The story goes that one day in the early 1960s, David Brown, chairman of Aston Martin, “entered a board meeting at which some of his engineers were in attendance, plunked his hunting dog down on the table and said, ‘Build me something for him to sit in.’” Brown, who made a fortune building tractors during World War II, had become the quintessential English gentleman, racing horses, playing polo and shooting grouse, and wanted a vehicle he could use on his estate for country pursuits. In 1947 he’d seen a classified advertisement in The Times of London offering a “High Class Motor Business” for sale, and subsequently acquired Aston Martin for £20,500. He then had the company’s now legendary series of ‘DB’ cars, beginning with the DB2 in 1950, named after him using his initials.
With a course of nearly 3,000 miles from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point on the southwestern corner of England, the Transatlantic Race is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race and one of the ultimate tests of a sailor’s skill. Nearly 50 boats running the gamut from 40-footers to superyachts, and modern racing machines to 100-year-old classics from all over the world competed in the 2015 edition which just wrapped up. Chicago-based Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63’ Lucky was confirmed as the winner by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron of Cowes, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.
A majestic sight greeted visitors to Portland, Maine’s waterfront the other day: the only active commissioned sailing vessel in American military service. The 295-ft. USCG Eagle, used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard, visited the city as part of the Tall Ships Portland Festival. The ship has a rather interesting history. Built as the German training vessel Horst Wessel in 1936, Adolf Hitler presided at its launch and once used living quarters aboard ship. It served to train German sailors in sail techniques until decommissioned at the start of World War II, then was re-commissioned in 1942 fitted with anti-aircraft guns. At the end of the conflict it was taken by the U.S. as part of war reparations and re-christened Eagle.
The 2015 edition of the Henley Royal Regatta, first established in 1839, took place a couple weeks back, with nearly 200 races over the five-day event on the River Thames. A highlight of the English social season as well as a world-class sporting event, it combines competition and camaraderie in the best British tradition. In the top result of this year’s proceedings, Great Britain’s men’s eight beat Olympic champions Germany in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup. Rowing as Leander and Molesey Boat Club, the world champions won by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Though many U.S. crew teams entered competition, the only one to make a strong showing was the University of Washington, which having earlier knocked out the Harvard University ‘A’ in the Semi-Finals beat Yale to bring home the Prince Albert Challenge Cup. In some ways not much has changed at Henley in the past 50 years; on the other hand, they now have a YouTube channel. Always one of the most colorful events on the calendar, thanks to the nattiness of the spectators and the crews’ and club members’ rowing blazers, it’s also known for having the strictest dress code of the summer season.
In 1967 British police raided Redlands, Keith Richards’ Sussex estate, finding a stash of pot and amphetamines. With a court case looming, the Rolling Stone’s guitarist decided to “do a runner,” in the words of his 2010 biography Life – that is, drive to Morocco in his 1965 Bentley S3 Continental ‘Flying Spur’, aka Blue Lena, with model Anita Pallenberg, fellow Stone Brian Jones and a couple of friends. “We decided to get out of England and not go back until it was time for the court case,” Richards recounts. Another important decision: “It would be better to find somewhere where we could get legal drugs.” They flew to Paris where Keith’s driver met them with the car and then made their tortuous way to Tangier.
There’s something about the prospect of staying in a lighthouse that adds an element of rugged nautical adventure to any trip. The small rocky island that’s home to the Inn at Cuckold’s Lighthouse may not be far off the coast of Maine’s Boothbay Harbor, but arriving there feels a bit like abandoning civilization; until you see how elegant it is inside. Nearly 12 years and $3 million in the making, the Inn, which has only two spacious suites is currently celebrating its first full (and completely sold out) season. One of just a handful of lighthouses you can stay in around New England, it was originally constructed as a fog signal station in 1892. In 1907 a light tower was added, greatly aiding the development of Boothbay Harbor as a safe haven for both commercial fishermen and summer residents.
Earlier this year, Kempt declared a six-month moratorium on Steve McQueen. Amusing and all, but there’s a reason we didn’t sign on. McQueen madness comes in waves, and it’d be a dereliction of duty to ignore the one about to break. Not in fact on the style front; until you burn all your shawl collar cardigans in Tompkins Square it’s useless to debate his permanence and pre-eminence on that score. But we’re feeling more McQueen than ever this summer thanks to various happenings in the land of the King. For starters, his wicked 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo is coming up for auction in August during Monterey Car Week. A new graphic novel called Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool is about to become our favorite beach read. And a documentary about his classic 1971 racing flick Le Mans which debuted at Cannes was just tapped for theatrical release this fall. And we all know that three makes a trend piece.