Induction Class of 1997

William F. Carstens


1909 -

Bill Carstens' involvement with the America's Cup spans almost a half century. He had the distinction of having served as a member of the crews on the three winning J-Class yachts in the 1930's. Willie served as masthead-man on ENTERPRISE in the 1930 defense. His alertness was recognized by Harold Vanderbilt during the trials when, on one occasion, a tack was not possible without losing the mast or going on the rocks. While Vanderbilt managed to sail parallel to the Newport shore, Willie climbed straight up the mainsail and freed the offending spreader. His ability to change head sails quickly and efficiently was one of the many factors contributing to the win over SHAMROCK V. Bill was a member of the crew on SHAMROCK's return voyage to England after the 1930 races. On that eighteen day sail, he distinguished himself during a storm with expert work aloft without thought of personal danger. During the 1934 America's Cup races, Bill served as 2nd Mate on RAINBOW and in 1937, was chief mate on RANGER. Between 1936 and 1941, Carstens also served on Vanderbilt's yacht VAGRANT and as Captain of PRESTIGE. He also sailed on Vanderbilt's 12-Meter yacht VIM during the racing in England just before World War II. When the America's Cup races were revived in 1958, Bill Carstens was prominent as a professional member of VIM's crew in tight competition with COLUMBIA during the trials. Bill served as William Strawbridge' s professional captain for INTREPID during the successful 1967 campaign.