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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

A chandlery to satisfy classic-boat junkies

Toplicht can feed the jones of any classic-boat-junky - sorry, no electronics here.Ah, the intoxicating aroma of oakum, tar and hemp. Rays of light reflected by polished brass and gleaming varnish. Floorboards creaking underfoot. Stepping into the retail store of outfitter Toplicht is a symphony for the senses and a trip to the realm of nautical retro-culture.



A fastidious Frenchman and his return to the sea

Professional sailor Frederic Boursier is preparing a client and his yacht for a solo circumnavigation.Inch by inch, the long orange rudder moves toward the water. There’s no wind to speak of, which is rare in early March in the Antilles. But the slight ocean swell is enough to make this a delicate operation for the skipper perched on the stern.



A legendary boat and family heirloom

We’ve all heard it from inveterate romantics: Pretty boats do resemble pretty women. While this notion is false flattery for most floating objects that are stamped out by factories, it is the essence of the legendary racing dinghy Aera II.



Cat tales and the magic of ‘Made in the USA’

The Alpha 42 cruising catamaran is being built in Patchogue, N.Y.Whenever I chat with Gregor Tarjan, I’m caught in a time warp: I’m back in my formative years in Vienna, Austria. I moved to the world’s waltzing capital from the Alpine valleys to attend university half a lifetime ago, but he was born and raised there.



Paralympians prove more enabled than disabled

Jen French won a silver medal with Jean-Paul Creignou in the SKUD 18 Class at the Paralympic Games last year, then followed that up with Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year honors.A highly expectant sailing audience could have considered 2012 a bit of a downer. The 14 nominees for the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards combined for five world championships and as many podium finishes, but one fact overshadowed it all: U.S. sailors failed to medal at the Olympic Games for the first time since 1936.



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