News from the Clyde
Tucked away in a quiet inlet of the Firth of Clyde, downstream from the din of Glasgow, stand the weather-stained boatyards of Alexander Robertson & Son, Ltd., shipbuilders—with an emphatic notice over the carefully guarded entrance: NO ADMITTANCE. Here since last October, under veils of top secrecy reminiscent of Cape Canaveral and Los Alamos, the British have been readying their 12-meter challenger Sceptre for the America's Cup races off Newport, R.I. this September. Until last week, the Clydeside Scots who have been building her allowed not the briefest peek at Sceptre's lines, not the scantest intelligence to leak out as to her racing dimensions.
All this secrecy has had just one aim: to keep a dozen or so American yachtsmen as deeply in the dark as possible. And with good reason. Building now in East Coast yards—and not nearly so advanced as Sceptre—are three American 12-meters designed for Cup defense. American Designers Olin Stephens, Phil Rhodes and Ray Hunt and their backing syndicates have as natural a curiosity about what is shaping up on the Clyde as Nikita Khrushchev, say, very likely has about what missile the U.S. will launch next.
Well, we have news for you, Messrs. Stephens, Rhodes, Hunt and Backers Henry Sears, Briggs Cunningham, Gerard Lambert, Henry D. Mercer, Cornelius Walsh, Arnold Frese, Chandler Hovey and the rest. News, too, for John N. Matthews, who has been overhauling the veteran 12-meter Vim for Cup tests.
February 24, 1958
Sceptre's total weight will be about 34 tons. She will have an over-all length of almost 70 feet, a beam of 12 feet and a waterline of about 44 feet—nothing too startling there, though the waterline, it seems, will be shorter than Vim's. She will have alternating frames of steel and timber, planking of African mahogany, an 80-foot mast of aluminum alloy and standing rigging of high-tensile steel. Perhaps more interesting: the word from the Clyde is that Sceptre's rated sail area is a trifle more than 2,000 square feet—Vim rates at 1,916 square feet—and Sceptre's sails will be of "a synthetic material." (Sorry, we haven't yet been able to confirm the rumor her sails will be of clear plastic sheeting.) Her keel will be 20 tons of lead-but a special word about Sceptre's keel, gentlemen. Mixed in with the lead for good luck are a handful of gold sovereigns which were ceremoniously tossed into the mold during the casting.
You'll find a picture of Sceptre's hull on page 24, but before you turn to page 24 listen to the lyric impressionism a glimpse of her has just evoked from a Glasgow Scotsman who managed to get past the NO ADMITTANCE sign: "Strong curves sweeping up from firm bilges, blending into the long overhang of her bow forward, rising into a graceful tumble-home on her topsides aft. The rake of her sternpost allows the long sweep of the keel profile to continue into the rudder, and, no matter from what angle she was viewed, Sceptre's lines were satisfying and sweet to the eye."
Hard Core at Bowie
From Bowie race track one day last week came another installment in the long history of the hardcore horse fan and his dedication to the sport of kings. The words hard core are chosen with care, since who but hard-core types would turn out 13,000 strong for Maryland racing in February? The 13,000 made their way to Bowie despite raw, 22° weather and widespread warnings of snow. They watched unflaggingly through a full card of eight races, despite the fact that by the last race snow was falling so heavily the horses were all but invisible. Only then did they think of homes and firesides.
Those traveling by rail had no great trouble, but those traveling by auto found their cars trapped in a hopeless snarl of snow and traffic. Some struggled on afoot and found shelter in homes, restaurants and gas
stations. But the hard hard core? By an instinct of their own they headed back to the clubhouse and settled down. A relief train hauled 2,000 away at 9 p.m. A second relief train hauled off all but a final thousand, and these hardy souls were left to stick it out all night.
By the dawn's early light cigarets were being sold for $5 a pack. The hard core had mostly turned to poker and gin rummy—after the county police broke up seven dice games, checked the dice and announced that four of the pairs were loaded. The track served a dollar breakfast. As the last of the hard hard core were rescued, one of them turned to another. "What you got good for Monday?" he asked.
One of the group of European athletes who have shipped over to this country for a brisk turn around the indoor track circuit is a 26-year-old Yugoslav distance runner who looks more like a college sophomore end. Velisa Mugosa is 6 feet tall, darkly good-looking and fitted with a gold tooth that peeps out from the right side of his mouth. He also happens to be the first athlete from his mountainous country ever to perform in America on a tour of this type.
Last week in the New York AC two-mile run, he won his first American victory. It is true that his chief rival, Iowa's Deacon Jones, was elsewhere that night, but Mugosa turned in a powerful 8:59 performance that even Jones might have found impossible to match. The correspondent of the Belgrade Politika, who has been watching hopefully for a month, sent off a long, happy dispatch to Yugoslavia.
Born in Podgorica, a little valley town in the province of Montenegro at the southwest corner of Yugoslavia, Mugosa was virtually reared in the Dinaric Alps. These mountains rise out of the Adriatic Sea along the entire length of Yugoslavia's rocky coast and shut in the small valley around Podgorica on all sides. Though banked under 10 to 15 feet of snow in winter, this town of 5,000 was hot and airless in summer, and the chief, most exciting diversion for Podgorican youngsters was to scramble up into the cool, fresh climate of the mountains on overnight hikes.
During the war, fighting in the hills put an end to all hiking activities, but it was in 1944, when Allied
bombing skirmishes over this Italian-occupied area were commonplace, that Mugosa's running career began in real earnest.
"The school building was the largest in town and had one strong drawback," he recalled through an interpreter. "It was almost two miles from the river, where the rocky crevices along the banks formed the town's only shelter from bombs. When we heard the planes coming, all of us children had to jump out of the school and race for our lives all the way to the river. Even though I didn't know it then, I guess that's when I started to become a runner."
After the war Podgorica repaired its damage, was renamed Titograd and returned, more or less, to normalcy. Back into the mountains scrambled the boys on their days off, though Velisa and his companions were older now and their trips often lasted as long as two weeks. Track, also, became one of the major pastimes of the area. Though he was not particularly interested, Mugosa ran because that's what everyone was doing. But apparently he had something special. "When I started to run in local meets with boys my own age  I was surprised to find that they fell far behind."
His career developed astonishingly fast after these beginnings. Later in 1949, representing Montenegro at the national junior championships, he won the 1,500-meter run by more than 100 meters and was invited by a coach in Zagreb to come and work under him. Mugosa agreed, and with his father's overcoat (the only one the family owned) to keep him warm he left Titograd by train to begin his new career in the north. Since then, in a little over eight years, he has set records and won championships in his country at distances from 800 to 5,000 meters. In the 1956 Olympics he posted the same time as Britain's Gordon Pirie in their heat of the 5,000-meter run, but an injured foot kept him from finishing in the finals.
Before coming to the U.S. this winter Mugosa had never run indoors or on a board track. But now he has mastered the smoke, the crowding and the exaggerated feeling of whirling round and round and will return happily, after the national championships this weekend, to his wife, his geography studies at the University of Belgrade and the pure, vigorous air of his Slavic mountains.
"If I can come back again next winter I know for sure that I will run just as well indoors here as I run outdoors at home," Mugosa said. And the gold tooth in the right side of his mouth flashed convincingly.
Going My Way?
The ski business is really rolling in the state of Washington these days, picking up enthusiastic converts among the city folk like a snowball on a wet slope. Each weekend the state's roads are clogged with the automobiles of would-be skiers bound for their favorite runs, an estimated 10,000 of them heading for the slopes of the Snoqualmie Pass area alone.
But, sad to say, there are still one or two Washingtonians who put their state highways to no more adventurous use than simply traveling from place to place. Last week one of these, looking as disconsolately out of place as a Mecca-bound Christian caught unaware in a Moslem pilgrimage, pulled his car out of the long line of traffic to seek help from the driver just ahead. "Is this the road to Ellensburg?" he asked. Assured that the road did in fact lead to the town on the other side of the mountain, the traveler breathed a sigh of relief.
"I just felt funny with no ski racks on my car," he explained.
Boot Versus Saddle
Among the questions that take a-lot of settling but never gee settled is the old chestnut about whether a man on foot would win a longdistance race from a horse and rider (SI, Nov. 25). Such a race was actually run in Utah last November (Salt Lake City to Roosevelt—157.7 miles) between two trackmen from Brigham Young University and two totally undistinguished horses. Ridden by a young oil-field worker and a 76-year-old cowhand, the horses finished the race; both runners dropped out. Quite a lot of money changed hands, and an ancient argument was settled once and for all, or anyway for a couple of months.
The trackmen were accompanied along the road by David D. Geddes, a physiologist who is chairman of the Health Education Department at Brigham Young University. Whenever the men stopped for food or rest, Geddes set to work with note pad, specimen bottle and electrocardiograph machine. Now, having charted and analyzed his observations, he announced a conclusion: with changes of pace and procedure in the next race, the men will beat the horses.
They will do it, Geddes says, by training for six weeks before the race on hard-surfaced roads like the one between Salt Lake City and Roosevelt. Shin splints, rather than exhaustion, was what felled 26-year-old Albert Ray last November after he had trotted 100 miles. (His 18-year-old partner, Terry Jensen, lasted 60 miles and quit because of exhaustion rather than shin splints.)
The runners will wear ripple-sole shoes as shock absorbers, and proceed at a Boy Scout pace—run a while, walk a while—of five miles an hour. Also, they will be given solid food. Last time, fearful of nausea, they took nothing but liquids. "They got awfully hungry," says Geddes, "and kept asking for hamburgers instead of all that juice. We didn't fully realize how many calories they were burning up—several hundred an hour."
Geddes' curiosity was not idle but scientific. His purpose is to learn how much stress the human body can absorb without suffering permanent harm. The two runners, he discovered, developed several symptoms of heart disease, but Jensen's disappeared within 48 hours and Ray's within a week. There was a curious, but not necessarily informative, side effect: both men lost all their toenails from the pavement pounding.
Now Jensen and Ray, nails re-grown, answer with a hearty "You bet!" when asked if they want to try another race. But winter weather, the spring track season and summer heat will make a rematch impossible before next October. If the men win it, the argument will doubtless lapse for a while until some veterinarian concludes that with specially designed horseshoes, fortified oats and prerace conditioning, the horses could beat the men.
It is less than eight years since the first national televising of a fight (Jake LaMotta vs. Laurent Dauthuille), though it seems like a century, and a poor one. Now we are about to have another television first.
The second running of the Carmen Basilio-Sugar Ray Robinson middleweight championship, a promising affair, will be the first seen on television where you would expect to see a fight—in a fight arena. Until now no one has thought of doing anything so absurd. Movie theaters, including drive-ins, were held to be the proper home of closed-circuit TV fights. Because they have screens, that's why.
But on the night of March 25, boxing promoters like Norman Rothschild (Syracuse), Bill King (Louisville), Lou Viscusi (Houston) and Sid Flaherty (practically the whole Pacific Coast) will present the TV version of the Basilio-Robinson fight just as if they were presenting a live show. In most of these arenas there will, in fact, be live preliminary bouts as antipasto to Basilio. Then huge screens will be dropped around the four sides of the rings and the championship bout will go on in glorious black and white, visible from any direction. Movie theaters will, of course, still put on the show, but it must seem to the percipient that the movie house is now doomed as a fight club.
The innovation is the result of TelePrompTer Corporation's successful bid ($275,000 plus a guarantee of 500,000 seats) for TV rights to the fight, its first. TelePrompTer (Irving B. Kahn, president) started 10 years ago as a device for reminding TV speakers of what they were about to say. It got into sports by acquiring Sheraton Closed Circuit TV, which had been putting on Notre Dame football games in the public rooms of hotels.
Bill Rosensohn, a TelePrompTer vice-president, estimates that between 450,000 and 475,000 TV tickets will be sold at an average price of $4, leading to intoxicating expectations of a $2 million take from closed-circuit TV alone. Top gross gate at Chicago Stadium, where the fight will be held, was $334,730 in 1954 with a presentation of Bobo Olson vs. Kid Gavilan, in which Gavilan lost with his right hand tied behind his back. This one is certain to be a better fight but likely to be a smaller gate. Basilio and Robinson are happy about it all. They will divide 60% of everything—gate, TV and movies.
To get into the business of putting on a TelePrompTer fight a promoter needs a mere $1,000 capital, which is about all some fight promoters have left. Half of this will rent him a large-screen projection unit and half will pay for installation of a local closed-circuit transmission loop over which the fight will reach his projector. TelePrompTer gets 50% of his receipts. TelePrompTer in turn pays the International Boxing Club (James D. Norris, president), the fighters and the costs of long lines and pickups.
It is an organization of some experience, originality and versatility. Early in March, for instance, TelePrompTer will present its second annual TeleSell, a gimmick whereby some 100,000 salesmen around the country will pay tuition fees so that they may attend closed-circuit TV lectures by "presidents of companies and leaders of industry." The subject: how to sell.
Early in the game it occurred to Vice-President Rosensohn that the men who best know how to sell a fight are fight promoters. He determined on a daring innovation—the presentation of TV fights in fight arenas.
"It seemed like a natural development," he said the other day.
They counted his unreplaced divots,
And it came to a hundred fourteen;
So Murphy was thrown off the golf course,
Because he was wearing the green.
California, here I come!
They Said It
Tommy Bolt, after putter trouble in San Antonio: "I'd like to have the hay concession after they cut those greens."
Lou Rossini, coach of Columbia's struggling basketball team: "This is one of the best teams I've ever had—academically."
Bobby Shantz, 1957 American League earned-run-average leader, pondering his Yankee contract terms: "They may be rich, but they ain't careless."
John Gaver, trainer at Greentree Stables, asked if he had any "sleepers" ready for the Kentucky Derby: "Every horse I've got is wide awake and slow as hell."