THE CLICK OF MY CAR SEAT BUCKLE

Today’s guest post is written by another grandchild of Bernard Olcott, Grant.  In his essay, Grant sends the entire family up the Highway to Hell, seemingly always on yet another road-trip.  When not working as an investment analyst at Investure, Grant is a college student at Middlebury College.

I love cars. Well, I should rephrase that. I don’t know all the parts or mechanics of the automobile. I can’t say I have a clear picture of the new Ford Fusion in my mind. I’ve never been to a car show, and I’m only starting to understand the difference between a BMW and a Benz.

So why do I love cars? I love being inside them. I love the warm intimacy such an enclosed space creates between two people. I love the thrill of reaching a destination, the fighting over the radio station, the comfort of drifting in and out of a drowsy sleep in the back seat, and, especially, the long meandering talks, spur-of-the-moment debates, and random lectures shared among the four seats that draw my family closer and closer together with each click of the odometer.

Advertisements

THE BIGGER IDEA (AS TED’S WINGMAN)

As recounted in my last post ‘THE INTERSECTION,” Dad went back to the patent drawing board in 1998 (at the young age of 80).  He was intrigued by various developments in the America’s Cup race, and as a new member of the New York Yacht Club, he set out to prove his bona fides both as a sailor and as an inventor.  Accompanied by his usual gusto for going with what he knew.  Natch.

By 1998, there had already been four America’s Cup races since the New York Yacht Club lost it in 1983.  A new challenge was pending in 2000 and Dad wanted in.

The race in 1983 had been won by the yacht Australia II due to its specialized keel design.  In fact, when the boat was first brought over from down under, the keel was physically shrouded so that no one could see it!

What was the big secret?

THE INTERSECTION

On West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan, a few doors down from the Harvard Club, stands a stately landmark building.  Designed by the architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore – the same team that did Grand Central Station – the façade features both Beaux-Arts and nautical styles.  Three magnificent windows to the left of the entrance are crafted to resemble the sterns of 18th century galleons.

Lights pour in through those windows to illuminate one of the most curious chambers in the metropolis.  It’s a grand room where more than 150 years of sailing history is preserved.  Specifically, the main exhibit documents the competition for the America’s Cup sailing race from the first event in 1851 up to the present.  In each regatta, a replica of the American boat, known as the defender, (from the New York Yacht Club up until 1983) is presented alongside the main competitor, the challenger, always English (at least at the beginning).  The determining factor for the victor is not indicated but is usually visible.

As long as you know where to look.  Dad did.