But on the Sears boat today there will be only two professionals, Fred Lawton, as sailing master, and a younger sailor. Lawton is among the tops in his field, having held a similar position under Vanderbilt on Vim and John Nicholas Brown on Bolero. Working shoulder to shoulder with him and his helper will be an amateur group, including Colin E. Ratsey, youngest of the famous line of sailmakers (an uncle, George Colin Ratsey, head of the parent firm of Ratsey & Lapthorn in Cowes, will be almost equally active on behalf of the challenger, as Ratseys have been on both sides of the Atlantic for most of the history of the cup). Others will include Cornelius Shields Jr.; Wallace (Tobey) Tobin, a Yale undergraduate; and one other young Corinthian yet to be named.
One great yachtsman who is a member of the syndicate probably will be aboard very little, if at all. Yet, according to Henry Sears, it was Gerard B. Lambert who "got her off the ground" when the boat was in danger of never being built. "He came to me and said, 'I'm for this, for the sport. I don't want to sail, but here it is with my blessings.' " The unspecified "it" must have been a generous share of the financial backing, as the plight of the project to provide a defender was no secret. Yet Lambert can probably be of future service to the group as well, because of his great experience in campaigning large sailing yachts in American and European waters before the war. Other members of the syndicate who will be available but probably will not sail aboard regularly are James A. Farrell Jr., of the Farrell Lines, and A. Howard Fuller of Hartford, Conn., president of the Fuller Brush Company, which is building the mast. Fuller is owner of Gesture, another Bermuda champion.
Easterner will undoubtedly be run on a different basis. "We have always sailed informally as a family," declared Chandler Hovey, a tall, erect, handsome man with short-cropped gray hair and eyes puckered at the corners from a lifetime of watching sun dance across water. And a family it will be: Chandler Hovey Jr., 44, still bearing the boyhood nickname Bus, will be the starting helmsman, and his brother, Charles, 48, will be alternate. Son-in-law Sherman Morss will navigate, and daughter Sis, his wife, will be on deck much of the time. Mr. Hovey himself will head the board of strategy.
Adding to the knowledge and know-how of the Hovey clan will be Ray Hunt, as brilliant a racing sailor as he is a designer. At his best in light airs, his ability to smell out fickle slants borders on the miraculous. "Ray is uncanny," his competitors have moaned, including me. "He goes somewhere, and that's where the new breeze begins." Among his other talents is tuning to a high pitch vessels which have been dead for other skippers: "He can make 'em come alive," admitted one owner. Perhaps this is a reason why Chandler Hovey is not too concerned by the late launching date projected for Easterner. "If you have a good boat it doesn't take long to get her going," he said. "Tuning is a matter of prior knowledge and feel." But the elimination of design and building bugs is another thing, and among the question marks of the trials will be the ability of her crew to get rid of all possible sources of trouble in the short time before the chips are down.
Henry Mercer and his associates conceived and commissioned Weatherly in the tradition of an earlier era, and it looks as though she will be sailed in the same manner. Mr. Mercer will not be aboard but will watch events from the deck of the 110-foot diesel yacht Bluejacket, as Sir Thomas Lipton followed the destinies of his Shamrocks from the bridge of the mother ship, Erin. But there the similarity will end, as the crew of Weatherly will be principally Corinthian. In fact, representing the sailing interests of his family as one of the pullers-and-haulers aboard will be Douglas D. Mercer, 22. Now a States Marine Line third mate, he will temporarily desert the bridge for the foredeck.
The question of who would be named as skipper of Weatherly was debated by yachtsmen for months. Many of the finest racing helmsmen in America were considered, but the final honor of selection went to Arthur Knapp Jr. of Larchmont, N.Y. On Ranger he occupied the post of head-sail and spinnaker trimmer. In 1958 he will have the responsibility of rounding out and training a crew, choosing sails, tuning the rig and making the 10,000 individual decisions which inevitably plague a skipper.
Now in his early 50s, Knappy's sailing career extends back to 1916 when he raced a 14-foot Butterfly class sneakbox at the Bayside Yacht Club. At 11, his father bought him a Star; by 1930 he had become world champion skipper of the Star class, numerically at the time about the biggest and most active one-design fleet in existence. From Stars, he progressed up and down, sizewise, from dinghies to J's, and extended his interests to ocean racing, making the trip to Bermuda, among other offshore ventures, nine times. In between he raced Internationals in Long Island Sound for 12 seasons, winning the YRA Championship four times and never finishing farther back than third. Few sailors have had more varied experience, or been as consistently successful in all types of vessels.
Shuttling between sail trimmer and relief helmsman will be Edgar L. Raymond of Rowayton, Conn. Best known as the owner of the ketch Chanteyman, a slippery ghost in coastwise racing, he also earned a reputation as crew member on other winning yachts, and as an ardent Frostbite dinghy skipper. Himself a sail-maker, he will contribute an ability to evaluate the vital question of drive aloft. The author will navigate, alternating and sharing other deck duties with Frank R. MacLear of New York, who is a veteran of five Atlantic and two Pacific crossings, as well as innumerable shorter passages and races.
The designer will be represented by his son, Philip H. Rhodes, a naval architect and member of his father's firm, who combines a knowledge of engineering with a well-rounded sailing career. Still to be named are three professionals and two additional Corinthians; however, there is no lack of candidates.
When John Matthews speaks of the crew of Vim, it is always in terms of a modest "we." In this case the plural includes his two sons, Donald, 24, and Richard, 27. In many respects Vim is part of the family, as well as being a family boat. Don was acting as skipper when still in his teens; a quiet, soft-spoken young man, he was national champion of the Raven class—small, very fast and sensitive boats—in 1954, and last summer did well in the keenly contested Internationals on Long Island. From present indications, he will probably be starting helmsman.