Viola McBride - Sports Illustrated Vault |
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Viola McBride


The final results of the recent San Diego-Acapulco race listed the Fidelia as sixth-place winner in Class B—a respectable finish in a large group. That was only part of the story. Owner Viola Russ McBride was sailing her first major race. Member of the pioneer Russ family of northern California who are active in ranching, lumber and railroading in the West, Mrs. McBride herself operates a large cattle and sheep ranch that stretches along the Pacific coast in back of Cape Mendocino, and she is the mother of three grown sons. As a rancher Viola McBride looked out admiringly at the little sailboats that dotted the shining ocean on the edge of her property but she didn't think of it for herself until she visited Norway two years ago. There she fell for a 45-foot racing cutter with sloop rig—the Fidelia. Back home in California waters she tasted salt spray in a few small races with her new boat, and a casual mention of the Acapulco race by a yachting friend sent Viola into action. Ten days before the race she signed on a crew and appointed herself cook.