SI Vault
October 02, 1967
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October 02, 1967


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In the red outback country of central Australia the citizens of Alice Springs dutifully held their annual regatta on the Todd River, an event that would not be particularly noteworthy except that the Todd had not had a drop of water in it for 18 months. Before that the riverbed had been dry for eight years.

But, no matter, come September the Henley-on-Todd Regatta takes place. Skiffs, sloops and shells are brought down to the riverbank, crews clamber into them, sails are hoisted and the various events are hotly (in temperatures of 100� ) contested. The boats, it should be explained, are all bottomless, their hulls powered from one end of the course to the other on the hairy legs of their crews.

Some 3,000 spectators lined the banks of the Todd this year and cheered and cheered (more than 2,000 quart bottles of beer were consumed). The feature event of the day was the Australia's Cup, which pitted an approximation of an American 12-meter yacht against an Australian sloop of the same dubious class. The U.S. entry, named the Insipid, was manned by Americans who operate what is said to be a weather station in Alice Springs. (The windows of the station are bricked up, which suggests that whatever they watch, it isn't the weather.) The Australian boat, the Sir Bob, was named in honor of Dame Pattie's husband, Sir Robert Menzies.

The Americans won in a walk, so to speak, just as they did the following week in Newport, R.I. The Australia's Cup, it turned out, was a dry run for the America's Cup.


When the game of parlor psychiatry is played the players often compare the personalities of cat owners with those of cats and the personalities of dog owners with dogs. Felinophiles are supposedly sedentary and vain; caninophiles, active and waggish.

What does the old pro of applied psychology—the pet food salesman—think about this? Well, the Ralston Purina folks have come up with a number of fascinating contests this season, and naturally they would want to offer prizes that probe the inner yearnings of their customers.

So, for the grand prize of one of their dog food sweepstakes, they offer a 25-foot cabin cruiser, plus water skis, snorkels and picnic equipment.

The appeal of the cat food sweepstakes is altogether different. Its top inducement: "A Norman Rockwell portrait of you and your cat," along with such incidentals as a trip to Manhattan and Nassau.

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