What is the Stradivarius of surfboards
The magic of liberation
She is the Stradivarius of the classic sailing yachts. He is a tsunami survivor. Skipper Gerald Rainer and his 94 year old "Mary Rose" cruise together through the waves of the Caribbean.
Author: Alexander Macheck (text) and Anders Overgaard (photos) published on
A story from: "Organics. The Lifetime Magazine"
There are questions that answer themselves - such as those following the election of Gerald Rainer's sailing area on this Sunday in February: a bright blue sky stretches over deep turquoise water that fades into a deep blue towards the open sea.
The air is 30 degrees Celsius and is moderately blown by the trade wind, which sweeps over the sails of the "Mary Rose" at 26 kilometers an hour from the east-southeast and pulls the 29-ton two-master effortlessly through the waves off the southern tip of Antigua in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a paradise for sailors. And Antigua is their pearl.
Gerald Rainer stands on the right behind the steering wheel and meditates, just as seafarers have been doing for centuries: His gaze wanders in circles - from the sails over the sea, the wind indicator, the speedometer, the compass, the depth indicator and back again and further in a circle. It has been going on for hours, in the steady rhythm of the Atlantic wave, which slowly raises and lowers and raises and lowers the ship and the sailor until the man and the boat are one with nature.
Now and then the Austrian corrects the course with just two fingers, without pressing the steering wheel, it looks more like an offer or a polite question to the boat, because the "Mary Rose" is a schooner from 1926 - a time , in which sailing yachts were not built to impose a human will on them, but to set them free. “'Mary Rose' has character”, Gerald Rainer interrupts his silence at the helm. “It is straightforward, determined and cannot be manipulated.” His gaze goes forward. A wave with Caribbean nonchalance breaks next to the bow. "In return, 'Mary Rose" forgives most mistakes and corrects them generously. "
The "Mary Rose", the last schooner of the legendary yacht designer Nathanael G. Herreshoff, has been plowing through the waves of the Atlantic with unbroken power for 94 years.
Suddenly she gallops away
It took Gerald Rainer years to lead this ship to victories in regattas. He has been sailing with the “Mary Rose” for fifteen years now, “or she with me, who knows?”. Fifteen years of exploration, failure and often surprising success in moments when something suddenly happens that has never happened before.
And suddenly something happens on board that has never happened before.
These moments are magical. Each time they show a carefully calculated intention of the legendary ship designer and builder Nathanael Greene Herreshoff - one of many peculiarities that were forgotten generations ago and are now being rediscovered by Gerald Rainer.
Like the one that the "Mary Rose" is fastest when Gerald Rainer does not align the rudder exactly on course, but rather at a very slight angle. "You have to turn the steering wheel to five past twelve, so to speak," he says, "that creates a vortex at the back of the ship and 'Mary Rose' gallops away like an Arabian stallion."
Or to sail the boat so diagonally into the waves that the water begins to flow sideways over the edge of the deck. It would cause panic on other ships. But something completely unexpected happens on the “Mary Rose”: The side edge cuts into the waves like a sharp blade and keeps the boat in line with unimagined stability and speed. Even more: The “Mary Rose” can be sailed much steeper against the wind in this way. This is a considerable advantage in regattas.
Whistling is prohibited on the boat
Gerald Rainer not only wins races, but also, for example, stability where instability was to be feared. The fear of capsizing suddenly turns into a feeling of deep security. The skipper found and still finds many hidden characteristics like these on his boat, because he is ready "to listen to what 'Mary Rose" says ".
It was like that from the start, recalls Gerald Rainer. “An inner dialogue with this ship developed from the very first voyage. I hope that doesn't sound too esoteric. "
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