archie Hogarth tried all he knew to escape Columbia, who was controlling him mercilessly. Columbia obviously cut better through the choppy sea, whereas Shamrock had to force her way through and tossed violently the Defender flying her mainsail, staysail and jib, performed marvellously and hauled the wind without losing speed, her sais always full. Scarcely 5 minutes after rounding the mark, Columbia had the race in her pocket. Shamrock tacked first after 20 mninutes, followed the Americans. The difference separating the two yachts could now be seen, since, from the same initial point, Columbia was already 1/8 mile to windward of the Irish. Barr decided to slacken off to avoid breakages and to make sure of victory, as he was a quarter of a mile to windward of his pursuer, and won easily.

The American skipper and the defender had fulfilled their contract, with their three crushing victories over Sir Thomas Lipton's yacht. Columbia had no difficulty in beating Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock, designed by Fife Jr III. Before his promise to come back to the following America's Cup, Sir Thomas Lipton paid tribute to his rival: "Mister Herreshoff has shown that he is the greatest yacht designer in the world".


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