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Doug Peterson says only, "Part of my reason for keeping the weight low was to keep the cost down, but after my calculations I decided she would also be better. I felt other designers were trying to get the most size allowed under the rule, so I went back to the basics of what I thought it took to make a boat go fast."
If any doubt remained as to Ganbare's speed it vanished in the fourth race, the longest of the series, which sent the fleet twice around the offshore course for a distance of 257 miles in moderate to light conditions. As soon as the boats sorted themselves out after the start there was the now familiar pattern of Ganbare and Ydra out in front, with the rest battling for third. Tino Straulino, sailing Ydra, not only was familiar with local oddities of wind and current but had a record few helmsmen could match: three times Star Class world champion, 10 times European champion, plus gold and silver medals in Olympic competition, capped with a 5.5 Class world championship. With two passages through the Strait of Bonifacio ahead, the odds were in his favor, but Ganbare led Ydra across the finish by the rather heady margin of 14 minutes, 46 seconds. She was also flying a protest flag, having thought Ydra had carried for several hours a spinnaker staysail that was too long on the luff. It was a painful moment for Tino Straulino and Owner Marina Spaccarelli when Chief Measurer Robin Glover came aboard and found the sail indeed too long—but only by four inches. Under the rules, Ydra could have been disqualified and Ganbare would have been almost assured of the happiest of endings to the Cinderella script, but Peterson sportingly wrote the race committee he did not wish to "carry the protest any further...[as] it is quite obviously a normal amount of stretch."
To make sure the series represented a true test by providing all variations of weather, the gods decreed a drifting match for the final Olympic-course race. After a delay of two hours and a half, while the crews swam and visited, a feeble easterly filled in. The previous afternoon I had sailed aboard Ganbare in similar conditions, and had never felt a boat more responsive to the faintest zephyr. Going to windward she was so well balanced that it was best to let her sail herself, with only an occasional twitch of the helm, and on a spinnaker reach her acceleration seemed to create its own wind. Thus I shared her crew's certainty that Ganbare would be first. With Ydra having put the cup out of reach, the only question remaining for followers of the American odyssey was how many boats would get between Ganbare and New Zealand's Hann. If Chris Bouzaid finished at least fourth he would be second in the series, not Peterson.
True to form, Ganbare won by a hard to believe 41 minutes, 15 seconds over a 25-mile course in a class where boats are supposed to race even. Ydra was second and then came the pair of Robins, Ted Hood sailing this year's centerboard model into third, with a Canadian group which had chartered the '72 keel version slipping into fourth, ahead of Hann.
And so in the final cup standings Ydra, Ganbare and Hann were followed by Ted Hood's Robin, Australia's Chloe, America's Lightnin' the United Kingdom's Thunder, Italy's Sumbra III, the British Winsome and the Canadian Robin.
Although Doug Peterson did not take the One Ton Cup home, he nevertheless won his gamble. "My wife was upset and almost everyone else thought I was a fool to risk everything I could rake up and scrape up to build Ganbare," he confessed before leaving Porto Cervo. "But I could see no other way to break in as a designer. I started putting boats down on paper when I was 10, and have never wanted to do anything else. Yet it is tough to find someone who will build for you until you have proved yourself. I took the chance to get established."
Part of Peterson's background included working for naval architect Skip Calkins, long an advocate of light displacement, when still in high school. He quit college after two years "because I was too busy drawing boats to be a good student," and also because he wanted to go sailing. Joining the Stephens-designed Spirit, he crewed an Acapulco race, continued through the Panama Canal to participate in the '64 Bermuda race and, after returning, sailed the Transpac. Then came Navy duty that included two years in Japan plus leave to sail another Transpac and, after discharge, races to Tahiti and again to Bermuda. Always he was studying boat performance, making calculations and drawings and trying to find a client who would have faith in his designs. Finally, after working in a family business that seemed a dead end, Peterson was on the verge of taking a job with an established naval architect when he suddenly decided it was now or perhaps never. He contacted famed boat-builder Carl Eichenlaub of San Diego about building his One Tonner, and this was the turning point.
"I was lucky to run into Carl," Peterson says, "because there was no other way the boat could have been built within my budget. He had trust in me as a new designer, and paid personal attention to every detail even though the boat had to be built as cheaply as possible."
Doug also gives credit to crew members Ron Holland and Bill Greene, who not only have sailed aboard Ganbare from the first but also worked night and day to be ready for the start of the elimination trials. Other members of the team in Sardinia included Lowell North, Driscoll and Gary Weisman.
The excitement that surrounded Ganbare somewhat obscured another drama, Italian style. Ydra, built in Germany and leading on points last year in the One Ton championship in Australia until her headstay parted in a long offshore race, was the fourth boat bought by Signora Spaccarelli for Tino Straulino to sail in an effort to bring the One Ton Cup to Italy. Their victory was not only popular but earned, since from the first the series was a two-boat match race, Ganbare and Ydra covering each other like 12-meter racing for the America's Cup off Newport and paying scant attention to the rest of the fleet. If Ganbare had to lose through her own error, it was fitting that Ydra should win.