23-Feb-2009

Stephen Fry in America

America's Cup charters' Weatherly is prominently featured in the new book "Stephen Fry in America", Harper Collins publisher. The British actor and comedian wanted "to find out what is it that makes the United States of America so unique, so diverse, so very American..." This book is the companion piece to the BBC series by the same name.

Fry's plan was to explore America, all 50 States of this great Country, by London cab; participating is the defining activities of each State. For Rhode Island he chose to sail aboard an America's Cup 12 meter yacht out of Newport. Stephen and his film crew stepped aboard Weatherly (1962 America's Cup Defender) on a brisk autumn day for an afternoon sail. We didn't realize he considered himself "a physical coward in sporting endeavors, sailing not excluded" and that "sailing was for Other People. I do not especially mind being asked as a guest on board a boat, so long as I do not have to do anything more than sip wine." Owner/captain George Hill and his crew had other ideas and got him on the helm and by the end of the day had completely changed his opinion regarding the sport. To quote Fry, "This is real sailing, the power, speed and excitement is hard to convey... I enjoyed myself very much indeed. I will go further. I had one of the most pleasurable days of the 18,330 or so I have spent thus for on this confusing and beguiling planet. The speed, the precision, the astounding power bewitched me:  it was a glorious day, Newport Sound and Narragansett Bay sparkled and shimmered and glittered, the great bridges and landmarks around Newport shone in clean, clear light. You would have to be sullen and curmudgeonly indeed not to e enchanted, intoxicated and thrilled to the soles of your boat-shoes by this fabulous (and fabulously expensive) class of sailing." Our crew too, enjoyed themselves. The witty and talented Mr. Fry was delightful guest.

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