Ted Hood Dies at 86

Ted Hood

Ted Hood in 1958 (Photo by Carleton Mitchell)

Famous sailmaker, yacht designer, and racer Ted Hood died on Friday, June 28, 2013 at the age of 86.

Born in Beverley, MA in 1927, Frederick E. “Ted” Hood grew up in Danvers and Marblehead and served in the Navy in World War Two.

An avid sailor, he founded Hood Sailmakers in 1955 and was the firstĀ  to weave his own sail cloth using an innovative technique that improved the tightness and efficiency of his sails. The company grew into a worldwide entity that supplied sails to many successful racers of the era, including all of the America’s Cup victors from 1958 to 1977.

His talent for innovation led him to found Hood Yachts Systems, which built spars and custom rigging. He invented ground-breaking marine hardware including the Gemini grooved headstay for racing, and the Seafurl and the Stoway Mast roller-reefing systems for cruising.

A successful skipper and designer, Hood made his mark in 1959 by winning the New York Yacht Club annual Cruise in the first of a series of boats named Robin. His many victories on the water were highlighted by the Mallory Cup in 1956, the Marblehead-Halifax Race in 1961 and 1971, the Newport-Bermuda Race in 1968 and the SORC in 1974. Also in 1974, as skipper of the Sparkman & Stephens designed Courageous he won the America’s Cup sailing away from Australia’s Southern Cross, 4-0.

By the early 1980’s Ted had turned his attention away from sail making and to boat building and design. He created a line of sailboats under the Little Harbor brand, and constructed many yachts under that name from 38- to 78-feet long.

In 1999, he sold his business but according to the biography posted on tedhood.com, he remained active in design work right up to his passing.

In 2006, Hood wrote his autobiography, “Ted Hood: Through Hand and Eye,” with Michael Levitt. The book was published by Mystic Seaport.