The passing of Carl Eichenlaub saddened the sailing community worldwide, for he was not just a gifted boatbuilder who counted great sailors such as Malin Burnham or Lowell North among his friends and customers. He also could fix just about anything, as he proved all of his life but especially as the shipwright of the U.S. Olympic sailing team — a job he held from 1976 until 2004.
Without wishing to diss English grammar, a boat is a she. Why? It sounds good, and it feels right, especially if she struts her stuff like the slender and shapely Saga, a classic Six Meter.
My chance came when I found myself gingerly turning the pages of the yard book that once belonged to William Fife III, who designed and built yachts so pretty and good, they elicit a fair amount of raves and poetic waxing.
“Go ahead, ask your questions. I’m listening,” Laura Dekker said, taking a sip of red wine while signing and inscribing another book. “Life is a journey, not a destination,” she wrote on the frontispiece.
Her presentation at a sailing club in Hamburg was packed after the release of the German edition of her book.
The first time I saw Martha was at her dock, about midnight. I still had a kink in my neck from the flight and the car ride from the airport to Port Townsend, Wash., with my friend Lauren, her dad and her two snoozing siblings. I felt like falling asleep, too, but the prospect of going sailing on a 106-year-old schooner kept me up.
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