Samuelson shouted the order.
Nat opened his
mouth to shout "no!" but before the syllable came out, it was too late,
it was done. The bow of the boat was swinging around. They had tacked. The race
was as good as over.
slogging toward the finish line, but it didn't matter anymore, because if the
wind shifted in either direction Hunt would benefit from the fact that they had
tacked and he had not, and if the wind did not shift at all he would beat them
anyway, by the two-boat-length advantage that he held. Hunt would be astonished
by their error, but only for an instant. Then he would convince himself that it
was his virtue that enabled him to hold fast until they blundered—and, of
course, in a sense it was.
Dyce was sailing
the boat adequately now, not the way he had sailed it before. His turn had
come. It had been real. He had his chance, and he blew it. Or maybe not, maybe
it had just been taken from him. Either way it was over.
It did not hurt
Nat as much as he would have expected to cross the finish line, because at that
moment he was no longer brother to anyone. Both he and his father had heard him
shout "no" when the moment came, and both of them knew that some men
can be wiped out and some cannot. As they crossed the finish line in third
place, Hunt waved to them with the special warmth that a man feels for another
man whom he has beaten. Samuelson waved back with his right arm.
trouble back there," he shouted. It was impossible to say more, above the
noise of the wind, with the distance between the two boats already widening as
they headed for different harbors, but it would make a fine story back on
shore, in his own yacht club first but later in Hunt's club also and all the
other clubs, how he had almost met his end during the race but had insisted on
finishing, even though his sons had wanted to quit. Of course, he would be
careful to give them credit for taking over the boat and finishing third. As he
put away the binoculars, he noticed with irritation that he had forgotten to
ease the tension of the sails, and here they were, almost back at the