Sailing legend passes
Ted Hood aboard his Expedition 55, Robin. The iconic sailmaker, designer, yachtsman, and entrepreneur has crossed the bar.
Ted Hood, yachtsman, sailmaker, designer, and entrepreneur died in Middletown, R.I., on June 28. He was 86 years old.
Born in Beverly, Mass., Frederick Emmart Hood grew up in Danvers and Marblehead, Mass., and built his first boat at the age of 7. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and upon his return began repairing sails at his family home in Marblehead.
At a time when sails were made of cotton canvas or hemp, the young Hood found them to be poorly cut and heavy. Cotton and hemp were quickly being replaced by a new synthetic, Dacron, and Hood, along with his engineer/chemist father Ralph Stedman Hood, developed a new process for making sailcloth.
Together they founded Hood Sailmakers and went on to build what were at the time the most competitive sails available along with Hood’s innovations in rigging and hardware. From 1958 to 1977 Hood Sails were aboard every America’s Cup winner including Courageous, the cup defender that he skippered in 1974.
Hood was also a legendary yacht designer and along with many cruising and racing boats, he designed the 12-meter Nefertiti and American Promise, for Dodge Morgan’s 150-day solo circumnavigation in 1985-1986.
In the mid-1980s Hood sold Hood Sailmakers and focused his efforts on designing both power and sailing yachts; he founded Little Harbor Yachts and developed a major marine complex in Portsmouth, R.I., on a former Navy property, now known as the East Passage Yachting Center.
Hood continued to design, innovate, and improve sailing until his death. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Susan, and four children.