OUT OF EAGLE'S NEST
Congratulations to SI and Bob Ottum for the fine and complete article on Bill Cox (Tense Skipper for a Taut Ship, Aug. 31). I've known Coxie and raced against him for many, many years. He has certainly put his all into the Eagle this year, as you suggest.
However, it is somewhat inaccurate to say that John Nichols "dropped out of the crew at the end of the preliminary trials." The fact is John was fired. He was fired not face-to-face but over the telephone after he had gone home to Port Chester at the end of the New York Yacht Club Cruise—and he was fired not by Cox but by the manager of the Aurora Syndicate, because he "didn't know enough."
Now John Nichols raced with me for four years on Weatherly as head man on the fore-deck. He made a boat that was slow upwind go downwind very fast indeed with the result that under our guidance Weatherly won three Queen's Cups, a couple of Clucas Cups (for the best elapsed time on the longest run of the NYYC Cruise), one Astor Cup, three Hovey Bowls (emblematic of the 12-meter season championship) and the Cygnet Cup in 1961 for the outstanding performance on the NYYC Cruise, plus the NINA Trophy and Vineyard Trophy in the 1961 Vineyard Race.
In my opinion, John Nichols has no peer except Rod Stephens Jr. in jib or spinnaker handling and trimming. I've sailed and raced with both of them probably more than anyone else over a great many years. They both know their stuff and know how to handle themselves, aboard any boat of any size.
Furthermore, it is my opinion (which no one has asked for), that there were three factors that were mainly responsible for the selection of Constellation over American Eagle: 1) the removal of John Nichols, 2) the addition of Rod Stephens to Constellation (and you can bet your bottom dollar that this move "pulled" the crew of Connie right together) and 3) the new helmsman of Connie, Bob Bavier Jr., who is no slouch at steering anything.
ARTHUR KNAPP JR.
I feel compelled to compliment you on your coverage of Jim Ryun's preparation for the Olympic trials (A Kansas Boy with a Man-size Task, Sept. 14). Your article made me feel advance pressures, strategies, and determinations. Most impressive however, was rereading it after the race.
Surely no one featured with such speculation on your cover has ever come on so magnificently. Ryun did all the things expected of and predicted for him and added that ingredient he had lacked before.
I have seen the video tape three times, including slow motion, and I will never forget that skinny 17-year-old form in the never-say-die drive that nailed a fine older runner at the finish line and got him his trip to Tokyo. It certainly was not a brilliant strategy race for Jim Ryun. He ran all over the track and many extra meters, but the things he lacks he can learn. What he showed he has fully justifies all the attention he has been given. May all your choices prove so apt!
La Jolla, Calif.
What a shame and a pity, that a coach could be so selfish as to force a teen-ager into competition in the manner that Bob Timmons is pushing Jim Ryun. I am sorry for both of them.
CHARLOTTE C. MARSH
South Burlington, Vt.
The September 14 issue of SI devotes eight pages to something you people call "the sporting look." The sad part of it all is that every page means one less page devoted to sports, truly a shameful waste!
E. W. BAGLIN