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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

An old notebook, a holy grail of yacht design

The notebook lists all of Fife's designs from 1896 to 1938.How many times in life does one touch history? And how often does it come in the form of a greasy, shop-worn notebook that’s held together with disintegrating adhesive tape because it’s been thumbed through thousands of times.

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.



A journey to fame that passed through hell

Now 18, Laura Dekker was just 15 when she set off to sail around the world alone.“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.



A teenager finds her sea legs

Editor’s note: Our sailing editor’s 13-year-old daughter shares her experiences from a three-day cruise aboard the schooner Martha this summer in the Pacific Northwest.

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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A world voyage ends on the homestretch

A jubilant Christian Liebergreen rounded Cape Horn, but he dismasted before finishing his adventure.Christian Liebergreen was resting in his bunk below deck. The weather was thick, but nothing he hadn’t seen before. Jonna, he was absolutely confident, was going to handle it. She was his yacht, and he was her captain. Together they were a good team. And this was Liebergreen’s grand adventure: sailing around the world alone, without stops or outside assistance.



Adrenaline rush: Cup cats and high altitude

The writer got a bird's eye view of sailing mecca Auckland, New Zealand, from this perch on the Sky Tower.The wind was tearing at my orange jumpsuit. It was short at the ankles, and I looked as if I were on the lam from prison, getting treed by a K-9 unit, except that this tree was Auckland’s Sky Tower, rising more than 1,000 feet into the air and I was standing outside on a 4-foot-wide steel grating 630 feet above ground.



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