- Boat Name: Goose
- Sail: US 81
- Year Built: 1938
- Designer: Sparkman & Stephens
- Builder: Nevins, City Island, New York
- Owner: Peter Hofmann
- History: Designed and built for Dr. George Nichols. Goose
was profiled in the S&S biography, "Best of
the Best - The Yacht Designs of Sparkman & Stephens."
She is arguably the single most famous and victorious 6 meter
in the world. 4 time winner of the Scandinavian Gold Cup; 1938,
1939, 1947, 1948. Winner of the Seawanhaka Cup in 1957 and many
other international races. In her first international regatta,
the1938 British-American Team Race, Goose led the Americans to
victory. In her glory years, she was considered 'unbeatable'
by many. Goose was the first design extensively tank tested by
S&S, and represented a breakthrough in meter boats whose
immediate influence can be seen in the 12 meter Vim, the 8 meter
Iskareen, and in future winning Sparkman & Stephens 6, 8
and 12 meters such as Llanoria, Iroquois, Columbia, and Constellation.
Goose did have her embarrassments, however. In 1939 at the King
Edward VII "Bermuda Gold Cup" she lost to an
older design, K3 Achilles, sailed by Bert Darrel, a future 6 time winner of that contest. After many years of hard
campaigning in the US and Europe, she was rebuilt in the Luders
yard in 1957 with 4 layers of mahogany strips to replace the
original planking. It is said S&S would not give Luders the
lines for the boat, because he was a competing designer, so before
proceeding, yard workers lifted the lines from her tired hull
and rebuilt from there. After the rebuild, Sparkman & Stephens
acquiesced, the rebuilt Goose was compared to the original line
drawings and found to be within a 1/16" in every dimension.
She competed many times on Lake Ontario in the 50's and 60's,
often sparring with boats from Toronto, like KC
25 Buzzy III and KC 9 Bibis.
She eventually made her way from Jerry Castle in Rochester, New York to
Steve Chadwick in Seattle, the new 6 meter hotbed in the 60s. In 1969,
in the Summer of Love, after winning the qualifying regatta in
Seattle, Goose represented the St. Francis Yacht Club in San
Francisco for the inaugural Australian-American Challenge against
John Taylor's new S&S design, Toogooloowoo
IV. The bottom photo below shows Goose being loaded on the
trailer headed for San Francisco. One of the anecdotes of this
race series concerns a dockside conversation between a young,
gimlet-eyed Scott Rohrer (sailing on Goose, with a 3 to 1 lead
in the series) and Olin Stephens, who flew out from New York
to witness the series. Shaking Mr Stephens' hand, Scott said,
"You can't feel too bad about this. Either way, an S&S
boat wins the Cup." Mr Stephens was said to have replied,
obviously chagrined, "Yes, but one would like to see more
progress than that in 30 years of yacht design". In an intensely
fought series, the old Goose finally prevaled in the 7th race.
In the first International 6 Meter World Championships, held in Seattle in the summer
of 1973, Goose placed 4th of 20 entries. Goose was modified in the early 70's to drawings made by S&S to take advantage of certain breakthroiughs made within the 12 meter class. Her stern counter was shortened and a 'kicker' added above and behind her reshaped rudder in structural foam. Whether or not the changes resulted in better performance may be up for debate, but they are no longer on the boat. In much of the 80's Goose resided in Canada, sailing out of Victoria, B. C. and making occasional forays to meet up with the Seattle Fleet. Harry Hofmann made arrangements to purchase Goose in 1988, but passed away before he could collect the boat, which was a task performed by his wife, Ruth, and son, Peter. From 2004 to 2009 Peter Hofmann removed all of the modifications in time for the 2009 World Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, where she placed
5th of 24. In more recent years Goose has competed at Port Madison, Vancouver, and in San Francisco with Eric Jespersen on the helm, winning the Classics at the 2015 6m Invitational and taking 2nd at the 2016 Sir Thomas Lipton Cup. More recently, Goose placed 2nd of 21 entries and won 2 races at the 2017 World Championships in Vancouver and placed 4th of 32 at the 2019 Worlds at Hanko, Finland.
- The three photos below appear courtesy of Barbara
Castle Poole von Schilcher
- Goose, as she arrived in Rochester, NY in 1961.
- Goose, 1961.
- Wilmot Vail 'Jerry' Castle at the helm, 1961.
- Goose getting loaded on the truck to San Francisco
in 1969 for the first Australian American Challenge.