Gretel Was Hampered By Snapped Bow
The "auld mug" goes back this week to the case in the rooms of the New York Yacht Club where it has rested the past 111 years.
Weatherly, the sleek, blue-hulled United States defender last Tuesday handed the Australian challenger, Gretel, her fourth defeat in five races to keep the Cup in American hands.
Underdog from the outset, Jock Sturrock and his Aussie crew nevertheless made Weatherly work for her victory. Gretel was plagued for much of the summer with mechanical difficulties--she snapped her boom only a few days before the first race.
Race strategy was handled far too often at the beginning by the head of the Australian syndicate, Sir Frank Parker. Only after the debacle of the first race was Sturrock allowed to wield complete control.
Weatherly was odds-on favorite from the start. A much improved boat, her summer of racing and her skipper, Emil "Bus" Mosbacher, Jr., made her practically unbeatable.
The first race was, predictably, a win for Weatherly by a margin that discouraged the Aussie challengers. In 15-20 knot winds off Newport the sleek American sloop romped to a 3:46 victory.
But the second race was Gretel, Gretel all the way. In a long series of tacking duels Mosbacher was for once unable to break cleanly away from the challenger and the run to the finish cinched the race for the Aussies. Weatherly was slowed by a broken spinnaker pole, while Sturrock audaciously swept wide around the mark to come up even with the struggling defender.
Gretel then took advantage of an old Australian custom and, catching the following seas on her broad stern, surf-boarded home to a :47 victory and the fastest 24 mile race ever sailed by the swift Twelve meter sloops.
But the third race was sailed in light winds, Weatherly weather, and the wily Mosbacher trounced the challengers by an 8:40 margin.
With the Americans ahead 2-1 Sturrock and his Aussies proceeded to hand the Yanks the fright of their lives, Weatherly winning by a scant :26 over the 24 mile course. The fifth race ended the bid from Down-Under as Weatherly defeated Gretel by a 3:40, ending the best four out of seven series.