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Knapp, Jr., Arthur (1907-1992) USA

Category: SKIPPERS & CREWS

Arthur Knapp, Jr., the oldest child of Arthur and May (Dalton) Knapp, was born on January 5, 1907, in Bayside, Queens, New York.
He learned to sail with his father and in 1916 was given his first boat, a Butterfly Class catboat named FLUTTERBY. Two years later, the young Knapp moved up to a bigger craft, a 22-foot Star Class keelboat. The Star boat was the beginning of what Mr. Knapp once described as his extended "love affair" with the class.

He won the Star Class world championship as a crew member in 1924 and as a skipper in 1930. For the next seven decades, Arthur Knapp, Jr., was involved in sailing and racing boats, both large and small.

Mr. Knapp graduated from Princeton University, where in 1928 he was victorious in the university's first intercollegiate regatta, against Yale and Harvard. That same year, he began work at the New York Stock Exchange, where he was a stock broker until his retirement in 1974. In 1974 he sold his seat on the Stock Exchange and began a second career as a salesman and later as a senior consultant for Ratsey & Lapthorn in City Island, New York.

Despite his having to work for a living, Knapp was a sought-after crew member for racing and cruising alike. He accepted an invitation from Harold Vanderbilt to be a member of the afterguard on RANGER's successful America's Cup defense in 1937. In 1958 he was skipper of the 12-Meter WEATHERLY in the America's Cup trials, but the yacht ultimately was not chosen to defend the Cup that year. He continued as skipper of WEATHERLY for three years following the 1958 trials. Other competitions included Cowes Week, Fastnet, SORC races and numerous New York Yacht Club cruises. He raced aboard Carleton Mitchell's FINISTERRE in several events. Knapp also participated in a number of Bermuda races aboard DORADE, MUSTANG and PALAWAN, among others.

Knapp was an avid small-boat sailor as well. In 1922 he and his crew won the Sears Cup, the junior national sailing championship. In the first intercollegiate regatta, which was sailed in 1928, Knapp skippered the Princeton boat to victory over Yale and Harvard. He was Star Class world champion in 1930 and a Shields national winner in 1973. He was a frequent winner in other racing classes, including Interclubs and International One Designs, on Long Island Sound over his long career. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Frostbite Yacht Club, which held its first dinghy races on January 2, 1932, and in which Knapp was active until 1966.

An indefatigable writer, Arthur Knapp kept up a lively correspondence with friends and acquaintances. In addition to many magazine and newspaper articles, he wrote the classic Race Your Boat Right, which was first published in 1952 and updated in two further editions. He also was president of the short-lived Tidings Magazine, published in 1966. The YRA Newsletter, which made up most of its content (and was a stand-alone publication both before and after its appearance in Tidings) was edited by Arthur's sister Allegra Knapp Brickell Mertz. "Leggie" Mertz was a competitive sailor in her own right, and served as president of the International Blue Jay Class association for many years.

Arthur Knapp, Jr., was a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and the Storm Trysail Club, a founding member of the Frostbite Yacht Club, and a courtesy or honorary member of several other yacht clubs. Among his other honors, he was inducted posthumously into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in Greenwich, Connecticut, on July 15, 1992.

 

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