In 1974, Ted Turner drafted Doyle, only 24 years old at the time,
for the unsuccessful America’s Cup defender trial with Mariner.
The boat was seriously off the pace, but once dispatched from
the competition, Doyle was invited by the Courageous Syndicate
to help develop its sails. Courageous defended against Australia’s
Southern Cross, and three years later, Doyle joined Turner again, this time aboard Courageous. It was here, in
1977, that I sailed alongside the man with shoulders
as broad as his smile, and where I quickly
learned what made him unique. He’s highly
intelligent and methodical in his sailing, seeking
technical improvements through trial, error
and careful analysis. With Doyle, the science has
always been the art.
Doyle’s early mentors included Ted Hood and
MIT’s Dr. Jerome Milgram, a design contributor
to more than eight America’s Cup syndicates.
Both Hood and Milgram influenced Doyle’s fascination
with design efficiency. “Milgram was
a pioneer,” says Doyle. “He raised the level of
scientific analysis of yacht racing. He came up
with the idea of testing sails in a water tank.
Unfortunately, the water made the sails change
shape due to softening the resin, but it was an
interesting test, and from that we did learn how
to design a faster shape.”