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On Sailboats with Dieter Loibner

A yacht named Witch and a cauldron of intrigue

Witch, designed in 1902 by Charles Sibbick, caught the eye of a man who has become a shipwright so he can restore her.It was a sad day on the Cowes waterfront in January 1912 when an empty dinghy without oars was brought in from the Medina River. Sailors, tradesmen and ordinary citizens talked in hushed voices about what might have happened. Few entertained hope that the rower was alive, but without a corpse, speculation ran rampant. Was it an accident? Suicide? Foul play?

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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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