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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

As a club turns 100, its sailboat turns 90

Tsana is one of the fiberglass Watch Hill 15s built by the Frank Hall Boat Yard in Avondale, R.I.Rhode Island. Little Rhody. The Ocean State. It’s small, but when it comes to boats, the place feels big. Not as big as in the glory days, before the “real” America’s Cup left Newport and before the recent economic turbulence. Still, the marine trades are “among the only growing sectors in manufacturing and blue-collar work,” according to Lisa DiRaimo, executive director at the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association. “And despite the recession, the industry has held its own.”

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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.



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.



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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