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High in the rigging a sailor clears a halyard on 'Ondine' as she beats up to Rio in winter's longest race. For more balmy weather, more salt spray south of the equator


From Buenos Aires to Rio, as the sea lanes go, it is 1,200 miles—and a more capital course for a midwinter ocean race would be hard to find. So on January 18, 25 seagoing yachts reached down B.A.'s River Plate and headed for Rio. Ten days 23 hours and 31 minutes of balmy cruising later, the American yawl Argyll, owned and skippered by William T. Moore of Oyster Bay, N.Y., sailed into harbor under Rio's Sugar Loaf rock to win the Fita Azul—prized blue ribbon. Twenty-one hours behind Argyll came the spanking-new Argentine centerboard yawl Tango, sailing her first important ocean race and with a 33-hour handicap, to win on corrected time.

But the deep, shirts-off satisfaction of January sailing in warm seas was something all the yachtsmen could share. Aboard New Yorker S. A. Long's yawl Ondine was Writer-Photographer David Zingg, who kept a log. Its spirit reflects the feeling of the dandy old Vincent Youmans song: "Got to get to Rio, and we got to make time." Excerpts:

"January 18—There's the warning gun. Gallop down to the line second early. Take restart. Cost us six minutes. January 23—Roaring along at 7½ knots. East of rhumb line and doing well against our own Class-A boats. January 26—Northeast winds make it tough going east. Taking gamble and heading toward shore. January 29—Sight landfall this morning at 7 o'clock. First escort we've seen in almost a week hoves in sight. We ask if anyone has finished yet. Reply: negative. Only 100 miles from Rio, a day's run, and no sign of predicted calms. Our luck seems to be holding. January 31—We make line, finally, after bottom drops out of weather. Gamble couldn't have been more wrong!" But Logkeeper Zingg was ready to do it again, next chance.

Buenos aires start sends cluster of 25 ocean racers down the River Plate toward the Atlantic and Rio, 1,200 miles away. Yachts first had to sail through spectator fleet in the background, which the committee had been unable to clear before start.

Bucket bath goes up—and drenchingly over—Crewman Robert Coulson, New York corporation lawyer. Briny Atlantic was only bath stuff available. "I bathed every other day," Coulson bragged. "Some of the crew didn't bathe at all."

Ship's number is held up for patrol plane, which kept tabs on fleet. Ondine was just halfway to Rio at this point.

Boom Vang, loops of elastic cord used to hold down boom, is released by David Wells as heeling yawl prepares to go about.

Ripped Oilskin is taped by Ondine's owner, S. A. Long, using the quiet lull in the lengthy offshore passage to good advantage.

Big Genny is hastily hauled in by crewman before breaking out smaller No. 2 genny as wind and seas rise.

Fastest yacht, "Argyll," winner of Class A and the Fita Azul, was first boat to finish, by sailing east of Rio to pick up stronger winds, rather than working up coast. Most of the other yachts were becalmed when Argyll sailed into the harbor.