In this week's SPECTACLE the camera of Photographer Richard Meek presents the four immaculately beautiful vessels which continue to vie, in the Final Trials off Newport, for the honor of defending the America's Cup. These sleek sloops are a far and century-long cry from the two-masted schooner that inaugurated the Cup Races in 1851, but their masters are cut from the same colorful cloth as the sailors who preceded them.
The history of the Cup Races, in fact, is a story of men as well as boats, of raised tempers and lowered booms. To tell that story Art Director Jerome Snyder, a distinguished artist in his own right, has prepared 10 revealing caricatures (above) of the most controversial or noteworthy of these personalities. These are combined with prose vignettes by George Plimpton, biographer of Harold Vanderbilt (SI, Oct. 15, '56 et seq.), to provide an entirely new and very human look at the evolution of the contests.
If SPORTS ILLUSTRATED becomes retrospective here, next week it becomes prospective in almost every sense. For next week comes the America's Cup PREVIEW. From the tension and growing excitement in the atmosphere around Newport, Carleton Mitchell will evaluate the potentialities of the defenders in the light of their total performances in the trials. The challenger Sceptre will be on the cover, and Mitchell, who in May enjoyed a privilege unheard of in cup annals of sailing aboard her in England, will tell how she looks in September over here.
While Mitchell takes a critical view, a two page panoramic painting takes an aerial view. Here you will see, as if in a plane looking back toward Newport, the two courses, windward-leeward and triangular, which the boats will sail on alternate days beginning September 20. And you will see, too, the familiar landmarks of the area. Finally, the PREVIEW summarizes some good things to know about the races—matter like buoys, warning guns, recall signals, race conditions, weather probabilities and basic tactics.
Something no one can know yet is the identity of the defender. But in the September 22 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED everyone will have a chance to know her skipper. That is where Carleton Mitchell will describe him—just about the time the gun goes off for the 17th defense of the America's Cup.