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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

At home on small boats and big water

sailboats0916The smaller the boat, the bigger the adventure. So simple, so good, so true. I recently felt the need to scratch this itch so I can wear a you-know-what-eating grin for a while.

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This skipper proved her mettle a lifetime ago

sailboat_onwater“School? I thought that was boring,” says Gerhild Wiendieck over a can of soda in her home in Victoria, British Columbia, from which she can see the bluish contours of the U.S. shoreline across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Her short white hair and rectangular spectacles accentuate the relief of her face, carved by years, laughs and the salt of the sea. She’s pushing 85, but she’s still vital, with a wry sense of humor, an impish smile and an undying love for the ocean, which was a formative force in her life.

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Learning life’s lessons on a 20-foot boat

sailboats0716_1The western outskirts of Hamburg, Germany. Latitude 53 north, roughly the same parallel as Edmonton, Alberta. The air is chill and coarse. A brisk westerly reddens cheeks but can’t wipe the smiles from Jenny Felshart’s and Mareike Schiffler’s faces.

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L. Francis Herreshoff: Genius against the odds

herreshoff1Let’s admit it: Misfits are fun. Exiled to the fringes, they provide entertainment when they enter the spotlight. I’m not talking about Hulk Hogan and the Gawker tapes. I invite you to reacquaint yourself with Lewis Francis Herreshoff, aka L. Francis, Francis or LFH, who struggled for some time to escape the shadow of his redoubtable father, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, the patron saint of American yacht design.

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Racing around paradise

on_mark1Prospector is sailing fast, the wind blowing 20 knots on her starboard bow. It’s very dark; the full moon has not yet risen. We’ve just rounded Redonda Rock, a looming, jagged outcropping of an island between Nevis in the West Indies and Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles. Sheeted in tight, standing on the stern, I’m straining to grind in the mainsheet. I can’t believe I’m here.

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