Dinny was actually Ogden Mills Phipps, the 3rd. He was an heir to the Bessemer Trust, which had something to do with iron and steel and money. He was a few years younger than me, and he died last week. There seems to be a pattern forming here. He was a good guy (as good as you could be with fifty jillion bucks), loved to fish, loved to race horses, loved New York Giants football (watching, not playing), and life in general.
We met at Holman Moody Inc., who sponsored the engines for my various offshore racing boats. Dinny was a big sackholder of Holman Moody, an excellent investment in the era that Ford Motors gave Holman Moody carte blanche to beat the ass off of GM and Chrysler in the new redneck sport of “Stawk Car Racin’. It was during that era, about 1966 or 7 that the Offshore Power Boat Association needed to choose a new Offshore Racing Vice President for the American Powerboat Assn. I had been a junior executive for the APBA for several years, and decided to vie for the job. Boat racing politics were very much like today’s Presidential race. Dinny became my opponent, and I liken him to Donald Trump. In that context, I guess I must have been the equivalent of Ben Carson. I was better qualified for the job, but Dinny had the cheese and was everybody’s friend. If the club needed a new whatsit, just call Dinny. I, on the other hand, was usually at ground zero in the various fights with Mercury Marine, the British, Sunday Blue Laws, Age of Consent, that sort of thing.
We decided to “have it out” at a meeting of the OPBRA (you can figure out the initials) just before the election. Pretty much every racer in the US was a member of the OPBRA, so the support of the club was tantamount to winning the vote. Dinny drew the short straw, and had to present first. He had two assistants, a PowerPoint presentation, before they had PowerPoint presentations. I was drinking, so I can’t recall if he had Teleprompters or not. He promised helicopters for the running, full speed starts (at his expense), transportation for the officials, full access to his PR firm, stuff like that. He talked for two hours, bought several rounds for the house, and may or may not have had strippers at the intermission, where he served Beluga Caviar by the wheelbarrow.
My supporters (both of them), decided that I was more fun after a few pops, so I was pretty well oiled when my turn to speak came. To say that the natives were restless would be a major understatement. The Club President announced me. (Groans). I didn’t even stand up. I held my Heinekins bottle high and said “DINNY PHIPPS IS A COMMUNIST!” in a loud voice. I won the election in a landslide. No, actually I was racing in California when the results were announced, and I was in a landslide. The vote was close.
The first meeting of the Offshore Racing Commission of the APBA was held at the New York boat show. I had fired all the previous administration’s commissioners, and appointed a group that had the best intentions for the continued growth of offshore racing around the world. An example of our cohesiveness: The second meeting found me injured (ankles) and unable to travel. My #2, Bill Wishnick, chaired the meeting, and proposed that the first order of business was to wish me a speedy recovery. It passed, 5 to 4.
At the following New York boat show, 1969, I was displaying my Nova Marine 24’ twin inboard. Nova Marine had been financed by Bill Wishnick. I was having some success at the show, having the only booth that had a hooker making rum daiquaris. Movie star Jack Worden was a regular. At noon, on the second day, Dinny Phipps showed up at the booth and said “Come on Brown, I am taking you for a ride!” Uh Oh. “No, not that kind of ride”. I turned the booth over to my dealers, and followed Dinny down to his Limo, which was parked in spot normally reserved for the King of Siam. We jumped in, elegantly, and went straight to Toots Shors’ restaurant, where we lunched with the New York Giants’ 10th year anniversary of the famous winter game with the Unitas led Baltimore Colts. I had listened to that game while on KP at Governors Island, just off the tip of Manhattan, while defending you ungrateful bastards from something or other. Governors Island is in New York Harbor. If the Hudson River and the East River formed the legs of a pair of pants, where they meet is Governors Island. (Note to Miss Jones, my English teacher. There is no apostrophe after Governors. It infers plurality, not possession).
Anyway, I sat between Dinny and Tim O’mara, owner of the Giants. Tim was next to Frank Gifford, running back, and Y.A. Tittle, quarterback. We stayed for three and one half hours, and heard every funny story at least three times. I even made up a few for the crowd. Never had so much fun. Thanks, Dinny. You were an elegant and forgiving man. Rest in peace.