Columbia seemed the puzzle of the series. Despite her showing on the New York Yacht Club cruise, her supporters felt sure she would come into her own in match racing. But while she at times demonstrated terrific bursts of speed, at other times she looked dead. Perhaps in her case the addition of ballast and resultant decrease of sail area, effected just before the trials, did not benefit her. She undoubtedly needed more wind than she found. Yet her starts were notably unaggressive and tardy, and her crew work was not what might be expected from such an outstanding group of sailors. In the opinion of most observers, she is still the boat with the greatest potential. It does not detract from her demonstrated ability to say she does not appear to have truly found herself—and time is running out. Vim continues a consistent and tough competitor. She had unquestionably been the most brilliant on the starting line, and her tactics are seldom in error. She moves well in both light and fresh breezes, to windward and to leeward. Her sail complement is extensive and excellent. The defeats she suffered in the middle of the series, after defeating each boat in turn, might have been caused by a willingness to experiment with sails and gear in search of still greater efficiency. Significantly, a "banana boom," very limber, was passed as legal but discarded after the decisive defeat by Columbia.
Unfortunately, the fourth contender, Easterner, has not kept up the competitive pace. Flashes of form have indicated basic speed, but she has yet to win a match race. Chandler Hovey, her owner, declared from the first she would be a family boat. He began the Preliminary Trials by including as crew his daughter and two grandchildren—something like taking on the Chicago Bears between courses of a picnic.
Easterner also suffered from a minimum complement of sails. Now there are new additions to both sails and crew. It must not be forgotten that Easterner has had the least time since launching; perhaps her turn will come in the next series, especially as she is a favored heavy-weather boat. To date there has not been a single slugging match in heavy wind and sea to test a defender in the conditions which may be encountered against Sceptre—herself weaned on the near gales of the Solent—in late September. Using the precedent of Rainbow, Easterner should not be counted out.
So in the Final Trials the selection of the defender will contain as much drama as the races themselves, and the heat is equally on committee and contestants. The chairman of the cup committee, W.A.W. Stewart, said in 1937, "Ranger selected herself." Stewart is again chairman, again confronted with the responsibility of naming a defender. But this time it looks as though he and his colleagues will have to work at it.