Monday, July 7, 2003

Yachtsman Briggs Swift Cunningham Jr. dies

Ex-Mount Auburn man also car racing figure

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS - Briggs Swift Cunningham Jr., captain of the winning yacht in the 1958 America's Cup and a longtime sports car racing figure, has died.

The former Mount Auburn resident, whose father was an early investor in Procter & Gamble, was 96.

Cunningham died Wednesday at home in Las Vegas from complications of Alzheimer's disease, said his wife, Laura Cunningham.

Cunningham pursued yachting and auto racing with a fortune inherited from his father, a wealthy financier and former president of Citizen's National Bank. His cousin, Bayard Kilgour Jr., was the president of Cincinnati & Suburban Telephone Co.

He was the captain of the Columbia when it won the America's Cup. He helped found the Sports Car Club of America and the Automobile Racing Club of America.

His name became part of sailing terminology through his 1958 invention of the "cunningham," a line controlling sail tension.

Cunningham was educated at Yale University, where he formed a lasting friendship with driver Ralph DePalma.

He lived in Westport, Conn., and Newport Beach, Calif., before moving to Las Vegas in 1999.

Among survivors are a son, Briggs Cunningham III, of Danville, Ky.; and two daughters, Lucie McKinney of Westport, and Cythlen Maddock, of Palm Beach, Fla.

A funeral is scheduled Aug. 8 in Corona Del Mar, Calif.

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