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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

A 70 for rock stars and one for everyone

A crew of three enjoys a flying reach on the J/70 under gennaker in a lively breeze on Narragansett Bay, R.I.In a different age and a different world, I’d probably know how to devoutly genuflect and kiss the ring of a monsignor. That’s what I feel like doing next time I see Puma skipper Kenny Read or any of the other sailors competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. Heroes, crazy, but also insanely brave.

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A performance boat as performance art

There are as many ways to build boats as there are ways to skin a cat. From floating fortresses to sleek sloops, they all have to be built somehow. “Produced” actually is more like it these days — so they might be affordable to consumers and lucrative to their purveyors.

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Simple and sound, the Folkboat turns 70

There's dense traffic on the layline as Nordic Folkboats jostle for position at the International Cup on San Francisco Bay.Wind from the west, honking hard. Current in the opposite direction, running fast. The track is torn up with potholes big enough to swallow an elephant, but the boat — all 2 tons of it — is flying. Up, down, crash! Up, down, splash! Icy water trickling down the collar, seeping through the bottom of the leaky, old foulies. But everyone has a ball.
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The ascent of dynamo Emma Creighton

Emma Creighton is just the third American woman to finish the Mini Transat.Trolling for story ideas, I clicked through the airbrushed reality of corporate communications and the ubiquitous social media posts by sailors who had become one with their sponsor’s marketing message. I was about to reach for the flask when I found this: “Spent the afternoon with NO wind. It sucked. Questioned all my motives for being here. Then I got my shit together, fixed some things, ate lunch, got moving, fixed more, showered and felt much better.”

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America’s Cup fever reaches China’s shores

Former Chinese basketball star Ma Jian (center) trains in San Diego with the sailing team, which needs more money, better sails and more time on the boat to compete with the top teams.The Auld Mug in China? What once might have sounded like blasphemy is becoming a distinct possibility. Yes, for the first 132 years the America’s Cup was the Americans’ cup, but since Dennis Conner lost it to the Australians in 1983 the ewer has gone cosmo. New Zealand and Switzerland won it twice, keeping it out of the United States for 15 years before software tycoon Larry Ellison won it back last year with a gigantic trimaran.

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