“Nyala” is back in the news. This time, it’s international.
Westporters of a certain age have heard of Nyala Farm. That’s the office complex tucked into rolling hills and meadows between I-95, the Sherwood Island Connector and Greens Farms Road.
It is not a cute, throwback name. Back in the day it was an actual, working dairy farm. In 1910, E.T. Bedford bought 52 acres in Greens Farms.
His son, Frederick T. Bedford, named the property in honor of the beautiful nyala (antelope) he’d seen on an African safari.
In 1970 Stauffer Chemical developed their world headquarters there. It was Westport’s first corporate office park. Today, Bridgewater — the world’s largest hedge fund — is a major tenant.
But this morning’s Nyala news is nautical.
Nyala is the name of a racing vessel. Yesterday, it won the 12 Metre World Vintage Division Championship, off Newport, Rhode Island.
The International Twelve Metre Association event drew 21 boats from 6 countries. That’s the largest fleet ever gathered in North America.
The name is no coincidence. The Nyala sailboat was commissioned by F.T. Bedford, president of the Standard Oil Corporation. She was given as a wedding present to his daughter Lucy and her new husband, Briggs Cunningham.
(He is credited with inventing the “Cunningham hole,” still used today to provide luff tension in a mainsail.)
After restoration in 1996, Nyala attended the 2001 Jubilee regatta in Cowes, off the UK. She won the 12-Metre Worlds in Barcelona in 2014.
Nyala had already secured the 2019 championship, before yesterday’s final day of racing.
She didn’t have to sail. But Patrizio Bertelli took her out anyway. Nyala posted her 8th victory in 9 races.
Next up: This weekend’s New York Yacht Club 175th Anniversary Regatta.
Bridgewater may want to send a cheering section.