On Sailing & Sailors:
• They’re more health and fitness conscious.
• They’re as competitive as ever.
(I believe)—the ‘evolution’ of sailing picked up speed in ’83 when the Cup went to Australia (for a visit—ha!). Newport’s harbor opened up to more sailing regattas and boating events. For example, when The Volvo has a stopover here or the AC45s are in port for a world series, it’s more inclusive for spectators and enthusiasts. The Newport to Bermuda race (on even years) is still one of the best reunions ever, and when the 12 Metres show up in September, everyone crewing is 26 years old again.
My most outrageous sailor story?—“I’m a bartender, I can’t reveal that!”
After 40 years, what is still charming:
• With the water, history, and beauty of Newport giving me the serenity—the hustle, bustle, chaos, and spontaneity of the summer, and, more specifically, the Cooke House give me my pulse. Every day is like my first day at work, no two are alike.
The Newport Summer is really something to take advantage of.
• The boss is due back from Bermuda any minute with the America’s Cup results and scuttlebutt. Always exciting!
• The Cooke House Crew will be singing “God Bless America” in a few days. Then it’s the Candy Store Cup in July and everything else in between. It just doesn’t stop.
• This is the best job in the best place. Where else could you greet, meet, and serve people like Ted Turner and Dennis Conner, and listen to Brad Butterworth’s jokes and Bruno Trouble’s English… and put a beer in front of Jimmy Spithill? Sometimes all in one day!
• One of the most gratifying things to me is watching the next generation coming in the front door. If they have a Mount Gay, Dark & Stormy, or even a “Kialoa,” something has been passed on. Tradition continues. —Ric Rivera