Bus talked about the America's Cup, that almost repellently ornate silver jug. "It has become," he said, "the finest symbol in sport. It's one of the few things left in this world that's a symbol of the way things used to be. There are all too few fine things left." He was interrupted by a phone call. "You know," he said, "one of the best things about sailing is that this damn thing can't ring out there." His caller had asked him how he felt about being selected as the defender. "I'm very delighted," he had replied, "but awful scared.
"About three months ago," he explained, "I was having lunch with two friends at the New York Yacht Club, which has kept the America's Cup in a glass case for 111 years. I was asked if I knew what they'd put in that case if we lost the cup. 'The skull of the guy who lost it,' I was told, 'with a little round hole right here.' " Mosbacher jabbed himself lightly between the eyes. Of course, he was smiling.