mardi 30 octobre 2012


Britton Chance Jr. 1940-2012
American Yacht Designer

By François Chevalier & Jacques Taglang

We learned with great sadness the death of Britton Chance Jr. on October 12, 2012.For us he will remain the lead designer of the successful 12 Meter Stars & Stripes US-55 (1987 America’s Cup campaign in Perth, Australia) and the amazing wing cat Stars & Stripes (1988 America’s Cup campaign in San Diego, USA).

©François Chevalier - Stars & Stripes 1988 catamaran

©François Chevalier - Twelve Meter Stars & Stripes US-55 1987

We tend to forget his previous implications in the Cup.

So, in 1969 he modified Intrepid for Bill Ficker, the victorious 1967 defender of the Cup, which was designed by Olin J. Stephens. Intrepid defeated the Australian Twelve Dame Pattie (4-0). The radical alteration of Intrepid designed by Brit in 1969 was so radical that Olin didn’t recognize his boat… No matter! After Columbia in 1899 and 1901, Intrepid defended successfully the Cup for the second time beating the Australian challengers with their Gretel II (4-1).

©François Chevalier - Intrepid 1970 Sail Plan - Original drawing by Olin J. Stephens 1967
©François Chevalier - Intrepid 1970 Altered by Britton Chance - Original drawing by Olin J. Stephens in 1967

Involved in the America’s Cup, Baron Marcel Bich commissioned Chance to design him a trial horse for his 1970 challenge. This Twelve was built by Swiss yacht builder Egger and the boat was christened Chancegger
©François Chevalier - Chancegger sail plan, 1970
©François Chevalier - Chancegger lines 1970

Britton Chance didn’t like to recall he had designed a defender candidate in 1974 for the King’s Point Fund’s, Inc. & US Merchant Marine Academy, Mariner… Ted Turner and Dennis Conner alternatively skippered this yacht during the defender selection against Courageous (Olin J. Stephens design). Unsuccessfully. This yacht was a dramatic failure for Brit.
©François Chevalier - Mariner sail plan 1974

When we were working on our book “America’s Cup Yacht Designs”, François went to US in 1985 to meet some designers and ask them some information about their designs. When he met Britton Chance it was for him a terrible experience. Once Brit heard François asking some sketches and drawings of Mariner he said: “There is no question of giving to you any drawings dealing with this Twelve! You must understand that!” François was deeply disappointed, even if Brit gave him the drawings of his altered Intrepid and Chancegger.
©François Chevalier - Mariner lines 1974

Of course with the benefit of hindsight, Britton’s reaction is understandable. In any event later back in France François succeed to redraw the line of Mariner thanks to photos of the sections drawn on the floor of Robert E. Derecktor shipyard and accurate observations of dozens of photos of Mariner hull!

We know Brit owned our book. He never criticized our work… Merci à toi, Britton Chance!

NOTE : lines and sail plans are printed with sections in our book "America's Cup Yacht Designs". Some last copies are still available. Please ask:

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