Ted Hood, a yachtsman, yacht designer and builder, and sailmaker who captained the winner of the 1974 America’s Cup, died June 28 at a nursing home in Middletown, R.I. He was 86.
The cause was pneumonia and heart ailments, said his son Richard Hood.
Considered an innovator in the industry, Mr. Hood was a member of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame and the National Sailing Hall of Fame, which called him the dominant force in sailing for nearly 20 years.
In 1955, Mr. Hood founded Hood Sailmakers, which was for a time the world’s largest sailmaker. Its sails were used on all the winning America’s Cup yachts from 1958 to 1977, including the Courageous, which Mr. Hood skippered to victory in 1974. He also founded Little Harbor Yachts in Rhode Island.
In the mid-1980s, Mr. Hood sold his sailmaking business to concentrate on boat building and design. One of his best-known boats, according to the National Sailing Hall of Fame, was the 60-foot American Promise, which the late Dodge Morgan used on his historic solo 150-day, 27,000-mile circumnavigation in 1985 and 1986. Some 6,000 of his boats are still sailing.
“When I was young, I thought if I can be a sailmaker, make $12,000 a year, sail and work on boats, I’ll be happy,” Mr. Hood is quoted as saying in his biography on the National Sailing Hall of Fame’s Web site.
Frederick Emmart Hood was born in Beverly, Mass., on May 5, 1927, and grew up in nearby Danvers and Marblehead. He inherited his love of sailing from his father and built his first boat at 7.
After Navy service in World War II, he repaired sails in Marblehead but found shortcomings in the strength and durability of the cloth. So he set out with his father to improve it.
“He started repairing other people’s sails and realized he could do it better,” Richard Hood said.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Susan Blake, and four children.