This is due in great part to the increasing use of fiber-glass plastic, that marvelously adaptable material that has brought what amounts to mass production to the once rarefied art of boat building. Of the 500 boats in this year's show, half are made of plastic and more than 100 are sailboats, many of them designed for light housekeeping at sea. They range from the Jaguar and Continental level (Chris-Craft's 35-foot Sail Yacht at $25,000, Ray Greene's 25-foot New Horizons at $12,000, Douglass & McLeod's 27-foot Tartan at $11,750) to a flock of comparative Fords, Plymouths and Chevies (Nautica's 18-foot Corsaire at $2,175, General Boat's 17-foot Picnic 17 at $1,985, Siddons & Sindle's 20-foot Nomad at $4,000).
Even the merchandising techniques are impressively up-to-date. They are not actually giving away trading stamps at the show, but there is a definite trend in that direction. Anyone who buys an Owens cruiser at $6,000 or less gets a free transistor radio. Over $6,000 rates a portable TV.
DOCTOR OF BASKETBALL
Virginians wince these days when they tune in their most powerful radio station, WRVA, Richmond. For the basketball games broadcast on WRVA are those of none other than the West—by God—Virginia Mountaineers. You remember, of course, that West Virginia broke away from the Old Dominion in 1861, and you realize that broadcasting Mountaineer games from a Richmond station is somewhat akin to broadcasting Israeli folk songs from Radio Cairo.
This bizarre situation is the responsibility of one zealous West Virginia basketball fan, Dr. Lowell W. Schwab, a 28-year-old native of Kingswood, W. Va., who is now a resident obstetrician in Richmond. Stunned to learn that no station in the West Virginia basketball network was able to beam Mountaineer games over the mountains to Richmond, Schwab obtained Richmond rights to the broadcasts and persuaded WRVA to carry the games—which WRVA agreed to do if a sponsor could be obtained. This was no easy thing; lack of a sponsor was keeping the games of Virginia's own Virginia Tech and William & Mary off the air.
The station and its representatives couldn't get a sponsor. Schwab could—in one day. He made five unsuccessful calls. On his sixth he sold the games to the Old Dominion Candy Company. Then he started rounding up contributions to pay the $1,500 due for broadcast rights and line charges. Everything is working out fine. Donations are still pouring in, some from as far away as Michigan, for some strange reason, and Dr. Schwab, a happy man, has retired to his hospital, his babies and his radio.
WINNER ON THE LATE SHOW
At the end of the two-run slalom race at the professional ski championships in Aspen, Colo. last week, Christian Pravda was first by 1.7 seconds over Adrien Duvillard. But, said a course official who seemed alone in his opinion, Pravda had missed a gate on his second run and was therefore disqualified. Usually these gate-missing questions provoke long, bitter arguments, and everyone goes away disbelieving. This time, however, the principals crowded into the American Broadcasting Company's big electronic van and ran the video tape back to check. Sure enough, on the fifth gate Pravda hit the top pole, stopped uncertainly, then raced on. Over the tape came the voice of Tom Corcoran, Olympic skier and amateur TV Commentator: "He almost lost it right there." And an instant later in the semidark of the van the live voice of Tom Corcoran added,' 'And, as a matter of fact, he did."
The judges concurred. Pravda lost the race, and Duvillard won the $800 first prize. But the town of Aspen gained a precedent: the first place in the world where a sports event was decided by video tape.