Running before a 30-knot wind on San Francisco Bay, the skipper of the yawl Baruna commanded the spinnaker lowered away. As the wire halyard suspending the balloonlike sail began to pay out, the crewman on the other end lost control of the winch. Anguished were the cries that arose that instant, but steadfast was the breeze. Not even pausing for breath, it carried the sail, ripping and shredding, gloriously downwind. The time it took Baruna's crew to hack the boat clear of her sodden spinnaker lost her a race to an old rival, her queenly sister yawl Bolero.
Not that it overly mattered. Out last week for another try, Baruna, with all canvas intact, lost once more. That was proof that Bolero, designed a decade ago by Olin Stephens specifically to beat Baruna (an earlier Stephens creation), was still being true to her charter.