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But Jones never realized how severe the lack—or how reassuringly stable the ride—until he put Outward Leg through her first sea trials in the turbulent waters off Point Conception, otherwise known as "the Cape Horn of North America," which is off Santa Barbara. At one point, in winds of 25 to 30 knots and 8- to 12-foot seas, one of the crew set a cup of coffee down on the cockpit seat and went below. Instinctively, Jones lunged for the cup, but stopped short. "I couldn't believe my eyes," he says. "There we were in a bloody Force 5 wind, and here sits this cup of coffee, and not only is it staying in the same spot, it's not even slopping out a bloody bit!"
Another time during the two-day-long sea trials, Jones says, "I awoke in the middle of the night, and the bloody boat was so steady I thought we'd gone aground. Unloaded, she sailed like a witch on all points. She pointed, she even heaved to properly, and she tracked as straight as an arrow on a dead downwind run with minimum attention to the wheel. All in all, the only thing missing in the sea trials was anxiety. And maybe a mini-pool table; that's how dead steady she was."
Convinced that they had invested in "what will prove to be a watershed in sailboat design," says Smith, he and Haftl formed H & S Bluewater Multihulls Inc. and hired Surtees to supervise the building of "a whole new generation of trimarans." While noting that Outward Leg is capable of doing 20 knots, Haftl stresses that speed isn't the point. "Instead of a Porsche, we've built a Rolls-Royce," he says, "and you don't race a Rolls, you enjoy it."
Originally, Jones intended to make the trip alone, except for a dog trained to fetch lines and stand watch, which had been a great success on his voyage to the Arctic. But lest the endeavor "reek of a stunt," says Jones, and because "I'm not sure yet just how well I'll manage at sea after the shock of losing my leg," he decided after the sea trials that "it's just common sense to take safety precautions." Which was thrilling news for Wally Rediske, a 24-year-old rock climber and trimaran sailor from Yakima, Wash., whom Jones tapped to be his mate on Outward Leg. Even so, Jones adds, "I still intend to get across one of the oceans alone if I can."
Two weeks before D day—departure day—Jones boarded a flight for Seattle, where he was booked to "do a chat." Once airborne, the grand overview of the coastline seemed to stir some equally long-range perceptions about his being "a direct link between the past centuries of sail-in-trade and the future, when sail will come into its own again."
"Monohulls are dead, on their way to being historic curiosities," Jones says. "It's possible that we'll reach speeds of 50 or even 60 knots in boats designed by Leo Surtees in just the next few years, with myself as test pilot, God willing. I think we'll reach 100 knots before the end of the century. By then I suggest that it will be possible to cross the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia in two weeks, New York to London in seven days. I suggest that 400 to 500 miles a day will be highly possible. I dare say that by the end of the century a man will be able to take his wife, four kids and a dog to Hawaii for a two-week holiday, and spend eight days under sail, the rest touring the islands. The average family cruiser will be like the average family motorcar. What Henry Ford did for the motorcar, multihulls will do for the sailing vessel."
Contemplating a return to the Golden Age of Sail, a time when "again we will use the winds of God and bend them to man's will, when again merchant seamen will eye their vessels with love and pride, as they once did, instead of thinking of them as mobile factories," Jones confessed that he can hardly wait for the day when sailing craft will attain "such high speeds that it's likely some kind of pilot's license will be needed. It is my hope, in fact, that within the next few years I'll be able to receive the first sea-flying license."
Further proving that he's made of the right stuff, when Jones was met by friends at the Seattle airport, he immediately showed off his new "Calvin Klein designer leg," a seagoing prosthesis—lightweight, rustproof, buoyant—specially designed for him by Glen Elia, a Philadelphia physical therapist and sailor, and one of the many professionals who volunteered their time and services on behalf of the Outward Leg venture.
Informed that tickets for the lecture were selling briskly, Jones said, "I've always tried to write on behalf of the average sailor, the little guy who builds his boat in the backyard, and that's mainly who attends my lectures. You won't see William Buckley there, I assure you. He writes for the café society of sailing, and I'm strictly Nescafé. Buckley wrote a book called Airborne about a transatlantic trip with some guests, all of whom he wrote about in great detail—all very charming, all very nice. But forward in that boat were four crewmen and there were bloody few words about them. I could never, never do that, and that's the essential difference between the Buckley school and myself."
That and the fact that Jones denounces snobbism in sailing at every turn, particularly as practiced by those "dawdling old dinosaurs" of the New York Yacht Club. Such was the case when Jones arrived at the Seattle Civic Center. Finding its auditorium sold out and dozens of rejected fans milling about outside, he decreed with a grand wave of his cane that the doors be opened to all, free of charge, and to hell with the restrictions on standing room.