Clipper – Best Paint Job

Clipper - Best Paint Job

Clipper was a David Pedrick 12 Metre, built at Newport Offshore, Ltd. by John Merrifield and I, including many others. This is where we first met. We liked each other from the get go. He was very intense which I had an affinity for, and I respected his resume. Every boat he had built was famous to me.

I arrived at Newport Offshore, Ltd with the 12M, Independence, which I had been sailing on, training for the next year’s America’s Cup, 1980. My team was going to build a new boat out of the old one. I was the only crew member who was a boatbuilder and the only one who stayed to help with the construction of the new one.

This paint job became known as an “A” paint job, everyone was very proud of it. Dark colors are mirrors and so unforgiving.

At the time of this photograph, exiting the building, the name on the boat was “Eagle” and it had a very large eagle painted on the transom. It was all covered up, so it could be a secret for the christening ceremonies the following day in front of 2,000 people and TV cameras. That afternoon Pan Am called the boss, Russell Long, and asked how their yacht “Clipper” was coming. They were going to be a major sponsor but hadn’t sent the money, so the name on all the tee shirts was Eagle. They wired money in and that night, in secret, I stayed with the artist and changed the name to Clipper. The following day in front of the cameras and crowd we fooled everybody by blessing the launch of Clipper. Our secret about the name Eagle wasn’t a secret, everyone knew, so everyone was quite shocked.