Artist Ted Brennen
Ted Brennen and his wide Maudie live on Lake Geneva but quite often their hears are in Exuma. The Brennen’s first sailed into Elizabeth Harbour aboard the chartered schooner “Gulliver” in 1956 and have been firm friends of Exuma ever since. On a side trip to Williams Town to take tea with the late Vincent Bowe, Ted and Maudie remember being serenaded by the young Sherwin Gray and his guitar. The harbour, which this year had nearly 500 visiting yachts, was empty. They met Howland Bottomley and decided to stay for regatta. Ted was immediately captured by the boats but more particularly perhaps by their builders and sailors.
Later, on a trip to Andros, Ted and Maudie met Leroy Bannister and Alfred Baine (famous boat builders and sailors both) and so began a friendship which lasted for over over thirty years and which produced the Class “A” sailing sloop “Avenger”. Ted put together a State side syndicate to raise funds and Leroy and Alfred built the boat. And a beautiful boat she was, although sadly with the death of Alfred, the boat was laid up and is now only a memory. It is Ted’s unbiased opinion that the Avenger would have been a natural for the new traditional boat trophy awarded each year to the boat which best expresses its Bahamian ancestry and shows general excellence of design and construction.
Some of Ted’s affection for Bahamian boats may result from his training and career in industrial design. He has spoken out against the recent recent tendency to turn back the bows and straiten up the transoms (” ….look like damn canoes!”) that some builders have used in an attempt to save inches on deck. (Handicapping is calculated from length on deck.) He was among those who were delighted when the new “Rupert`s Legend” first appeared on the scene and not only looked good but was very competitive.
For years Ted was a Race Committee member but many will remember him better up to his waist in the sea painting boat names onto transoms or crawling across slippery decks taking measurements and there may still be a few with fond memories of Ted’s trombone at the Peace & Plenty.
In recent years Teal Brennen has become well known as a naval artist and particularly for painting portraits of vintage yachts. One of his many contributions to the Exuma Regatta has been his drawings of the boats and the people.He has been responsible for several official tee shirt designs anal Regatta magazine covers. On the the following page are some examples of his work. This year, together with Howland Bottomley and Posey Smith, Ted has worked on a definitive history of the Out Island Regatta. “‘The Book” has been many years in preparation but is now near completion an is eagerly awaited.
Ted has survived several attempts on his life. In air force action during the last war his copilot and navigator were shot dead at his side and he has recently got the better of several cancer attacks. He is back in Wisconsin now for more treatment. We wish him well. We confidently expect to see Ted and Maudie on their customary balcony at Regatta Point as soon as Lake Geneva gets chilly again next year.
Click on any of the images to zoom in.
Images from the Gallery
Sail her down, sail her down,
Sail her down to George Town.
Highborne Cay the first: we see,
Yellow Bank is by the lee.
Harvey Cay is in the moon,
Farmers Gay is coming soon.
Now we come to Galliot,
Out in the ocean we must go,
Children’s Bay is passing fast,
Stocking Island came at last.
Nassau gal is all behind,
George Town gal is on my mind.
A wiggle and a giggle and a jamboree,
Great Exuma is the place for me!