A146, already very well travelled, changed hands and went across the Atlantic

No history of racing by Atalantas would be complete without mention of Rod White who sailed A146, Bluff, in the 1976 Observer Single Handed Transatlantic Race starting from Plymouth on June 7. On day 5, when the wind was gusting Force 8, the rudder broke. Feeling that it was too early in the venture to turn back, Rod attached the self-steering to the rudder stock and went south to avoid the storms. This course made him a prisoner in the high pressure region and he was becalmed so that the days went by until it was unlikely that he would arrive at Newport Rhode Island within the 7 week time limit.

Fortunately, Bluff carried a very ample store of food and water, some in the engine bay and some in the peak where the engine and the heads had been removed before starting out. Rod did not escape all the bad weather and his laconic account of the crossing, which appeared in the 1976-77 edition of the Bulletin makes exciting reading. At noon (local time) on August 5, two calendar months after leaving Plymouth he reached the finishing line at Brenton Reef Tower saying that it had all been good fun. No doubt the broken rudder, which affected the boat’s performance robbed him of a much better time but, even so, Rod had the satisfaction of beating a Folkboat, a Rival 32 and a 28ft junk rigged boat, which took the wooden spoon.

Rod White sold Bluff in America to Col. Coile and she changed hands again later at which stage the Association lost track of her until David Walworth, then a student at St John’s College, Annapolis, found her looking very neglected and half full of water in a local boat yard. He and some friends spent many hours restoring Bluff which he renamed Le Bateau Ivre. After her refit she sailed from Chesapeake Bay to Freeport, Long Island, and now cruises regularly on the eastern seaboard.

For salvaging one of its most renowned boats, the Association awarded David the Sinclair Trophy at the AGM in 1988. This trophy is a painting of an Atalanta presented to the Association by Mrs Daphne Sinclair in memory of her husband, a keen Atalanta owner for almost twenty years. The trophy is awarded annually for notable service to the Association.

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