It was spring when Richard E. Carter, John Bower and Johnny Stouffer set off on a 1,000-mile voyage from Nassau, Bahamas, to New York. Yachting covered the adventure of the 33-foot Medalist Rabbit in April 1966.
After debuting in what was known at the time as the Southern Ocean Circuit, Rabbit was set for a nonstop voyage with her arrival planned just in time for the Block Island Race. Three hours out of Nassau, a squall formed — the first of many during the run north. Rabbit endured the second half of the journey without power. The radiotelephone was out and the engine was dead, meaning Rabbit was a true sailing vessel.
After 12 days, Rabbit made it to New York Harbor, entering with a dramatic wind gust that brought her in at 8 knots. The crew watched as the sun set on the Manhattan skyline before enjoying their first full night’s sleep since departing.
One-man watches during the night — two hours on, four hours off — allowed the men to monitor the squalls. One night, Carter awoke to ominous news from his shipmates: The battery was dying. “We were to learn you accept what is given to you by Mother Nature; there is no point in fretting,” he said.