The characters in NEVER AGAIN get around in exciting ways, flying high performance gliders and crossing the ocean in a sailboat. I tried to be realistic in my depictions of both flying and sailing. I’m an FAA licensed glider pilot. I’ve sailed, and owned a variety of sailboats, my entire life. Here’s some background on the aircraft and the sailboat in the book.
The Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl in the book is considered an ultimate classic sail boat, at least for one made of fiberglass and not wood. The first of these 40-foot boats was built in 1959. They are still built today, the longest production run of any sailboat in the country. Henry R. Hinckley & Co. is located on Mt. Desert Island in Southwest Harbor, Maine, adjacent to Acadia National Park. Bermuda 40s won their share of long distance ocean races, including the Newport-Bermuda Race, in which the first, still uncompleted Bermuda 40 finished in the top third of her class. The trans-Atlantic crossing in NEVER AGAIN was no challenge for a Bermuda 40. Many of them have circumnavigated.
They are classy, expensive boats. I once saw two Bermuda 40s side by side on moorings in Seal Harbor, on Mt. Desert Island. They were owned by brothers David and Nelson Rockefeller. Here’s a video of sailing a Bermuda 40.
The glider in NEVER AGAIN is a plane I used to fly at the Plymouth Soaring Society, a Grob G103C Twin III. The plane in the book is spiffed up a bit – it is a few years in the future – with “the latest high-tech tubes and turbulators designed to squeeze every ounce of available lift out of the air.” I made those up. But somebody should invent them. The plane holds two people, sitting one in front of the other.
A Grob 103 was the first two-person glider to fly 1,000 kilometers, 622 miles. The 60-mile flight in NEVER AGAIN would be, as described in the book, “a piece of cake.” The Grob 103 is rated to carry 242 pounds in each of the two seats. Most gliders have to be towed into the air by a power plane. Here’s a video of a student pilot in a Grob 103, learning to do a loop. Notice how this instructor has the same emergency rope break mantra as in NEVER AGAIN: “under 200 feet altitude land straight ahead, over 200 feet sharp turn and land downwind.” Here’s another video shot with a camera mounted on the wing.
Let me know if you think I got anything wrong in the flying or sailing scenes in the book.