Once found wanting, Weatherly has been revitalized inside and out since her unsuccessful campaign of 1958. Her greatest single new asset is her helmsman, Bus Mosbacher (SI, Sept. 10). But even that smiling genius cannot sail her singlehanded. He has handpicked a crew built around a nucleus of sailors who have been operating 12-meters together since 1958. His strategic starts—the secret of match racing—and effective sail-handling are accomplished by 11 New Yorkers who have been polished to perfection by their skipper. Slender, soft-spoken Doug Mercer is Weatherly's, main-sheet expert—despite, rather than because of, the fact that he is the owner's son. Alert and meticulous, Mercer catches people before they make mistakes. The Matthews brothers, Don and Dick, who learned the trade on their father's Vim in 1958, complete an afterguard that is balanced by an impressive alliance of experience and talent.
Leo (Buddy) Bombard, at 135 pounds, is the smallest of "Mosbachcr's little men." (They are outweighed by Gretel's crew by some 10 pounds each.) By rights a midships tailer (i.e., the man who winds the wire sheets around a winch) should be a behemoth, but Bombard, the little lion, who has the fastest hands in the business, substitutes speed for size. Husky Bob Welsh "is so eager he does your work before you can get to it." Bizzy Monte-Sano, 21, a Yale student who skis when he isn't sailing, is adjudged by experts as "a wonderful piece of boat equipment." Besides being a top hand with a coffee grinder, Charlie Bertrand is one of two men in the world who know the secret formula of a highly popular Italian liqueur (Galliano). He is also the ship's hypochondriac. "We had a joke box of Lucky Pills to help Weatherly win in the trials," says one of his crewmates. "Just sugar, but Charlie took them all." And, of course, Weatherly won.
If her afterguard boasts yachting's greatest helmsman, Weatherly's foredeck can match him with the world's best spinnaker man. Barrel-chested Vic Romagna, who handled Weatherly's, kites so deftly in the 1958 trials that he was graduated to Columbia for her defense of the cup, has served four years on the new defender. He selected Don Browning and Ned Hall to assist him in the bow. They have more than justified his confidence, although they have had only a single summer's experience of 12-meter sailing. At 45, Browning is the oldest crewman and, being self-employed, is making the greatest personal sacrifice. Ned, a Princeton senior, should be concentrating on his studies. Explains Romagna, the lucid, erudite philosopher, "We're all willfully neglecting something." But to Vic Romagna, as to most racing sailors, sailing is a compulsion—the bigger the race the more violent it gets. Wet, cold or tired, no crewman ever rests. "If you're behind you have to catch up," says Vic. "If you're ahead you have to stay there." Weatherly intends to be ahead.
September 16, 1962
Skipper Jock Sturrock combines a deft hand at the helm with level-headed diplomacy. Cool and unhurried, he has quietly conciliated Gretel's syndicate of owners, her zealous designer and untested crew. Beneath his sober tact and firm command lies a puckish humor that has made his ship a contradiction—it is both taut and happy. Australia's best small-boat sailor, he has won the respect and confidence of his crew, being neither indulgent nor overbearing. His navigator, Terry Hammond, keeps one up on science with constant study and the newest equipment. Not one to trust luck, Terry reads books like How to Survive at Sea in his spare time. Brothers Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen were Gretel's construction supervisors. Burly third-generation Australians, they furnish "Norwegian steam," plus a generous amount of tender, loving care. One of the seven married men on board, 44-year-old Magnus has four children back in Australia.
Like Weatherly's Doug Mercer, Brian Northam, whose father is on the Australian cup committee, has overcome "family connection" by cheerful acceptance of hard work. His resilient wit lightens the midship's brawnpower. Trevor Gowland, 30, is Gretel's "fix-it" man. Although all crew members watched Gretel grow from drawing board to launching, Trevor, as foreman of the construction yard, knows her most intimately. A brand-new bridegroom, he has given Gretel far more attention than his bride. "She's going to give him away," jokes one sympathetic crewman. Handsome Bob Thornton is the crew's Adonis and, at 21, the youngest. (Gretel's men average three years older than Weatherly's.) His rugged good looks are matched by the lean, unflagging power necessary to a winch pumper. But the title of strongest man goes to stocky Frank McNulty, a tightly knit mass of muscle who could "lift any Weatherly man with one hand—smiling."
In gymnastic ability Mick York ranks second only to America's famed Rod Stephens. As foredeck chief, he is responsible for the proper functioning of headsail halyards, sheets and an intricate maze of spinnaker topping lifts and guys. Like all Gretel's crewmen, his 12-meter experience dates back only to Vim's arrival in Australia two and a half years ago. But he has developed the endurance and self-reliance of all Aussie sailors who spend a lifetime in long-distance ocean racing. Peter O'Donnell and Dick Sargeant, 23 and 26, are cat-footed veterans of Australia's blue-water classic, the Sydney-Hobart race. "We're not experts," admits Mick York, "but we get along together." That they get along with Gretel is obvious to Bus Mosbacher, who notes in admiration, "Gretel's fast—and that crew is fast. They handle her very well." York adds, "We read Carleton Mitchell's book Summer of the Twelves and thought they were a bunch of supermen—everyone a champion. But I think we're better off with our hard-working fellows. The Americans are talkers—we're doers."