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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

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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Chartering off the grid on classic folkboats

meerflair_folkboat_ccFifty-three square meters. That’s 570 square feet. Not much for a cattle rancher, but for a flybridge on a motoryacht, I’d say that’s pretty posh. And that’s not all: bar, lounge area, Jacuzzi and a motorcycle that is hoisted to and from street level with a dedicated crane.

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Driftwood can be a sailor’s enemy or a delight for the senses

sailboats1Few things are dreaded more by those who go to sea than things that go bump in the night. Snoozing whales, ice in higher latitudes, cargo containers that were lost overboard and drift half-submerged toward great ocean gyres, where they have a party with millions of tons of other floating garbage.

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Imagine GPS goes down. What happens next?

sailboats1What if? It’s an interesting question that can revive boring dinner conversations and inspire books, such as Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us (one of my favorite reads) and Ted Koppel’s Lights Out. Observing what’s going on around the globe, it might seem prudent to stop asking about the if and prepare for the when.

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