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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

Disappointed, yes, but in no way defeated

Heading west: Glenn Wakefield in the Strait of Juan de Fuca after the start of his solo, non-stiop circumnavigation in Victoria, British Columbia.It was Dec. 26, 2013, Boxing Day, and the position was 32 degrees, 55 minutes south and 80 degrees, 17 minutes east. That’s a nowhere spot in the Southern Indian Ocean, far from anything or anyone. Australia was 1,800 miles astern, South Africa 2,800 miles farther west. A cyclone had moved out of the area, and seas were getting calmer, yet it was then and there that Glenn Wakefield’s dream came unraveled, strand by cruel strand.

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This boat is solid as an (igneous) rock

Norbert Sedlacek sea-trials Fipofix, a 16-foot prototype built from volcanic fibers.Unless you closely follow single-handed offshore racing or you are an Austrophile, you’ve probably never heard of Norbert Sedlacek. And why would you? He’s not a superstar in the mold of the French legends Eric Tabarly, Loick Peyron, Michel Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou or the new young god, François Gabart.

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A legend and a genius, Eichenlaub left his mark

Carl Eichenlaub, here in his vintage garb, ran errands using the electric golf cart in the background.The passing of Carl Eichenlaub saddened the sailing community worldwide, for he was not just a gifted boatbuilder who counted great sailors such as Malin Burnham or Lowell North among his friends and customers. He also could fix just about anything, as he proved all of his life but especially as the shipwright of the U.S. Olympic sailing team — a job he held from 1976 until 2004.

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Saga’s ‘six’ appeal justifies her gender

Without wishing to diss English grammar, a boat is a she. Why? It sounds good, and it feels right, especially if she struts her stuff like the slender and shapely Saga, a classic Six Meter.

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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.

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