Before Stephens, or any designer, can absolutely scuttle the traditional wooden Twelves, Lloyds of London must first establish (at the request of the International Yacht Racing Union) what is called a set of scantlings—that is, rules to ensure that designers and builders will not cut corners and sacrifice strength and safety for lightness. A few years ago when the IYRU first asked this of Lloyds, the insurance group declined, saying that it would be a waste of time and money unless there were some sort of assurance that an aluminum Twelve would actually be built. Now, apparently, there is that assurance.
For traditionalists who see the sea through a haze of wood shavings and oakum, who revere shipwrights who sculpt boats by eye and adz, the news of aluminum Twelves sits hard. But it is a plus for the future. Aluminum is stiff, strong and light, and it is comparatively easy to build a boat with it, whereas finding a shipyard capable of constructing the meticulously designed 12-meter yachts from wood is about as easy as locating a live dinosaur. Further, it is versatile; as Designer Britton Chance points out, it is conceivable that with aluminum hulls the 1973 boats will have a veritable wardrobe of sterns. If one doesn't seem to work right, you simply lop it off and fit on another.
Finally, aluminum is not simply a gimmick with which the New York Yacht Club hopes to retain its edge over foreign challengers. Bruno Bich of France says his country is for the idea (his father, Baron Marcel Bich, has announced that he will challenge again in 1973), and so is Alan Payne, who designed Australia's Gretel II. Both know that, with modern technology, everything will be fine and that what happened to L. Francis Herreshoff's Defender in 1895 won't happen in the 1970s. Defender, the first cup boat to be constructed with aluminum topsides, had a bronze bottom. When that was immersed in salt water, electrolysis turned the yacht into a kind of huge battery. She almost melted.
A new playground for the jet set is being built near Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Felix Houphouet-Boigny, president of the country, says, "The project may bring smiles to those skeptics who think that Africa is irrevocably condemned to mediocrity and stagnation," but the new "African Riviera" will have hotels, amusement parks, a wild-animal island and an 18-hole golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones. The golf course, the first element scheduled to be completed, will be ready in 1972.
GOOD OLD NO. 37—UH, 52
Rich Coady is a reserve tight end for the Chicago Bears and wears No. 37, an unusual but acceptable number for a tight end. However, there is a complication. Because of injuries, the Bears have been reduced to only two active tackles, and Center Bob Hyland has been tabbed as the first reserve. If one of the regular tackles is injured, Hyland moves over from center and fills in. Coady, in turn, has been named Hyland's replacement. But if Coady is called into action as a center, he can't just run on the field and take over. First, he must strip off jersey No. 37 and shift to No. 52, which would clearly identify him to officials as an ineligible receiver.
Remember the old days, when in the dying moments of the game a grim-faced Pat O'Brien would turn to scared-looking Harold Lloyd at the end of the bench and snap, "You there, you with the glasses. Get in at halfback." Pat O'Brien didn't care what number he was sending in. He didn't even know if Harold Lloyd had a number.
It has often been said that a prime requirement for fishing is patience. Wait long enough and the fish will be there. Well, that is one way of doing it, and a paragon along these lines is Tommy Baker of St. Petersburg, Fla. Baker recently caught a 15�-pound largemouth bass in Lake Seminole near St. Pete. It was an impressive trophy, no question about it, but it was quite a bit lighter than the 22-pound 4-ounce largemouth caught by a man named George Perry in Lake Montgomery, Ga. 38 years ago. That's still the record, the 60 home runs of largemouth bass fishing. So Baker took his 15-pounder and put it in a small pond back of his home. There he intends to keep it, feeding it at proper intervals, until it grows up to around 23 pounds or so. Then he'll go a-fishin' again. It might take a few years but, as we noted above, Tommy Baker is a patient man.
Games played on boards are customarily games played in fantasyland, but bringing matters very much down to earth in Cambridge, Mass. is Urban Systems, Inc., a research outfit that has developed three games dealing with environment. The games—DIRTY WATER, SMOG and ECOLOGY—are so realistically enlightening that they have the potential of truly benefiting the players as well as society at large. Not only that, the packages and moving parts are either biodegradable or recyclable.