Terry HUTCHINSON is one of three former winners competing in the Long Beach Yacht Club's ISAF Grade 1 40th Congressional Cup next Tuesday through Saturday, along with Australia's Peter GILMOUR and New Zealand's Gavin BRADY.
All three have found a good living in sailboat racing and, Hutchinson says, they can thank Gary JOBSON for that.
Jobson, one of the sport's most respected international TV commentators and author, won't be in Long Beach, as planned. For his contributions to the sport, he was scheduled to receive an honorary Crimson Blazer emblematic of victory in the prestigious match racing event but was forced to cancel because of recurring health problems in his year-old battle with lymphoma.
Jobson wrote in an e-mail, "You can't imagine how disappointed I am to miss the Long Beach event. I was really touched that LBYC thought of me. This most recent setback has been the toughest of the past year because it was unexpected. I'm now working with a physical therapist to get walking again. What a tough road. But I fully intend to recover."
In Jobson's absence, Bill DALESSI, himself an honorary recipient as one of the founders of the Congressional Cup, will receive the blazer for him during the Skippers Dinner Monday night.
Hutchinson won his in 1992 and, as tactician for Ken READ last year, helped the winner into another. Jobson, 54, competed in the Congressional Cup in the late 70s and 80s and never won as a skipper but, Hutchinson said, is more deserving of a jacket than some who did. They grew up in the same town: Annapolis, Md.
"We're feeling the benefits now of the impact he has had on our sport,"
Hutchinson said of Jobson. "He's always been a mentor for me. Every professional sailor has him to thank in some way . . . paving the way to be a professional sailor, to put it on TV and to show ESPN that this was a viable sport to market."
For example, Hutchinson leads Team Annapolis Volvo, reflecting his sponsorship. It started with the spectacular 1986-87 America's Cup at Fremantle, Western Australia, where Jobson was the lead TV commentator for ESPN. Gilmour was tactician and starting helmsman for defender Australia II. The event also launched him onto a successful career that bore immediate fruit when he won the Congressional Cup a year later. Brady, the winner in '96 and '97, and Hutchinson were of the next generation.
"It's amazing how much the game has evolved,"
Hutchinson said. "It's a lot more aggressive."
Hutchinson, now 35, didn't lack aggression when he won 12 years ago, but he says he's more prudent about applying it now.
he said. "Three kids will do that to you. The best guys are aggressive when they need to be, but they never lose sight of the big picture, which is to win the start and sail the boat well. It's a matter of [knowing] when to be aggressive and when to back off and not lose the race trying to go for the kill."
Hutchinson, who was with Paul CAYARD'S AmericaOne and Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes in the last two America's Cups, has been practicing at home in Annapolis with three other Congressional Cup entries: Brady, who has made his home there for several years; Ed BAIRD of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Kelvin HARRAP of New Zealand.
Although Hutchinson felt he might be "rusty," he and his crew know how to win. Four of his five crew members were in the Congressional Cup finals last year. Tactician Chris LARSON and Skip BAXTER sailed with Brady, while Hutchinson, Morgan TRUBOVICH and Andrew SCOTT were with Read. Greg GENDELL is the fifth crew member.
Others in the lineup are local contender Scott DICKSON, Long Beach; Allan COUTTS and Cameron APPLETON of New Zealand; Jes GRAM-HANSEN, Denmark, and Mattias RAHM, Sweden.