Lucie, Lulu – All About Sailboats

Briggs Cunningham married Lucie Bedford in 1928, and when Briggs commissioned Clinton Crane to design a Six Metre a couple years later, Briggs named the boat Lucie. That may sound like a romantic tip of the cap to one’s new bride, but Briggs did it again in 1937 when he commissioned a newer design from Sparkman & Stephens and named it Lulu, which was Lucie’s nickname.

Lucie “Lulu” Bedford Cunningham

Lucie’s father, Frederick T. Bedford, was an active sailor, who co-owned an 8-Metre with Briggs in the ‘20s. Lucie was an excellent competitive sailor, who won the 1928 Star Atlantic Coast Championship. According to Briggs, Lynn was the one who really taught him to sail, racing in Stars out of Pequot Yacht Club in Southport, Connecticut, so perhaps there was more to it than romance. 

Briggs went on to win multiple titles in the Six-Metre Class and to be the winning skipper of Columbia in the 1958 America’s Cup, but he always had extraordinary respect for his wife’s sailing abilities and as you might expect, they frequently sailed together.  

Just like Lucie, Briggs Cunningham’s 1938 Sparkman & Stephens design Lulu was named after his wife, Lucie “Lulu” Bedford Cunningham.

As Yachting Magazine reported in a 1931 article about Briggs’ early success aboard his Six Metre Lucie, “In most of the races, his wife, the former Lucie Bedford, who won her laurels in the Star Class, sails with him and has proved an able assistant.”

A few decades later, here’s what he said about Lucie to Sports Illustrated (1960) in answer to the question of whether he sailed with his wife:

“Like all women, she does what she likes. So whether I take her along depends on what the race is and whether or not she is interested in going. She’s a top racer, and I’m frank in admitting that she and her sister taught me to sail. We’ve raced together on Six-Meter boats and occasionally won.”

Lucie Featured in the Forties

In 1946, the Editors of Yachting Magazine published a book named Your New Boat that described an array of different sailboat designs of the time. The featured example for the Six-Meter page was none other than Clinton Crane’s Lucie.  

Here’s an excerpt:

The Six-Meter yacht has been the vehicle of some of the finest international yachting competition, and will doubtless be so again as yachting strikes its normal gait. Before the war, it was one of the leading classes in all the yachting nations of Europe as well as the principal yachting centers in this country. As a rating class, it has been a battleground of designers as well as of sailors, with every new boat a little different (and often a little faster) than the old ones. As a result, competing designers seldom permit publication of the lines of their latest boats.

However, Clinton H. Crane, of New York, a leading designer and skipper of Sixes for many years, has furnished these lines of Lucie, one of the outstanding Sixes of the ‘30s. Her dimensions—36.9’ LOA; 22.7’ LWL; 6.38’ beam and 5.27’ draft—are typical of the class. The accompanying sail plan was drawn for the same yacht by Olin Stephens and substituted for the original rig, which had become obsolete after a year or two of racing, owing to developments in designing and in the rules of the class.

10th Among All Classics, Lucie Wins Silver at 2019 Worlds

The wind lightened up during the second half of the 2019 Six Metre World Championship at Hanko, Finland, and Lucie moved up in the fleet. Unfortunately, the wind died completely, which left Lucie off the podium at the end of the regatta, yet the team came away with two coveted trophies, nonetheless.

Lucie, on pace upwind on Day Three of the 2019 Worlds.

On the third day of racing, with skipper Craig Healy at the helm, Lucie scored a fourth and a ninth, moving up to 10th place out of 32 boats racing in the Classics Division. Ahead of Lucie were boats from Spain, France, Germany, five Finnish boats, and USA teammate Goose, which held fourth place. 

Six Metre Worlds Lucie
Lucie, at right, makes good time downwind in light winds. All photos by Jens Lange

On the final day of racing, the fleet started Race 7 in light air that died out completely as the race committee attempted to shorten the race at the first mark but then abandoned it due to improper committee procedure. “We thought we’d finished third in that race,which would have moved us up a couple places in the standings,” said Craig, “but ultimately it was abandoned.”  

Lucie sneaks around the first mark near the front of the fleet in Race 7.

According to Craig, the winner of the Classics, Bribon, co-helmed by the King of Spain, had an amazing string of scores. “We weren’t quite as fast,” he said, “but our crew sailed Lucie well, and we had a good time. I had said at the outset that if we finished in the top 5 we would be hitting it out of the park. I thought finishing in the top 10 was a reasonable goal and that’s where we finished.”

A beautiful white bow works through choppy waters of Hanko.

Lucie is several years older than most of the Classics she raced against and won a pair of beautiful perpetual trophies she also captured at several previous world championships. The Baum & Konig Trophy is presented to the top “vintage” boat in the Classic Division using original spars and Dacron sails. The KSSS Trophy is for the top Classic Division boat built to Rule 1 and 2 of the Six-Metre Rule.  

See final results here.

KSSS Trophy Lucie Crew
Lucie’s crew poses with the KSSS Trophy, one of two Classic Division awards they earned for 2019.

Lucie’s crew for the 2019 Worlds represented the St. Francis Yacht Club and included Isabelle du Moulin, Tom Ducharme, John Hayes, Keith Stahnke, and Craig Healy.

Jens Lange smiles for the camera after dressing Lucie for shipment back to the U.S.