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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

Less is more in this quest for ultimate sailing

With her narrow beam and double-ender hull shape, the 62-foot Francis Lee dosen't follow the production-boat trend that favors a lot of beam aft.The morning fog was lifting off Puget Sound as Blakely Rock slipped by to starboard, our bow turned north in search of wind. Soon a light, unsteady breeze sprang up. Nice, but on most boats it wouldn’t be nearly enough to unship the iron oar. Luckily, Francis Lee is not like most boats.



In remembrance of two ancient mariners

The author scatters his parents' ashes in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.The Strait of Juan de Fuca separates the United States from Canada around the 49th parallel north. Water can move through it like an avalanche, and seas can be treacherous, especially when they run counter to the current. But on this day it was flat calm, nary a cat’s paw on the placid surface.



Personal satisfaction follows independence

Wolfgang HasunerThe sun had dipped behind the hills to the west, but the soldiers of the spandex army kept pouring in from the road. Sweaty, dirty, tired and parched but smiling with contentment, they returned from a battle they had won — against the road and against themselves.



A relic’s lasting impact on ocean voyaging

Winslow Homer's 1886 oil painting Eight Bells depicts two sailors using sextants, the modern navigation instrument of the day.I recently caught myself swinging the cat-o’-nine-tails. Hard and fast I brought it down on my own back — virtually, of course — punishing myself for doing stuff that was fun when I should have applied myself to serious matters, such as weeding the yard or contributing to the bottom line. The culprit was David Barrie’s new book Sextant, which is subtitled A Young Man’s Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World’s Oceans (HarperCollins).



A wing and a promise: less fuel and cleaner air

Trillizas is a test platform for wing technology that could be adapted to passenger ferries on San Francisco Bay.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.



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