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1960 World Championship - Regatta Report}

1960 World Championship by Anson Beard
Complete Results

The 1961 Star Class Log carried the following account of the event:

Note: This report has been scanned in by Ed Sprague. For a collection of Worlds' reports plus photographs contact Ed Sprague ( ) to order his book "The San Diego Bay Star Fleet".

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.

First Race
The first race began in about 15 knots of wind, which increased somewhat the second time around, and, as those of us who showed the misjudgment to go offshore the first time soon discovered, a strong flood tide. The majority who went directly toward the shore came out well ahead. The race was won by the defending champion, Lowell North, closely followed by two other familiar craft, Shandon and Glidcr.

Monday the wind was less enthusiastic- we raced mostly from inside the cockpit. North and Schoonmaker, who for most of the first leg appeared safely ahead, led the inshore boats. However, Paul Fischer in his German built Illusion, after what turned out to be one of the best starts of the week, had a good lead on the group that was re-challenging the tide. Ken Smith was there too, deftly tacking on headers; and when the wind took one of its rare lasting headers, they appeared in the lead. This put Schoonmaker fourth, and in consternation he tacked to go farther inshore. Yesterday's lesson paid off, and Ding found that fresh wind which proved to be a permanent easterly shift at the top third of the weather leg every time. Flying in rail down, Dingo just managed to nip North Star at the mark, followed by Fischer and Edler. Order at the front end remained unchanged except for one slight inevitability: North slid downhill just a little, but just enough, faster than Schoonmaker to gain the lead, which he then managed ably to protect.

Second Race
Two firsts and impressive speed made the blue-sailed incumbent everyone's favorite. However, another Californian, heretofore unmentioned, Don Edler, was not giving points away. Don did nothing flashy in the first two races: he showed a pair of fours; but as everyone knows, in a hot fleet of 46, that pace generally wins.

Third Race
One of the peculiar qualities of the wind in Guanabara Bay was its ability to change velocity rather abruptly without changing direction. Before the start conditions were similar to the first day, with the air moving at about 15 knots. With 15 minutes left to the start, it abated to about half that velocity; a few people had the wrong sail up! Tactical strategy took the same pattern again, and almost everyone raced for shore. To be honest, we on Malihini were so far out of it that we never did find out the details of the race. However, we did see Edler in the lead, and from about 25th we could see Lowell maybe nine boats ahead of us at the first weather mark. Instead of using this as a condolence, we decided to follow him and witnessed his second round recovery, somewhat to our advantage, of course.

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.

Fourth Race
The wind was still from the southeast, ranging this time around 10 knots. For the first time, however, the tide was ebbing, and there was much conjecture as to whether or not port tack might be the way to go for a change. As it turned out, there was less difference, but there still seemed to be enough extra wind on the starboard tack side to give those boats the advantage. The race evolved into a speed contest among three very fast boats. Harry Adler, from the local host fleet, gave both North and Etchells a real battle before settling for third, well ahead of Bob Lippincott in fourth place. By capturing her third victory North Star entered the final race with a three-point lead over Deacon, who stayed alive by finishing sixth.

As we towed out for the final race, nature decided to take her turn at "reacting to local conditions" by blasting in with some puffs upward of 25 knots. Sails were difficult to hoist. One U.S. West Coaster, obviously unaccustomed to such conditions, was heard to query the race committee: "You're not going to start us in this stuff?" But of course they did.

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.