approach to sailing reminded one of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Grand Prix champion
of two decades ago, who once said, "I drive just as slow as I can and still
win." In contrast, the Prack brothers, with their Tuesday capsize and their
reckless, borderline hikes, were the Katzenjammer Kids. On Friday the Pracks
took the joy out of Joy. Humming along on the final leg a good quarter mile
ahead of the fleet, the Pracks shot past the finish-line mark on the wrong
side, and then failed to go back around the mark and right their ways. Done
promptly, it might have preserved the victory; at worst, they would have had a
second. Instead, they tacked over to the committee boat and eliminated
themselves from a placing. While the Pracks were doing themselves in, Jessenig
puttered along to a comfortable seventh-place finish.
The next day
Bandido won again (it was the only boat to score two firsts), and Jessenig was
fourth. On Sunday, Jessenig was third. Weiser, in Manuiwa II, broke his rudder,
and while he was trying to limp home (he finished 36th) he told a passing boat,
"The pau-paus are very menacing."
the race sailor Bruce Harvey explained, "They're what really get you out
there! A pau-pau is a gust. If you catch one, you might get a real fast ride
for two or three hundred yards. You can't look for pau-paus, though. If you do,
you might get a negative pau-pau that slows you down." Harvey is an
engaging Californian whose 22 years would seem to belie the fact that he is
America's original, most experienced and perhaps most successful Tornado racer.
"Our boat is US 1 because it was the very first one here," he says.
When he heard in 1967 that Reg White was onto something big, we ordered a
Tornado sight unseen. We paid $2,000 for it." The going price for
fiber-glass Tornados now is around $4,000, with wood hulls running as high as
felt the pau-paus, or whatever one wanted to call them—they are simply wind
patterns deriving from the fragmentation of the trades by mountains—were making
Jessenig particularly effective. "He and the Pracks do a lot of lake
sailing, with the Alps all around them," said one skipper. "Maybe other
people can't find the pau-paus, but Jessenig can. Today he went way high on the
leeward mark and passed 10 boats before the next mark."
scores were cumulative, with each team allowed to discard its worst finish.
Jessenig threw out his eighth place, and by Sunday night he led by roughly 11
points over the Bandido team, making Monday's final almost, though not quite, a
formality. The last race did provide a rousing climax, with 11 boats crossing
the finish line in a two-minute period. US 1 was the victor, but Jessenig took
second place and the overall title. Afterward, he was asked about the Alpine
influence on his ability to read the wind. "These are not mountains!"
happy with his fifth-place finish (10th overall), confessed that he was the
inventor of the pau-paus. "It's a phrase I picked up in Tahiti," he
said. "The Tahitians believe spirits govern the winds, and pau-pau is how
they describe them. I always tell the Californians if they don't believe in
pau-paus they can't win, and when one of them sails by and asks how I'm doing I
always say, 'The pau-paus are very menacing today.' "
regatta, Weiser said, "The first two minutes are telling in Tornado racing.
If the wind is filling on a certain side of the line and you get it, you're
going to be in close contention. If you're on the wrong side, forget it."
Bandido was a prime example of the validity of this theory, winning the first
race after the radical port tack and losing the seventh after getting off dead
last on the wrong side of the line.
Austrians were exultant, there was a good deal of comfort for the U.S. in the
results. Eight of the first 12 boats in the final standings wore U.S. colors,
with Paul Allen, David McFaull and Bruce Harvey finishing second, third and
fourth, respectively. Allen had borrowed his entry, Rapid Transit System, just
a week before, and when he took over, the craft seemed barely seaworthy, more
of a slow bus than a fast cab.
Austria nor the U.S. should have much trouble picking an Olympic team. But
Jessenig might have to move some mountains, because there may not be enough
around Lake Ontario.