Each morning Gale gets into the elevator with the dogs for their daily ritual—the dogs start to bark as soon as the doors close while Gale yells, "Kill! Kill! Kill!" because the sound is nicely magnified inside the elevator shaft. By the time the doors slide open on the lobby, unsettled strangers expect to see a pair of slavering Great Danes leaping out upon them. Gale then drops off the dogs with Mama for the day and whips off in her Mustang convertible to teach third grade at Parkway Elementary School.
"The car was a present from Daddy after the Key West race," Gale explains. "He told me that if we came in first he would buy me a Rolls-Royce. But we came in third, and I got this Mustang."
Teacher is a romantic figure to the Parkway scholars, and they recently did a mural on one wall showing her and her mother in Miss Amazon. In one of the sections of the mural the boat seems to be ramming a submarine, but in all of the pictures the boat is assuredly charging like crazy, leaping wildly out of the water, and most of the drawings show Gale's long, black hair streaming back in the wind.
The mural makes a telling point. This happy, leaping will to win runs strong through the Jacobys. The Gateway Marathon last April provided the clincher. It is the purest indication of the sort of feminine spirit the men can expect in the Sam Griffith race, and in the years ahead.
"After we had sunk the Miss Amazon off the Diplomat," says Rene, "Harry paid a great deal of money and floated it again. We patched it up, put in new engines, new radio, new everything.
"We were racing it from West Palm Beach, headed for Grand Bahama Island. And it looked pretty good until we got about 10 miles out. Then it got choppy. Then rough. Then very, very rough. Suddenly we hit a little side wave—these things happen in boat racing and can be very dangerous.
"The wave—pow!—opened up a 10-inch-wide three-foot hole in the hull. Just like that. Gale looked back and saw the water pouring in. She switched on the bilge pumps—for whatever good that would do—and we swung around at full speed and headed back for West Palm.
"We knew our time was short, very short. We had a lot of snap decisions to make in a hurry. For one thing, Gale had to keep the boat running at top speed. That way, we were planing along with most of the hull—and the hole—out of the water.
"Our aerial was down, and I knew that by the time I got it rigged up and called the Coast Guard we would have sunk anyway. So we rejected that idea. Gale kept racing and I started bailing...."
The Jacobys made it back to a West Palm Beach marina, shouting, "We're sinking!" to spectators on the shore; Rene was in the back of the boat bailing with a bucket. Gale pulled right up to the dock smartly—an expert piece of boat handling—and everybody cheered.