Cully Cobb

Sailor of the Month

Cully Cobb - Hobie Sailor of the Month - May 2012

Few people are sailing 33-foot sailboats at the age of 95, much less racing them.  Such is the case with retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Cully Cobb of Nashville, Tenn.  Cully finished first in the “Heavy B” class of the annual Tennessean Regatta, held at Harbor Island Yacht Club (HIYC) on Old Hickory Lake. Cully is a founding member of HIYC from 50 years ago when his Rhodes Swiftsure, Chloe, was built.  He continues to skipper her to victory today.

The Tennessean Regatta, held in April, is the biggest race of the spring season in the area.  This year’s event featured three races over two days in 20 to 30 knots.  Team Cobb posted two firsts and a close second place finish.  In his acceptance speech, he gave his longstanding crew credit and said that he’ll be back next year to defend the championship.

“The Rhodes Swiftsure has always favored heavy weather,” said Cully.  “We found the wind howling on Saturday morning and my faithful crew and I were very excited that it looked like our kind of a day.  The day turned out to be all that a heavy boat owner could hope for, more wind than the lighter boats can easily handle.  Then came Sunday with winds at 25 to 35 knots and it was water over the bow and just hang on.”

Cully has made quite the impact on his sailing community.  The next race on the schedule is the Cully Cobb 50K which was named for him about 20 years ago when it was thought he was nearing the end of his racing career.  Cully proved that he had plenty of racing left.

“I had sailed a little Snipe in undergraduate school and won my first trophy in 1936 at the Capital Yacht Club,” said Cully.“  After a long gap of medical school and training I was quick to help organize the Harbor Island Yacht Club.”  He also helped established a Lighting Class fleet after moving to Nashville.  “I got a great education in sailing and a few finishes in the upper 10 percent in the Nationals.  After that its mostly been our cruising boat Chloe,” he said.

Cully’s first sail boat was a copy of a 1928 Americas Cup design, which he made in wood shop class in Junior High School.  He first learned to sail on Mosley Lake in Atlanta.“  I would set the sails, launch the boat and run around the lake, catch it on the other side and send it back to the other shore,” he added.

US SAILING Media > Sailor of the Month May 2012