Pure Genius: Ted Hood

The master rigger left his mark.

Ted Hood
Hood was almost as well-known for his magnanimous nature as he was for his sailing expertise.Ted Hood
Ted Hood
Ted Hood was an expert sailor.Mystic Seaport Rosenfeld Collection

Ted Hood was a legend in his own time. The helmsman on the 1974 America’s Cup winner Courageous and a highly influential yachtsman, designer, and rigging builder, Hood symbolized the apotheosis of the yachting life.

Hood built his first sailboat at the ripe old age of 7, and after serving in the Navy during World War II, he went on to lead a sailing revolution, helping to usher in the age of Dacron sails as cotton became passe. Hood’s sail designs were so good that — incredibly — between 1958 and 1977, every single America’s Cup winner used sails made by Hood Sailmakers.

Later in his life, Hood founded two powerboat companies, Ted Hood Yachts and Little Harbor Yachts, as market forces in the boating industry began to change.

But he will probably always be best remembered for his sailing exploits, which were truly remarkable.