If anyone thought that a trip to remote Rio de Janeiro might prove to be an easy route to some gold awards, he was very much mistaken. The 1960 World's Championship collected 46 contestants representing 11 countries, and among them were many fine pedigrees: five previous Gold Star winners, seven continental champions and numerous other chevron holders.
The annual meeting was held on the Saturday before the series started, on the beautiful outdoor dance floor of the yacht club (spelled Iate Clube and pronounced Yatee Cloobie), later to be the scene of far more frivolous nocturnal activities. Besides the usual transaction of business, a well-wishing cable from Moscow signed by our Olympic champion was read, and a motion was passed to wire former International President Charles de Cardenas in expression of our unanimous regrets that circumstances prevented his presence. With the meeting adjourned, the flags raised, the boats rigged and in some cases waxed with "classified" formulas, the stage was set for the series to begin.
But first a word about Guanabara Bay. For one who sails out of the Great South Bay on Long Island, N.Y., this body of water was Utopia, and sailors of diverse origins shared these sentiments. The southern extreme of the bay is punctuated by famed Sugar Loaf and Corcovado, the city of Rio lies along the western shore, and the harbor is studded with ships waiting to unload. After a six-mile tow to the starting line, mandated daily by the southeast wind direction, the Bay provided plenty of room and excellent racing conditions.
Probably the most difficult task on each weather leg was to know when the lay line had been reached. The temptation was always to continue inshore, seeking ever more breeze and a greater lift from the new slant at the top. Few sailors of this fleet's caliber should overstand marks: but this maneuver was so difficult that, even though the mark was clearly in sight, a number of boats had to ease sheets to reach off each time. By calling the lay line, shift included, to within five lengths on the short side, Lowell maximized use of his speed and nailed down a respectable ninth place in this race. This was not enough to win the Vanderveer Trophy, however. Don Edler, by taking first, boosted his daily average to third and moved into the series lead, two points ahead of North. Another Californian, Malin Burnham, spent rest day in series third position.
For many, rest day
proved to be the most tiring of all. It followed an unforgettable evening,
including a fantastic buffet (with a shrimp tree, for instance), a floorshow,
and a captivating dance to the beat of Latin drums. The contestants divided
their day among a variety of activities that ranged from ascending Sugar
Loaf or Corcovado to shopping, wandering around tourist style with cameras,
taking in the Footchi-Ball game (soccer), at famed Maracana Stadium, or
just sitting around capitalizing on an easy liquor situation (beer was
50 per cent cheaper than water). At any rate, little activity was seen
around the hoist.
As we started, boats at the committee end heard two recall shots fired, but everyone continued to race on. After perhaps a five-minute organization period, the patrol boats were coordinated to corral us back to re-start the race. In the ensuing quarter-hour there were two significant occurrences. First, Lowell North rearranged his rigging, and by using backstay number 5 or 6 as a headstay was able adequately to replace a broken juniper strut and prevent his boat from floundering as she had before. Second, the wind abated to about 18 knots.
Starting again, with everyone behind the line this time, most boats went inshore to seek shelter from the waves. At the first mark, Walter von Hütschler in Pimm nosed out the Beards in Malihini, closely followed by Lippincott's Fierce. Pimm couldn't hang on downwind and dropped back to third at the next mark. At the end of the first round Edler had enough boats between him and North to win the series for Deacon; but the wind was lightening all the time.
With several personal duels taking place for series positions the second time up, we managed to increase Malihini's lead and went on to win. Skip Etchells also avoided tacking duels and moved up to a healthy second - his third one of the week. However, not far behind the leaders, North again displayed his ability to recover by catching up to Edler and, by finishing fifth just behind him, managed to win his second straight World's Championship, his third in four years.
Almost as interesting was the fight for series third between Schoonmaker and Bob Lippincott. On the last run, after many luffs, Ding managed to pass Bob, but failed by one foot to put the necessary boat between them, so that third went to Lippy.
To sum up: Lowell North continued to demonstrate his supremacy over the Class; the Californians showed outstanding speed, filling four of the first seven positions, all of which went to American (U.S.) entries; and most important, the Brazilian hosts provided excellent facilities and a wonderful place to sail, and outdid themselves in hospitality.