Ah, the blessings of San Francisco Bay: sunshine, sparkling water, brisk breezes, a multihull and a wing. In remembering the last America’s Cup, these could be the trimmings for a heart-thumping ride on foils at 40 knots. But this is a different show. No speeding. No grinding. No foiling. No body armor, crash helmets or cameras. And no profligate billionaires. This is not about speed.
“You show this to anybody, and I’ll kill you,” says Jon Lyons, absently, as he bears down on one very busy page of my notebook with a green Sharpie.
It was a sad day on the Cowes waterfront in January 1912 when an empty dinghy without oars was brought in from the Medina River. Sailors, tradesmen and ordinary citizens talked in hushed voices about what might have happened. Few entertained hope that the rower was alive, but without a corpse, speculation ran rampant. Was it an accident? Suicide? Foul play?
Unless you closely follow single-handed offshore racing or you are an Austrophile, you’ve probably never heard of Norbert Sedlacek. And why would you? He’s not a superstar in the mold of the French legends Eric Tabarly, Loick Peyron, Michel Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou or the new young god, François Gabart.
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