No Panic, Please
The early trial races of the 12-meter yacht Sceptre, lavishly constructed ($100,000) challenger for the America's Cup, was giving British newsmen bad dreams last week. The awful facts were that Sceptre had been beaten five straight times off Cowes by an old 12-meter named Evaine.
Pricked by the presentiment that their big story on the cup races might end up as a description of a British fiasco, the London press began to get testy, even shrill. "Has a £35,000 mistake been made?" cried the Daily Mail, while assorted yachting correspondents howled that 34-year-old Graham Mann (the Sceptre hehelmsman) ought to be replaced by Thom, and one, letting go completely, telegraphed the home office with trembling hand, "Send Evaine!"
As a soother, members of the Sceptre group let the correspondents in on an official secret. The Evaine-Sceptre races, they explained, had been held in light winds which are Evaine's specialty, while the Sceptre has been specifically designed for speed in stiff breezes of the sort expected during the races in September off Newport.
"There is no evidence of failure yet, none at all," said William Crago of Saunders-Roe Ltd., whose testing tanks determined Sceptre's lines. "We fed statistics about Rhode Island conditions into our calculations and out came Sceptre."
The British, in short, are gambling that Newport weather will be Newport weather.
The Face of the Tiger
Down in Charleston, West Va. they apparently knew all about it well beforehand. "If the guys on the ant hill hum that seed," they told us, "the Tigers will strike up the band in Detroit." Their own beloved Bill Norman, whom we didn't know very well at the time, was on his way north, it seemed, to take over the management of the Detroit Tigers. That's the way he talked, so that's the way the West Virginians talked too.
Well, as it turned out during the next 10 days or so, the seeds hummed like Sabre jets, and by now almost everybody, including us, knows Bill Norman a little better. They know him as the once-faceless man who went north with a new set of dentures with which the once-toothless Tigers chewed up tough Yankees like chicken meat. In the first two weeks of Bill Norman's management, Detroit beat the Yanks six games in a row, the first time any team has done that to the perennial league leaders since 1953, when the Yanks lost six times to Cleveland over a period of two months.
Back in Detroit last week when the hungry cats came home again like Roman lions with the Yankees meekly in tow to continue the slaughter, Detroit was striking up the band just as prophesied. The only trouble was that nobody could hear it above the roar of a crowd of 53,168 Tiger rooters cramming the stadium. As Tiger Hurler Jim Bunning sent the seed humming to strike out Yankee after Yankee (14 in all, a season-high for the majors) the roars increased to hurricane force. Over the happy blast one bunch of delirious rooters raised a banner with the legend: BILL NORMAN FOR PRESIDENT!