Ted Turner

Captain Outrageous

April 24, 2002
Suki Coughlin

Media mogul Turner (b. 1938) was an intense ocean racer and a one-design champion in the 5.5-Meter and Flying Dutchman. He helped bring international attention to the America’s Cup with his upset success as defender in 1977 with the first aluminum 12-Meter, Courageous. His antics during and immediately after the Cup, coupled with his obvious mastery of sailboat racing made him both popular and controversial.

In 1979 Turner skippered the 61-foot Tenacious (a 1971 S&S design) to victory in the Fastnet race, which was marred by disaster when a fierce storm ravaged the fleet. In that same year, he won the Miami-Montego Bay race. Turner was awarded the Yachtsman of the Year award on four different occasions.

An interview with Playboy magazine shortly after that eventful year sums up Turner to a T. “Watch me. I’m like a bulldog that won’t let go. Why do you think my own racing yacht is named Tenacious, dummy?
Interviewer: We give up. Why?
“Because I never quit. I’ve got a bunch of flags on my boat, but there ain’t no white flags. I don’t surrender. That’s the story of my life.”


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