Preparations for the America's Cup in San Diego have been drawing the attention of sailors around the world for a year or more. And as often happens when the focus of a sport's following is concentrated, there are those on the fringe that manage to get some time in the limelight.
Last weekend, the World Yachting Grand Prix circuit got its chance on San Diego Bay, sailing a three-day regatta in 52-foot Formula One yachts that drew increasing interest from America's Cup crews and skippers.
The regatta was won by Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes, which was skippered by John Bertrand.
Formula Ones are a class of one-design sloops that are new enough to have only four competing in the San Diego event, the next-to-last regatta in the circuit's first year. The series will finish in Fremantle, Australia, in February.
Marc Pajot of France, who is leading a challenge for the America's Cup, was so impressed with the Formula Ones that he has bought one under construction to race next year -- perhaps )) in France.
"The best place would be Sete, where we train and where the next America's Cup will be," Pajot said, assuming that his group will win the right to challenge for the Cup and then win the match against an American defender.
Chris Dickson, who campaigned for New Zealand previously in the America's Cup and now sails for a Japanese syndicate, also said he is ready to jump on the Formula One bandwagon.
"The circuit is going to be fantastic," Dickson said. "The acceleration [of these boats] is great and when we come out of a tack and ease the sheets a little bit, you've got to be hanging on to something because they jump."
Pedro Campos of Spain also was impressed after racing a borrowed Formula One and he, too, is exploring the possibilities of joining the circuit.
Autohelm is touting its hand-bearing Personal Compass as the best in the world. It is, says the manufacturer, waterproof, pocket-size and lightweight -- and it also will serve as stopwatch and countdown timer.
The Personal Compass has pistol sights for lining up bearings and lighted digital display for reading them. Timer and compass operate independently and nine bearings can be stored for recall.
Is it the best in the world? It will cost $175 to find out for yourself.
* Tim Tucker, senior writer for Bassmaster Magazine, has produced a couple of items that may be of interest to bass fishermen -- a book, "More! Secrets of America's Best Bass Pros," and the "Bass Session Series," a selection of seven audio cassette tapes.
As its title suggests, the book reveals the special techniques of Ken Cook, Shaw Grigsby and others. An autographed copy is available for $12.95 from Tim Tucker Outdoor Productions Corp., Route 2, Box 177, Micanopy, Fla. 32667.
The seven-tape cassette series, includes interviews with Roland Martin, Grigsby, Guido Hibdon, Doug Hannon and others. The set sells for $65 and individual tapes sell for $9.95. They are available from the same address.