When Ernesto Bertarelli wanted to have a run-up event before the last Cup, he called me to see if Newport Shipyard would be the base camp for ALINGHI and for Larry Ellison's ORACLE. I said we'd be happy to help put it together on one condition: that he invite Senator Pell (left with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Ted Kennedy) out for a sail during practice. I knew how much the Senator would love it.
Pell's colleague and sailing buddy, Senator Ted Kennedy, visited the Shipyard every June to take Pell out for a sail on MYA. Senator Kennedy pushed all the right buttons with Pell's salty side. Sen Pell sailed on my boat too, as well as on David Ray's NIRVANA, always glowing with excitement. He often recalled his early years in the Coast Guard and why the CG was so important to our country. Afterwards, we'd have dinner and the glow remained, aided of course by a little wine to calm the sunburn!
Claiborne Pell died on New Year's day at 90, and had an amazing send-off on January 5th with his close friend, Ted Kennedy, delivering a moving eulogy enumerating Pell's significant accomplishments in his 36 Senate years and, yes, a few sailing anecdotes snuck in too.
Newport Shipyard, along with all Rhode Islanders, lost a friend. He followed us every step of the way as we developed. No question he cast a long shadow everywhere, but also with us as a Shipyard personality. Claiborne also gave me my 1st tour of the Senate, as he had my father, and later our children. We will miss him a lot and will never forget who he was.