Bill Barton, PhD Professional Site 2166 Hayes Street
From November 2011 Issue: Seahorse Magazine
Editorial: Andrew Hurst Andrew
Rare thing Seahorse does not normally do book reviews (nor product reviews,
because of the ‘price’ that is inevitably attached). However, I recently came across a book that will appeal to so many of our readers that I will break our own rule.
Bill Barton is a successful clinical psychologist from California. He was also a regular crew on the Ron Holland-designed Two-Tonner Imp, which in the late 1970s and early 1980s helped blow apart the old
order of offshore raceboat design and construction. As many readers will still recall, and others will have since discovered, Imp and her crew won just about everything there was to win and in so doing prompted
a transformation of how a modern ocean racer is put together and campaigned.
By the standards of today the Imp campaign was amateur… but those amateurs were very good indeed. The original owner of Imp, the late Dave Allen, was himself an enigmatic figure. Admired
and respected, and able to instill fun in his crews even while they were setting about the elegant destruction of their rivals. In The Legend of Imp Bill Barton has put together a terrific read for aficionados of offshore racing, which roams far and wide into diverse but related subjects, including the green-striped
rocketship’s participation in the 1977 and 1979 Admiral’s Cups
and that year’s stormy Fastnet. Everyone and every boat of note
gets a mention, from Uffa Fox to Doug Peterson and his own
ground-breaking design, Ganbare. The Legend of Imp is jammed with entertaining human stories
that combine to create the setting for offshore racing as we know
A fine body of considerable work; highly recommended.