Judge Jones would have none of it, and refused Arkle his license for "intemperate behavior and lack of competitive activity."
Great Britain's National Rifle Association, of which Arkle is a lifelong member, stood squarely behind the judge. "I see no difference between drink and driving and drink and shooting, except the latter is even more dangerous," said Air Commodore Arthur Riall, NRA secretary.
Said the disarmed Arkle with a shrug, "Some people take tranquilizers. I happen to drink a lot."
On July 11, the day Walter Poenisch turned 65, he got a birthday cake and a hug from Fidel Castro, jumped into the water off Havana and headed north on a trip he had been planning for 15 years. On July 13, at 4 a.m., he staggered ashore at Little Duck Key, Fla. No sooner had he collapsed from the 33�-hour, 125-mile ordeal, than a brouhaha arose over Poenisch's claim to have been the first to swim the distance, because Poenisch a) wore flippers, b) used a snorkel, c) admitted he rested on his boat for a total of 30 minutes and d) had no observers from the media along.
Although Poenisch's feat is remarkable for a person of any age, it is not strictly swimming—flippers alone enable one to go 1� times faster than bare feet and with less effort—as Diana Nyad took pains to point out.
Nyad is the young woman who hopes to swim from Cuba to Miami on July 21. She will swim without flippers or a snorkel, which greatly facilitates breathing in the slightest chop, following the accepted practices for such undertakings. Most notable among these is that the swimmer not touch anything except water except while being fed, much less ride on a boat.
In attempting to discredit Poenisch's achievement, Nyad has referred to him as a cheat and very overweight. For his part, Poenisch, like most experts, feels that Nyad—who has never swum more than 67 miles and three times has failed to swim the English Channel—has no chance of completing her swim. Clutching a Cuban flag in one hand and an American flag in the other, Poenisch feebly whispered after his swim, "If she goes more than 30 miles, I'll give her everything I own, including my home and car."
UP THE CREEK WITH A PADDLE
Fritz Sprandel of Allentown, Pa., a 34-year-old former bartender and carpenter who last winter became the first person to cross the U.S. by snowmobile, is now trying to become the first to cross the country by canoe. Three weeks ago Sprandel launched his craft—a 15-foot plastic canoe fitted with a 2-hp outboard motor—at Astoria, Ore., where Lewis and Clark ended their trip. If all goes well, by the time he reaches New York City on Thanksgiving Day, he will have navigated nearly 8,000 miles of 13 rivers, two creeks and a canal, with only 10 miles of portage.