Sorry about that, Equation. Pity, Running Tide. Stiff upper, Charisma. They had the pedigrees, but little old Condor—the sloop with the yellow-topped spinnaker to your right—won the prize. No way she could have beaten the world's fanciest boats in the Southern Ocean Racing Conference, the winter's biggest sailing series, but last week she did. Her owner? Hill Blackett, a Chicago advertising man. "I was not," he said with perfect truth, "born into sailing."
While medium-sized boats like Indigo (top) and Cutlass were churning along far to the rear in the point-rich Miami-Nassau race, Blackett's Class D 41-footer was in among the leading Class A biggies. She did more than mingle; she finished sixth in the fleet to all but clinch the SORC title. The concluding Nassau Cup race three days later confirmed her triumph.
It had begun as a lark. Blackett's original destination was the West Indies, where he merely intended to breeze about for a while. But crewman Chris Martin and Blackett's son Buzz needled him into entering the Southern circuit. Condor thereupon outsailed most of the 100-boat fleet in the four races preceding Miami-Nassau and killed 'em in that one. Oh, there were reasons: smart sail trimming and navigation and Blackett's gambling instinct to split off from the fleet when he thought it wise. And maybe he was even blown along a bit by resentment of the way saltwater sailors like to lord it over his Lake Michigan freshwater breed.