I stepped straight from forty days alone at sea into a high-powered businessman’s life, with hundreds of letters and telegrams to answer, newspaper and radio interviews, and one or two pretty shady television appearances. Sheila brought about a deal with Sports Illustrated for me to write them a long story, and I found the staff delightful people to deal with. Percy Knauth lent me one of their offices, where I worked on my story.
The most interesting thing for me was Sheila’s story; how she had set sail in the French liner Flandres before she knew if I had passed Land’s End, and I do not think there would have been much interest in the race in America if it had not been for Sheila’s flair for public relations; and I am sure that no one would have come out to meet me if it had not been for her.
Planning A Trip To New York Photo Gallery
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We had an invitation from an American cousin to visit her at Cape Cod. We wanted to go, but there seemed an awful lot to do in New York. A week later Cousin Dick or ‘Grandick as her family called her, telephoned, asking us again. We wanted to go, but it seemed a formidable undertaking to get out of all the things we had to do in New York and sail to Cape Cod. Then she telephoned to say, ‘My son Felix is flying down in his plane to pick you up, and he will fetch you from the hotel in a car. This was the start of the most delightful visit imaginable. Cousin Dick, born a Chichester, had married Felix du Pont Senior, and had bought a point of land, Indian Point, where she had her own summer house and several other houses for members of her family. What was so delightful about them was that they never showed what odd fish we must appear to them. Grandick, who was over eighty, wanted to take us out to a party to meet a host of people every day, or else to go to see some famous landmark like the Plymouth Rock, whereas all we wanted was to loll about on the beach, bathing and eating a wonderful beach lunch with lots of clams. Nothing could be more foreign to the American way of thinking than our attitude and desire to do nothing. Felix, Cousin Dick’s son, had learned seaplane flying not long after I had, and as he too now had a yacht, we had much in common to discuss. Cousin Dick was an interesting benevolent autocrat, who enjoyed her swim every morning before lunch.
The time came when we had to leave this paradise. Gipsy Moth was at City Island, undergoing minor repairs. Sheila and I moved aboard to prepare for the return voyage. It was a hot August, and with Gipsy Moth tied up alongside the dock in 90 °F. and no fan on board, Sheila found it an ordeal. Felix and his wife, Marka, flew down to help us. They tried to persuade Sheila to give up the sail home and fly back, but Sheila had made up her mind to sail with me, and would not give in.
On 24 August we left City Island to sail down the East River through New York City. Rosie tagged along in his Foto-launch. I was really rather dreading the prospect of another Atlantic voyage, and although there was only a good breeze I reefed the mainsail, and set a smallish jib for fear of stronger wind giving me trouble among the skyscrapers. This must have been disappointing to Rosie. The weather steadily improved, and we had an interesting cruise through the city. My chief interest was Brooklyn Bridge; I remembered the picture postcard of the old bridge which my father had sent me when he visited New York when I was six. Sheila took fright that the bridge was going to snap off the mast, and I could not convince her that it was far above us.