Demarche on the
There was not
very much that Americans in the Moscow Embassy, or Americans at home, for that
matter, could do when the Embassy was besieged by a drilled crowd of 100,000
shouting, rock-throwing Russians last Friday—though next day the State
Department dispatched a stiff note of diplomatic outrage. Among the Americans
in Moscow, however, was a drilled bunch of crewmen from the University of
Washington and, in a manner of speaking, they took things into their own
Next day on the
Khimki Reservoir, just outside Moscow, the Washington Huskies piled into their
eight-oared shell and rowed out, by longstanding previous engagement, against
the Russian crew that had beaten them (by a length and a quarter) at Henley a
With an excess of
energy and feeling that had come to them during the fortnight—possibly even
overnight—they took the lead after the first few strokes, held it and beat
their Henley conquerors by a good length and a half. Then, as 6,000 Russians
applauded with the traditional good grace of sportsmen, the Huskies climbed out
onto the banks of the Khimki Reservoir and tossed their coxswain in the Moscow
For many an
American, it was a demarche every bit as satisfying as the protest which was
sent off by the State Department.
As all four of
America's would-be cup defenders wallowed in a flat calm off Newport, R.I. one
day last week, their British counterpart huddled helplessly in a Dorsetshire
harbor immobilized by unseasonable gales. The brisk breezes on Poole Bay,
however, failed to dampen Sceptre's ardor for long. Throughout most of the rest
of the week the British challenger was busily footing through the choppy waters
of the bay showing her heels to the veteran pacemaker Evaine with a regularity
that seemed impossible only a few weeks before.
discouraging period of early trials in which she was bested time and again by
the older boat, Sceptre is sailing with new confidence under a new skipper
plucked straight from the quarterdeck of Evaine herself. "I can't think why
they didn't pick him in the first place," said one seasoned British
yachtsman of the challenger's new captain, Stanley Bishop, a salty professional
who had long since proved himself a master tactician in 12-meters. "Stan is
the sort of chap that is popular with everyone," said one Sceptre foremast
hand. "His arrival is a tonic to all of us."
"We've got to
find a way to make Sceptre faster," said Bishop himself when he took over,
"and I think we can do it." From almost that moment on, the British
challenger's crew has been displaying an unwonted new smartness at sea and a
new confidence ashore. Day after day they have been up at 6 a.m. or before to
begin the arduous maneuvers under sail that make for a perfectly coordinated
racing team. At the long evening skull sessions at Royal Motor Yacht Club at
Sandbanks, the atmosphere sparkles with new enthusiasm. Meanwhile Sceptre
herself has been tuned and retuned to achieve a new efficiency of handling.
Every winch in the boat, for instance, has been relocated since her launching.
Last week she broke out a massive new red, white and blue spinnaker.
"I am not
going to make any rash prophesies," said Sceptre's helmsman Graham Mann
last week, "but there is no doubt that Sceptre is sailing very fast now.
All we need is our share of luck." As the challenger entered the last week
of trials before being loaded (on July 28) aboard the Cunarder Alsatia for her
trip to the U.S., most Britons were beginning to share Mann's optimism.
Decrying the fact that a certain U.S. yachtsman had called the British boat a
"$125,000 lemon," one London salt-water critic wrote: "All we can
say to that is: the more rotten the lemon, the bigger the splash when it is
well and energetically directed at its target."