Frederick E. "Ted" Hood: Sailmaker & Designer

Ted Hood

Ted Hood (1927-2013) built his first small boat at age seven, and went on to become a sailmaker, boatbuilder, yacht designer, innovator, and superlative sailor. In 1955, he opened Hood Sailmakers in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and grew it from a one-man show into a worldwide industry leader, the first sailmaker to weave his own Dacron cloth. A man of few words and a constant tinkerer, Hood also established well-respected businesses in mast construction and yacht design, and is credited with innovations such as the grooved headstay and roller reefing.

Ted Hood on roof with boom

In 1974, he skippered Courageous to a 4-0 America's Cup victory. He also won ocean races ranging from the Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) to the Marblehead-Halifax, many at the helm of his own boats. In the 1980s, he created and built the Little Harbor series of sailboats and built the Ted Hood Marine Complex in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He went on to open another independent design company, Ted Hood Yachts, also in Portsmouth, focusing on oceangoing powerboats and motorsailers. Worldwide, more than 1,500 yachts of his design have been built by various builders. He's in both the America's Cup and National Sailing Halls of Fame and is remembered as a gentleman. "Oh, I wanted to win," he once said after tweaking sails for one of his America's Cup competitors, "but against the best possible boat."

Hood was considered the quintessential yachtsman, during a time when specialties were not the norm, said New York Yacht Club vice commodore Rives Potts. "He was the most forward-thinking, complete yachtsman of that generation, and maybe of generations to come. Nowadays, we have guys who are excellent helmsmen, or tacticians, or bowmen, or are good yacht designers or sailmakers. Ted Hood was all those and more." 

— Published: April/May 2016

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