So great was the chatter about sail-power that it somewhat obscured the fact that seven different hulls had a part in the long competition. And it is very likely that hull design was a more critical factor. Sails can be recut; remodeling a hull takes time and costs a bundle. Since 1958 eight different naval architects have created prospective defenders of the Cup. Five of the six hulls finally selected to defend in the eight campaigns were the products of Olin Stephens and his assistants. Before Australia and Freedom met, each of the seven designers involved this year was asked in a private poll to rank the designs of his six rivals. Stephen's Freedom won going away. Clipper, the boat that finished second in the U.S. eliminations, also stood second in the poll. Australia, the challenger, was third. Considering his record on the racecourse and his ranking among his colleagues, Stephens must be doing something right.
The prospect of winning a Cup that has never been won by a challenger is probably what keeps challengers coming back for more. Whatever the reason, there are already a half dozen foreign syndicates laying plans for a try in 1983. In the past many of the boats involved in Cup competition have had lofty names like Resolute, Endeavour, Sceptre, Valkyrie, Intrepid, Sovereign and Courageous. For a change of luck, a challenger of the future might consider something more to the point. In view of how things have been going for the past 110 years, the most fitting name for any foreign boat would be Don Quixote. It's that kind of quest, that kind of dream.