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AC35: Cup arrival a tribute to Jordy Walker

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While Bermuda celebrated its historic America's Cup success, one of the island's finest sailors turned his thoughts to “the guy who made this whole thing possible”.

It is possible only a select few of the thousands that descended on Front Street last night would have known the name “Jordy Walker”.

But in the eyes of legendary local sailor, Warren Brown, Mr Walker is the reason why the Auld Mug will be handed out in Bermuda in 2017.

“The America's Cup would not be coming to Bermuda had it not been for Jordy Walker,” he said.

“At a time when there were no shipwrights in Bermuda and the wooden boats were breaking up Jordy continued to make his yachts up in Dockyard for the Gold Cup teams.

“This meant that all these great sailors from the US kept coming back to Bermuda and learned how to sail here.

“If Jordy Walker had not built those boats and allowed the Gold Cup to continue the America's Cup would never have come here.

“Those great sailors got a taste for Bermuda and got to know the waters through Jordy's boats and through the Gold Cup.

“His work is the catalyst that brought the America's Cup here.”

Walker, a former Olympic sailor and ex-Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore, died in December 2010 at the age of 71.

He was one of the most prominent figures in the history of local sailing competing at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and managing the Bermuda team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Mr Brown, famed for his War Baby ocean racers, told The Royal Gazette he was delighted to hear that Bermuda had been given the honour of hosting the 2017 America's Cup.

He also admits to a small part of him wishing he could compete in one of the only international sailing competitions he was never able to participate in himself.

He said: “People of my vintage that came from Bermuda never had the opportunity to sail in the America's Cup.

“We could not have a Bermuda team; you had to be in the US for two years training and that just was not practical. Today it would still be very difficult for a Bermudian to become part of the America's Cup.

“But it could be done.”

Mr Brown, who has logged more than 300,000 miles at sea and taken part in the Newport-Bermuda Race 20 times in 11 different boats, added: “I never thought I would see the America's Cup in Bermuda, mainly because up until the recent era the size of the course and the size of the boats would not allow it.

“But now, it just happens to fit.

“Just to have it once is wonderful.

“I can't wait to see it here and I believe we can do a great job.

“But we have got to get ready today. We can not sit around and wait. There is so much that needs to be sorted out before these teams start coming in and we need to get to work straight away.

“We are going to need a lot of people working together.”

Legendary: Warren Brown has been a world travelled sailor of Bermuda. He is sometimes referred to as the “grandfather” of the sailing faternity (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Award: Commodore Ralph Richardson presents the Llew Gibbons Award to RBYC Past Commodore Jordy Walker

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Published December 04, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 04, 2014 at 12:35 am)

AC35: Cup arrival a tribute to Jordy Walker

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