Lucie Bedford Cunningham Warren

Painting of Mrs Warren and here namesake

I am now aware of the recent passing of Lucie Bedford Cunningham Warren, who died on July 16, 2012 at age 104.

Mrs Warren was the first wife of the famous sportsman, America’s Cup winner and 6 metre sailor, Briggs Cunningham. She was the namesake for 2 of his six-metre boats, US 36 Lucie, ex. Akaba and US 55 Lucie. Mrs Warren was the granddaughter of Edward T. Bedford, a co-founder and director of the Stanford Oil Company. Her father, Frederick T. Bedford, was also a successful businessman who commissioned the S&S design US 77 Fun, built alongside Briggs Cunningham’s US 72 Lulu, which was named for Lucie and Briggs’ daughter.

The first major series of 6 metre regattas where it appears Mrs Cunningham played a role were the various 1930 Riviera championships in France and Italy, including the Coupe des Nations, a team racing trophy donated by Mr Cunningham and fellow American W.H. Bowes worth around €20.000 in today’s currency. Mrs Cunningham recalled that at these regattas her assignment was to “keep an eye for Frenchmen, who never seemed to follow the rules.” All of this racing took place while the recently married Cunninghams were on their honeymoon. Lucie Bedford Cunningham also sailed in some of the female only racing that took place there.

Later that year (1930) she sailed on US 36 Lucie at the British American Team races on Long Island Sound. British press of the day described the Cunningham’s boat and the young Mrs Cunningham thus:

“Lucie (by Clinton Crane, 1928); Briggs S Cunningham owner and steersman. As Akaba, Lucie did not like the Clyde gales of 1928, and little wonder; but she carried the Seawanhaka Cup back from Norway. She is the measure by which we estimate our chances. Mrs Cunningham, mate, suitably dressed in sleeveless blouse, navy blue shorts, and socks, is as active as a kitten, and as vigilant as a weasel…”

From anyone I have spoken to who knew her, Mrs Warren was generous with her time and thoughts, direct in her feelings and opinions and was an asset for our Class in the early days in the USA.

Matt Cockburn, North American 6 metre Historian

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