When Dame Pattie arrived, there was considerable speculation that Designer Warwick Hood might have gambled on the assumption that it rarely blew hard off Newport in September. But he picked the wrong year. On Saturday gale warnings were flying. On Sunday, although the wind dropped, the fleet was kept bottled in the harbor by fog. But on Monday, after a start delayed for two hours by more fog, Intrepid took the final race in a moderate breeze by a margin of 3 minutes 35 seconds.
Although the weather this year played a considerable part in the proceedings, it should not be allowed to obscure the fact that Australia produced a very fine and advanced 12-meter yacht. Outsiders cannot realize that the technological requirements are of almost space-age complexity. For Dame Pattie, Australian industry for the first time fabricated such exotic items as bar rigging and extruded aluminum masts some 80 feet tall. So well did they succeed in all departments that it can be safely said that the Australians, on only the second try, came up with a vessel at least the equal of any 12-meter yacht ever built anywhere in the world—until Intrepid was launched.
Once again the quiet man with the pencil, Olin Stephens, combined art and science to produce a masterpiece. Earlier this season, looking over Intrepid with Olin, I asked him if he thought he could create anything faster. "Each boat is a step," he said. "Even before it is finished you can see changes that should make the next one do better."
Thus I agree with John Livingston, the Australian who shared in the building of Kurrewa V as part of the last British challenge. One day as we were talking together Olin walked past. "Good morning, Olin. How are you feeling?" demanded John. "Fine. Never better," replied Olin with a grin. John Livingston explained to me, " America will never lose the cup so long as he's around to design a defender. So every time I see him I ask how he feels." But potential challengers might also check on the health of that even quieter man with the looms and the sewing machine, Ted Hood. Then, of course, there are Bus Mosbacher and his 10 stalwart crewmen; when they are all in wheelchairs, I think someone else may have a chance to lift the cup.