- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
A couple of recent, highly non-secret reports have come to hand which suggest that boat designers ought to be giving more thought than they do to the efficiency of finned propulsion. First, from Stevens Institute in Hoboken, N.J. (home of the testing tanks that shaped the lines of the America's Cup yachts) comes the report that there is something mighty mysterious about the porpoise.
Resident engineers at Stevens found that if the obvious estimates are made as to the resistance of a porpoise-shaped object traveling under water, then the mathematics of energy indicates that the porpoise would have to eat an almost impossibly enormous amount of food in order to keep going. The answer, say the engineers, is that obviously the porpoise slips through the water with a lot less resistance than an inanimate object the same size. Why no one knows.
Stevens, you may be sure, is going to come up with some answers, and boating will be the better for it. In the meantime, an energetic fish watcher across the Atlantic has come in with a second report. The man is Edmund Watts, managing director of Watts, Watts & Co. Ltd., the London shipping firm. Director Watts says he has been keeping an eye on the tunny, trying to divine why it is able to make such a fat living off its natural prey.
After some thinking and watching, Watts decided that the unusual horizontal stabilizer fin of the tunny's tail was, in effect, its meal ticket, enabling it to outmaneuver nonstabilizer types. Unhesitatingly, Watts ordered a comparable fin fitted forward of the propellers of the steam vessel Woolwich, then in the company's service. Sea tests proved Watts little short of a genius.
"Crossed the Atlantic on her twice in February," reports Watts, "in very bad weather. Then we had a bit of bucketing around in the Mediterranean and finally came up against a northeast monsoon in the southern Red Sea. I spent quite a lot of time on my stomach in the bottom of the ship listening with a stethoscope to the water flow past the fins." Woolwich completed her sea test with an average speed record at least a half knot better than that of her sister ships, and was generally a faster-handling boat. Watts, belly-down, proved to his own satisfaction that it was fins that did it.
Obviously there is much more to be done in the study of finned propulsion. In fact, the splendid results produced by the very earliest fish watcher on record have yet to be matched in our own age. The man, Peter Pett, was a ship designer in King Henry VIII's day, and much fascinated by the speed at which the bulky whale could travel. He located an accessible whale, washed up on England's strand and got the body lines and sections down on paper. Pett's next ship, shaped very much like a whale underneath, outsailed other ships its size in the English Navy. At that point, Pett, the practical fish watcher, had, singlehanded, started England on her way toward sovereignty of the seas and provided all the encouragement that should be needed to get present-day designers down to the sea to start watching.
In the first round of the National Women's Golf Championship at Darien, Conn., Mrs. Edwin H. Vare Jr. was eliminated by a young Canadian, Rosemary Neundorf of Toronto. If the match itself was not especially newsworthy, the mere presence of Mrs. Vare in the tournament was. For Mrs. Vare is the former Glenna Collett, winner of six national championships. She won her first 36 years ago, her last in 1935.
Mrs. Vare, knowledgeable spectators observed, approaches the game with her old verve, and her swing (right down to that incredibly active left foot) is much the same as it was in the days of her top form.
After the match, some of her old friends were telling Mrs. Vare how good it was to see her in the tournament again. They expressed the hope that she would be playing in it more often in the future.