MIDDLETOWN, R.I., July 5 (UPI) -- Ted Hood, a boat designer and captain of the 1974 America's Cup winner Courageous, has died in Rhode Island after contracting pneumonia. He was 86.
Hood's son, Richard, confirmed his father died June 28 in Middletown after a struggle with pneumonia and a history of heart problems, The New York Times reported Friday.
Hood's interest in sailing began when he attached a mast and centerboard to a rowboat at the age of 7 and he repaired sails to help pay for college after serving in the Navy during World War II.
Hood and his father, Ralph Stedman Hood, founded Hood Sailmakers after experimenting with different chemical treatments on Dacron sails to find which gave the tightest weave and held shape the best. The company's sails were used by every America's Cup winner 1958 to 1977.
Hood designed and built a series of racing yachts starting in the late 1950s, including the Robin Too II, which finished second of 110 boats in a 1974 six-race series sponsored by the Southern Ocean Racing Conference. He won the America's Cup the same year as captain of the Courageous.
"Ted was born in May, so he was about a month old before the yachting season began and we got him into a boat," his father told The New Yorker in 1967. "I think he missed that month -- he's been trying to make up for it ever since."
Hood is survived by Susan Blake, his wife of 58 years, as well as a daughter, Nancy Hood MacLeod; sons Richard, Frederick and Robert; and eight grandchildren.