Skip to main content
Original Issue

19TH HOLE: The readers take over

Urbanity and the Wilderness (SI, March 16) sounds a warning: we must preserve a few places that are green and wild in order to find solitude for the multitude. The Midwest is becoming an urban strip from Cleveland to Green Bay.

The glacier mass which covered the Middle West thousands of years ago did us many a good turn. When it receded, it not only gouged out the Great Lakes but also left in Wisconsin, in a great loop spanning the state, the 500 miles of moraines which marked the glacier's farthest advance.

Along this strip today are clustered superlative examples of every glacial feature—kettle holes, long drumlins, steep kames, serpentine eskers, glacial lakes, marshes and forests. Too thin for farming and too sparse for lumbering, these glacial lands are still low priced. But in the face of our urban explosion—the moraines are just a few miles from Milwaukee, the twin cities, and other population centers—this will not last for long. This is why many of us are urging Congress to enact H.R. 915, which would create and preserve the Ice Age National Park for all the people. Hopefully, some who read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can give us a hand.
U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
Washington, D.C.

It was very refreshing to read Urbanity and the Wilderness. We here on Cape Cod are in a life-and-death struggle over the founding of a new national park.

Unfortunately, as always appears to be the case, the fear of losing a possible income dollar seems to throw the great majority into a panic, and in situations like this, the good of mankind takes its ultimate position on the bottom of the totem pole. Everyone with an acre of land for sale, everyone who thinks that some time in the future he might want to build a hot dog stand, all these are against the foundation of the national park, and they appear to be a majority here on the cape.

Those of us who would like our grandchildren and other people's grandchildren to be able to see some of the original beauty of Cape Cod are being ridiculed. The laughable part about this is that the opponents of the national park claim they want to keep Cape Cod unspoiled and one town selectman even holds up the "horrors" of Acadia National Park as something for us to avoid.

Many of us are getting a little tired of fighting this cause by ourselves and are asking for your help. After all, it is important to everyone in the country that the cape stay as unspoiled as it still is, and if you get behind the foundation of the national park here, I am sure the greedy here will dwindle into an insignificant minority.
Provincetown, Mass.

•Readers are hereby invited to lend a helping hand to Wisconsin and Massachusetts conservationists. A bill to create a national park from Cape Cod's unique Great Beach was introduced in the last session of Congress, but no action was taken. Experience has shown that communities adjacent to well-used national parks profit economically far more than those which have allowed their scenic assets to be ruthlessly exploited.—ED.

In his article on professional tennis players (SI, March 9) James Murray states:

"In former years...the tour matched the leading new ex-amateur against the top pro, who would proceed to chew him up mercilessly."

Not in the good old days. Tilden the amateur beat Kozeluh, the pro king. Tilden defeated Nusslein, who had been a pro during many of the years of Tilden's amateur reign. Vines the amateur beat Tilden the pro (of course, he couldn't have done so except that Tilden was then old enough to be his father). Budge the amateur beat Vines the pro. Then the tide turned. Budge the pro beat Riggs the amateur. (Though several years later, after Budge's wartime injury, Riggs beat him.) Then it went the other way for the last time. Kramer the amateur beat Riggs the pro. That was 10 years ago, and since that time matters have gone the way Mr. Murray stated (though before 1948 it happened only once that a pro beat an amateur). Kramer the pro beat Gonzales the amateur, then he beat Segura, who was already a pro, then he beat Sedgman the amateur. Later Gonzales also beat Sedgman (though recently, excepting when Sedgman had leg injuries, Gonzales usually loses to Sedgman). Then Gonzales the pro beat Trabert the amateur, Rose-wall the amateur and Hoad the amateur.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Cox's series of sailing lessons (SI, Feb. 23 and March 2). Articles of this type will do much to attract people to one of the most rewarding of all amateur sports.

Some of Bill's statements, however, as well as your editorial comments, are bound to leave the uninitiated with the impression that the Lightning class is it among the one-design sailboat classes. As you indicate at the end of the article, there are many classes, and at least one of these is considerably larger than the-Lightning class.

You state that the Lightning "typifies the many kinds of standard hulls." Actually, it is not at all typical of the more modern designs. The Thistle, for example, the fastest-growing of the new planing-type boats, with its light, molded hull, simplified rig and nimble performance, bears not the slightest resemblance to the Lightning.

The Lightning, Bill says, has a "relatively low price." This is hardly factual. Indeed, I believe investigation will show that it is one of the more expensive classes. A Thistle sells for several hundred dollars less than the $2,200 Bill quoted as the lowest price of a Lightning.

Bill also says that the Lightning is essentially unchanged since its inception in 1938. If this were the case, any Lightning built in the early days should match well with newer boats. But a check of the summaries of any major Lightning events will reveal that the boats finishing in the top 10 have been predominantly boats built within the last three years. Check Thistle summaries and you will find that in the top 10 have been boats ranging in age all the way back through 1948, the birth year of the Thistle.

Bill makes a point of saying that there is a lively market in second-hand Lightnings. He might have added that the older Lightnings go for a fraction of their original cost. Second-hand Thistles are scarce because their age has no effect on. their performance. Their depreciation is slight. When a used Thistle is sold, it usually brings a price close to its original cost.

One more big point. Bill says 7,100 Lightnings have been built. I believe he means that 7,100 plans have been issued, which is quite another thing.

Having unburdened myself, allow me to thank your editorial staff for the splendid coverage you have always given to the wonderful sport of sailing.
Sayville, N.Y.

•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED recognized that "modern design has come to sailing" by a substantial article on planing boats such as the Thistle last spring (SI, April 28, 1958). The Lightning is an older design whose evolution has left some Lightnings behind. But of the many types designed only the Snipe has become as popular as the Lightning. And although it was designed in 1938 the Lightning class continues to grow in spite of newer designs. It is low priced relative to other boats that can comfortably carry the same number of people for a day's sailing. And the $2,200 price we quoted includes sails. The Thistle man with an old boat will indeed win more often than the Lightning man with an old boat because of the advance in Lightning design methods and improved construction between 1938 (the year the Lightning came out) and 1948, the year the Thistle was introduced. Part of the Lightning's popularity is the low price of a secondhand boat. You can start for a fairly low figure and get a "hot" boat later if you like the class. More than 7,100 Lightnings have been built—if a number is not used it is retrieved and given to another boat.—ED.

The fine fascination of sailing for me is that there's always off on the horizon a little more to learn, even after 30 off-and-on years.

Good sailors like Cox, Shields, O'Day and others know that by improving the competition they improve themselves and add to the fun and interest of sailboat racing. Bill Cox's and Mort Lund's article will do this, not to mention the wonderful Ravielli illustrations. I take modest exception, however, to the following:

A page devoted to the "slot effect" (the funneling of jib wind over the mainsail) which is supposed to be the main driving force of a sloop. As a proud Penguin skipper, I doubt that such a thing exists at all. My boat sails along in a quite lively fashion without any jib at all to funnel wind past my main. In fact, builders of small trainers which can be converted from cat to sloop rigs have found that the cat rig is always faster for the same sail area. As soon as the sail area is chopped up, that same area becomes less efficient propulsion. Of course, a jib is fun to play with.

The "function of shape" is interesting, and I'm going to round off the chine of my Penguin according to Cox's prescription, but I would sure think a couple of times before I bought a boat whose tolerances could be played around with in Lightning and Star boat fashion. Tolerances are there to encourage amateur and new builders, not to be finagled with by experts.

The answer lies in either purchase of a boat with a molded hull or the encouragement of round-robin racing—the trading of boats from one skipper to another in successive races. Only in such fashion can yacht racing remain the game of pitting your wits against competition and the elements that it should be. As Manfred Curry said, "Like a game of chess, only you have to make your moves faster."

I'm not entirely sure that "any fleet of racing sailors is always delighted to recruit new members." There are fleets with long-established pecking orders that would not welcome a Bill Cox to compete with their trophy-minded memberships. Yacht clubs are bulging at the seams and are often run by little cliques with erroneous ideas as to just who does and who does not deserve to partake in the benefits of this very wonderful sport of sailing.
Tappan, N.Y.

•As we said, the greater part of the driving force on the mainsail comes from reduced pressure on the leeward side, and this reduction of pressure is "very powerfully augmented" by the slot effect. Thus a properly designed jib would increase the speed of Dr. Darling's Penguin. The reason that some cat boats are faster for the same sail area as the sloop is sail design. The driving power of a mainsail is more a function of its height than its breadth. If you reduce mainsail area a given number of square feet by cutting the height of the main and put the same number of square feet into a jib, you may well have a slower boat. If you reduce area of mainsail by trimming the breadth only and take the same area and put it into a jib, you will have a faster boat. For instance: the Suicide hull can have any rig, provided the sail area is constant. Suicides with a jib and tall mainsail are more efficient than cat-rigged Suicides.

As for tolerances: even molded hulls have lines which can be changed in a favorable or unfavorable direction. And molded hulls certainly do change their lines, if for no other reason than the pressure caused by various ways of trailering or storing the boats. It is impossible to get away from the problem of tolerances.—ED.

Your recent story on youthful tennis stars should have included a Negro youth, namely, Arthur Ashe. Arthur went to the semifinals in the boys' nationals last year against young Buchholz and many others, won the New Jersey boys' and Delaware titles and numerous other tournaments.

Arthur is backed by the same people who got Althea Gibson to the top: Dr. Walter Johnson and his friends of Lynchburg, Va. Arthur attends high school and lives in Richmond with his family. But his summers are spent on the tennis circuit facing all opposition—boys, juniors and men. He has just turned 15 and is a comer.

He was the first Negro youth to be invited to the Orange Bowl boys' tourney in 1958, and he went to the semifinals.
Plainfield, N.J.