The Boats That Fly

Calling 17 a sailboat is like calling the stealth bomber a plane. It’s not inaccurate, but the picture it makes is incomplete. Waning are the days of billowing spinnakers and yachtsmen in striped ties and blue blazers. Today’s boats are anti-romantics. They are stripped-down engineering solutions to hydrodynamic problems, and they’re crewed by athletes better judged by their strength and reaction times than their readings of the wind. Not much can keep up with a modern racing yacht, and that sometimes includes the men who sail them.


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