In Hugh Whall's otherwise excellent account of Ondine's ordeal in the Sydney-Hobart race (The Hard Way to Hobart, Jan. 13) you have created a geographical paradox, to put it politely. In fact, it shivered my timbers. You say, "Bound southward from Germany around Cape Horn to Sydney...[Ondine] snapped off her mainmast in the Indian Ocean some 5,000 miles west of Sydney."
I suspect that Whall's cable read BOUND SOUTHWARD AROUND THE CAPE, and then some overeager editorial pencil made it " Cape Horn" instead of the Cape of Good Hope. The two are as far apart linguistically as they are geographically. Allow me to quote you a master mariner who was also a master storyteller. In The Mirror of the Sea (1906), Joseph Conrad writes:
"It was somewhere near the Cape—The Cape being, of course, the Cape of Good Hope.... And whether it is...because men are shy of confessing their good hopes, it has become the nameless cape—the Cape, tout court. The other great cape of the world, strangely enough, is seldom if ever called a cape. We say 'a voyage round the Horn;' 'we rounded the Horn;' 'we got a frightful battering off the Horn;' but rarely ' Cape Horn.' "
Shyly or no, I confess my good hope that you will restore our Good Hope.
New York City
?Or, as Herman Melville put it in his White Jacket: "Sailor or landsman, there is some sort of Cape Horn for all. Boys! beware of it.... Greybeards! thank God it is passed."
DEATH IN A SCHOOLYARD
Congratulations to Dennis Valianos (SCORECARD, Jan. 6). He did an excellent job of presenting life as it is in these United States today. It isn't every day a group of elementary school children can watch their teacher, and supposed leader, commit a cold-blooded murder in the schoolyard.
Can 20 years of violence on television or in the theater have any more detrimental effect on these children than what Mr. Valianos provided in a few short minutes in a Virginia schoolyard?
G. HARRY STOPP JR.
It is to be sincerely hoped by all of us in the New York State wine industry that your exceptionally fine reporting on the New York Jets' victory celebration on Sunday, Dec. 29th did not bring down more than 25 cases of champagne upon their heads. We adopted the Jets, win or lose, in their title game against the Oakland Raiders. We were given permission to supply the champagne, and happily it was doubly bubbly because they were able to toast each other in triumph.
It grieved us to read in Edwin Shrake's story of the triumph over the Raiders that President Milt Woodard of the American Football League might find it his duty to impose fines on the Jets for violation of an antichampagne ordinance, which apparently is not waived for even such sweet moments as these.
If there is to be any chastisement, someone ought to at least mildly reprimand these young men for pouring the champagne all over each other. It was ice cold and could have caused chills and weakened resistance. Champagne, as everyone knows, belongs at happy occasions. Let us not legislate against what must have been the happiest of times.
PAUL M. SCHLEM
Gold Seal Vineyards, Inc.