Now available in paperback.
Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece Reliance (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2005).
Reliance was a yacht like no other, built in 1903, at the end of the age of sail. A marvel of her time, Reliance's topsail yard towered nearly 190 feet above the water, with sails stretching 202 feet from the bowsprit to the boom's end. Many said Reliance, carrying more sail than any single-masted boat before, was simply too dangerous to sail, but the stakes were awesome. By the turn of the century, racing for the America's Cup had become more than a gentleman's game. In 1903 it was an all-or-nothing contest—fraught with political tension—between two great rivals, Britain and America.
Behind Reliance was a gallery of American greats. There was Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, America's greatest yacht designer. And there were the robber barons like J. P. Morgan, James J. Hill, William Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt III, who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to win the America's Cup. But they weren't willing to bankroll the contest indefinitely and endeavored to build a boat so powerful it would discourage the British for years to come. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, Sir Thomas Lipton, scrappy founder of the Lipton tea and grocery empire, was determined to win and put his personal fortune behind the construction of an equally bold challenger, his Shamrock III.
In Temple to the Wind author Christopher Pastore is the first to tell the story using primary source materials including Herreshoff's sketches, photos, original models and plans, along with special access to Herreshoff's personal papers and letters. From conception to construction, through hair-raising sea trials-including fatalities during the testing of the yachts to the grand finale of a race like no other, Pastore brings to life this most beautiful and dangerous vessel, as well as the hearts it broke. It is simply one of the most exciting sea tales ever told.
“Temple to the Windis as expertly crafted as Nathanael Herreshoff’s epic America’s Cup yacht Reliance. A riveting account of an enigmatic genius and the yacht race that was once as big as today’s Super Bowl, Christopher Pastore’s new book will fascinate sailors and landlubbers alike.”
—Nathaniel Philbrick, National Book Award-winning author of In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory
“After conducting exhaustive research in America and Britain, Christopher Pastore has made the Reliance story even more remarkable and strange than I ever thought. One of the very few sailboats that deserve the label ‘icon,’ Reliance was the largest boat to sail for the America’s Cup, and (until recently the largest racing sloop ever built. Paid for by secretive millionaires, created by the mysterious Nat Herreshoff, and commanded by the diminutive and ruthless Charlie Barr, this was the highest-tech, the most fragile, and the best boat of her day–America’s only hope to hold off Sir Thomas Lipton in his fanatical desire to win the Cup. How Reliance fulfilled that hope despite many obstacles is the stuff of Pastore’s wonderful new book.”
—John Rousmaniere, author of Fastnet, Force 10, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, and In a Class by Herself: The Yawl Bolero and the Passion for Craftsmanship
“Reliance was exotic, fast, a marvel of engineering, and frightening. Only a master designer/builder could make such a yacht work or, in fact, excel. Christopher Pastore has meticulously researched this astounding American triumph. I learned something new on every page!”
—Gary Jobson, America’s Cup tactician, ESPN’s sailing commentator, and author of Championship Sailing and An America’s Cup Treasury: The Lost Levick Photographs, 1893-1937
“Temple to the Wind is an intriguing study of the legendary Captain Nat, his colleagues, his competitors and the designs he crafted leading up to the largest of them all, Reliance. In the process, author Chris Pastore has compiled a revealing image of yacht racing for the America’s Cup as it existed a century and more ago.”
—John Burnham, Editor of Sailing World magazine
“An excellent, close-up view of the world of big yachts as sailing moved into the twentieth century.”
—Olin Stephens, eight-time America’s Cup-winning naval architect and author of All This, and Sailing Too