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.
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.
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