Robert W. McCullough '43
Year Inducted: 1976
Robert W. McCullough ’43, more than any other person, was responsible for this country’s successful defense of the America’s Cup in 1974. When the efforts of the Courageous syndicate were briefly abandoned in the winter of 1974, Bo McCullough stepped in, took over the syndicate, and pushed it through to its original goal. During the trials, McCullough had another difficult decision and he faced up to it by replacing Bob Bavier as skipper of the Courageous with Ted Hood. The net result was that Courageous won the right to defend the Cup and then defeated Southern Cross of Australia in four straight races off Newport. When it comes to big boat sailing, Bob McCullough has done it all. He’s been a championship ocean racer, a syndicate manager, and an America’s Cup skipper. But then, racing was in his blood, with his dad a member of the Rainbow syndicate in 1934. In 1965, Bob’s Inverness, a 46-foot yawl, was named the outstanding boat among 155 participants in the Block Island Race Week, and a year later he captained the American Onion Patch team and won first place in the Bermuda race. An intensely competitive individual, Bob has been described by internationally famous boat designer Olin Stephens as “a damn good sailor.” McCullough became involved in the America’s Cup in 1967 as skipper of the Constellation, fitting her out and making the 1964 winner competitive again. Three years later, he was skipper of the Valiant and head of that syndicate. He later donated the Valiant to Brown, not the normal sort of alumni gift. The Riverside, Conn., resident is Commodore of the New York Yacht Club and a past vice-president of the North American Racing Union. He’s chairman of the executive committee, executive vice-president, and a director of Collins & Aikman Corp. of New York City, one of the nation’s largest textile industries.