Industry mourns former America's Cup designer

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Britton Chance Jr., lead designer for the successful 1987 and 1988 Stars & Stripes America's Cup campaigns, died Friday at the age of 72.

Chance grew up around boats, both sail and power, and became seriously interested in yacht design at 15, according to

He trained in the sciences at the University of Rochester, worked at the towing tank at Stevens Institute, studied mathematics at Columbia University, worked for Ray Hunt and Ted Hood and went on his own with Chance & Co. in 1962.

Chance has a diverse design portfolio that includes racing shells, dinghies and multihulls, plus fast cruisers, offshore racers and powerboats, including the high-tech Flarecraft, as well as Meter and America’s Cup boats.

Chance’s Shark Series racing shells have won Olympic and World Championship medals and numerous other awards.

His sailboat designs have also won numerous awards, including the America’s Cup three times, Olympic gold and silver medals, the One Ton Cup, the Gold Cup, 5.5 Meter Worlds and the Astor Trophy.

An active rower and sailor, with extensive dinghy, IOR, IMS and 5.5 and 12 Meter experience, Chance was alternate helmsman in the Olympics for the 5.5 Meter and Dragon classes. He has crewed or skippered in major events that include the America’s Cup trials, One Ton Cup, Admiral’s Cup, 5.5 Meter Worlds and offshore in the Bermuda, Fastnet, Middle Sea and SORC races.

He has taught engineering at Yale University, as well as Wesleyan and Trinity colleges, and has taught computer-aided naval architecture at the Center for Creative Imaging.

Chance, who lived in Lyme, Conn., is survived by his daughter Tamsin, 30.

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