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Newport Bermuda Race - Brown donates 'War Baby' Trophy

by Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette on 11 Jun 2012
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore Jonathan Brewin holds the new Newport Bermuda Race trophy Glenn Tucker
Local sailing legend Warren Brown has donated one of his most prized trophies to the Newport Bermuda Race’s newest class.

Brown has donated the prestigious Grimaldi Coupe Prada Cup he won at the helm of War Baby in the Mediterranean Sea several years ago to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC).

The silverware has been renamed after Brown’s former yacht and is to be awarded to the winners of the ‘Spirit of Tradition’ Division in the 635-mile ‘Thrash to the Onion Patch’.

The division is an invitational demonstration developed to experiment with the reintroduction of traditional schooner rigged vessels.

Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s triple-mast sloop, Spirit of Bermuda, will compete alone in the new division with a diverse crew of 32 in this year’s Newport Bermuda Race.

'In a way the Grimaldi Coupe Prada ties in with the older tall ships and I thought it would be a fitting trophy for the larger boats that will be racing in the special class,' said Brown. 'The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club came to me some months ago and asked if I had a suitable trophy to put up for the race. They said they would like to have something that would stand out, and being as tall as it is I certainly thought this trophy would do it.'

Brown added: 'The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club came up with the idea of calling it the War Baby Trophy and I agreed because my War Babies have, over a period of many years, had nearly 500 different crew members from many countries around the world.

'I have given this trophy to the class particularly because of the number of crew involved in these boats and also saying at the same time that the skipper can point the bow in the right direction but it’s really the crews that pull these boats together.'

Commenting on the generous donation, RBYC commodore Jonathan Brewin said: 'I am thrilled to accept this donation from Warren Brown for the new class. This class has been created to enable boats, like Spirit of Bermuda, that are not conventionally rated, to compete in the biennial Newport-Bermuda Race.'

Sailing with a crew that included compatriots Malcolm Kirkland, James Watlington, Jay Kempe, Reid Kempe, Paul Doughty, Chesley White and John Watson, Brown won the Grimaldi Coupe Prada Cup aboard a 61 ft Sparkman and Stephens he bought from media mogul Ted Turner.

'Without their help War Baby would not have done so well,' Brown said.

The original War Baby was a dinghy designed by the late Sir Eldon Trimingham and built in St David’s in 1914.

The dinghy, which came into Brown’s possession at the beginning of the Second World War, is currently being restored to its original glory in Ireland.

Jay Kempe, Watlington and Brown will be among the crew of Spirit of Bermuda in this year’s Newport Bermuda Royal Gazette website
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