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Just like soul mates were made for one another, there’s a special bond that’s forged when a sailor finds their perfect yacht. Some connections are just meant to be, like the one between the Weatherly and Steve Eddleston.
Weatherly is a 12-meter cup boat that has been serving the sport for nearly six decades. Built in 1958, she successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1962. This legendary yacht is still out and about as its current custodian is Steve Eddleston, a veteran sailor originally from the UK.
Sailing Was Never an Option for Steve
Even though Steve Eddleston was raised in New Zealand, one of the world’s top sailing destinations, he didn’t consider sailing until later in life. In the late 1990s, after years of successfully working in IT, Eddleston yearned for a big change. He was afraid that he would never do anything other than work in computers, something that no longer gave him joy. At that moment, as he was looking out over the water, Eddleston had a dawning realization that he wanted to sail. Soon after, he bought his first sailboat, a 14-foot Hobie Cat.
The speed of a Hobie Cat makes it an ambitious purchase for a first-time sailor, but Eddleston persisted and soon became a talented sailor, despite being entirely self-taught. He also moved away from the IT sector and launched several Planet Fitness gyms over the next few years. For one of his staff parties in 2018, Eddleston chartered a schooner called Eros and competed in a regatta.
How Did Eddleston Come to Own the Weatherly?
After chartering and competing with the Eros again the following year, Eddleston came to know the owners and was connected to a boat surveyor who recommended he look at the Weatherly. Eddleston says that when this suggestion was made, he knew that he was meant to own that boat. It was not the first time their paths crossed, either. Back in 2002, he was part of a charter on the Weatherly, and it was love at first sight—he already knew that the Weatherly was the most beautiful boat he’d ever sailed.
When Eddleston discovered that the boat was still in top-notch condition and ready, he made the purchase and soon began competing with it in the Newport summer regatta circuit.
Over Five Decades of Super Sailing
Built in 1958 by the Luders Marine Construction Company, the Weatherly’s original purpose was to defend the America’s Cup that year. The 12-meter sloop was designed by Philip Rhodes, known in the sailing world at the time as a highly respected naval architect. Although the yacht lost the America’s Cup in 1958, she made a victorious return in 1962.
In 1965, the Weatherly was donated to the US Merchant Marine Academy where she was used as a training vessel until she was sold to a private buyer in 1970. From there, the Weatherly spent several years on the Great Lakes before George Hill bought her in 1986. Hill sailed the yacht through the Panama Canal back to Newport, where he chartered her until Eddleston took ownership. Hopefully, they continue to live happily ever after.