The point of a sailboat race is to get there; the point of a cruise, to have fun doing it. When icy winds whip the North Atlantic and seas slash at Fastnet Rock, these two ideals can be pretty far apart. But with any luck a sailor heading south on the long run from San Diego to Acapulco will find seas friendly enough to make a June-moon cruise of his hurried dash. The sailors who—like those pictured at right—are getting set this week at the San Diego Yacht Club for the start of the biennial race may run into gales and calms. They may, on the other hand, have as easy a time of it as those on the following pages.
Proudly displaying their badges of allegiance, San Diego's sail-happy kids look on enviously as the racing sailors leave.
In an unhurried downwind start, the fleet's spinnakers blossom in a spectrum of slowly unfolding color. If the winds hold fair, as they may, most of the big chutes will stay flying during the whole race, giving the crews a chance to relax in shade as the southbound fleet heads for the finish line.
A wheel that will buck and kick when angry seas threaten to take charge can turn into an amiable footrest when the weather is right. At such times a helmsman can do some daydreaming and still keep the boat on course and limp sails reasonably trim. And up in the bow eyes that might at other times be wearily peering for distant marks in a murky fog can rest instead on dolphins frolicking happily alongside.
No matter what may happen at sea, at race's end sailors and landlubbers will gather on the Acapulco beach to celebrate victories and assuage defeats in a luau-like feast against a background of waving palms and boats swinging gently at anchor. Bartenders will keep busy for, rough or smooth, sailboat racing is thirsty work.
Homeward bound under a starry sky, the sailors face only one hazard now, the tempting aromas from the warm galley.