The U.S. seemed
to have curiously mixed emotions about the transatlantic voyage of Mayflower
II. A great many people, including thousands in Plymouth, Mass., spoke of it a
little bitterly as a publicity stunt (which, indeed, in its way it was) but in
the end seemed irresistibly moved to cheers. In this day of jet air travel
there was something enormously dramatic and somehow reassuring in the fact that
men had spent 53 highly uncomfortable and, at times, dangerous days in a tiny
wooden vessel on the Atlantic and had finally made a landfall.
A hard southwest
wind was blowing at dawn on the day Mayflower was due at Provincetown. The
harbor was rough, and sand flew along the dunes. Dimly, through the
wind-whipped haze the waiting crowds finally saw something which looked, as one
man said, "like a bunch of seagoing jack-straws"—Mayflower's masts and
rigging. She was in tow, furled sails being secured by tiny men up on her
yards. The strange high-pooped hull, glowing with dark brown, yellow and blue
in the mist, bucked and, at times, almost buried its bowsprit in the big seas.
The big crowd on the beaches stared at the spectacle silently—entranced and
master, Australian-born Alan John Villiers, lent a more practical and
matter-of-fact tone to the proceedings after he came ashore, ceremonially
garbed in 17th century costume. The vessel, he said wryly, was not the worst he
had ever handled—wartime LCTs, he noted, "steered like streetcars," but
she was almost as bad. Also, she was an awful thing on which to live. The
greatest hardships, he said, were wetness and motion. "What kind of
motion?" he was asked. He replied: " 'Orrible." He spoke about the
awkward little ship, nevertheless, with vast affection.
masts, at times, had "waved about like a bunch of fishing rods," but
they had done their duty. So had the spritsail. Villiers admitted that he had
ordered a jib cut to replace it just in case, but that the replacement had
never been taken out of the sail locker. "Those old medieval chaps knew
what they were about. The spritsail works beautifully." The whole ship, he
thought, was "most interesting," but she had "awful imperfections.
Particularly the drag. When we spoke the
she was leaving less
wake than we."
Would he like to
do it again?
not," he answered, "want to make a habit of it."
Listening to bits
of the adventure, looking at the tiny vessel close up, watching her whiskery
Englishmen gulping fresh milk and eating steaks ashore, it was impossible not
to conclude that for captain and crew the voyage of Mayflower II had been a
sporting gesture of a high order.
There was a time
this spring when it seemed Calumet Farm might have as many as three doughty
colts running in last Saturday's Belmont Stakes. But Gen. Duke picked up a
bruise, and then there were two. Iron Liege won the Kentucky Derby, but he too
got a bruise. Then there was only Barbizon—but Barbizon came in far back a
couple of times, and then there were no Calumets at all going in the Belmont.
Such a succession of bad racing luck would dishearten a lesser man, but as
Trainer Jimmy Jones shipped the majority of his string off to Chicago for the
Arlington Park season the other day Mr. Jimmy gave every impression of
soundness and vigor.