or how did I get here from there?
Once upon a time in Germany, I thought the world
revolved around sailing, and I spent my youth tinkering with sailboats, and building
sailboat models, and dreaming up brilliant ways to
improve them. So, naturally, I became a yacht designer and boatbuilder.
After stints with the world's finest yacht yard in
Germany, and with two of the most renowned racing yacht Naval Architects in
the US, I hung out my own shingle in 1974.
My very first commission, the 54ft "Sunset Blvd" (on
the left), won the prestigious Transpac race in 1975.
Commissions came pouring in.
In 1980, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and set
out to build my ultimate cruiser, a 46ft ultralight composite sailboat.
Before the hull was turned over, I had orders for a bunch more. And since
I found the hands-on building much more satisfying than the
pencil-pushing, I made it official and started my own boatyard. Through
contact with experimental aircraft gurus, I explored advanced composite
materials and manufacturing methods, and applied all this knowledge to a
gaggle of ultralight racing/cruisers. Life was good.
Then the gung-ho 80s fizzled, orders became sparse,
environmental restrictions tougher, and I went looking for some other
product to pour my accumulated experience into.
Then I tried windsurfing.
Within the first couple of minutes I knew that I was
going to windsurf for the rest of my life. Upon closer inspection I found
the exact same materials in windsurfing boards that I had been building boats out
of for eons. What was more natural than
to try and slowly phase out my working on sailboats in favor of
sailboards? The first year, I repaired about 40 sailboards; the second,
about 80, the third about 160. Then Epoxy surfboards became popular in
earnest, and my workload tripled. Then came SUPs, and it tripled again.
Talking about being in the right spot at the right