Farewell to Skip Allan’s S/V Wildflower

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Anyone who has ever run before a gale knows how exhilarating it can be. On the right boat, in the right conditions, the adrenaline rush is as intense as any we’ll feel in this world. Bull riders, surfers, and skydivers get a few seconds of excitement. An ocean gale can last for days ... and that’s where the problem lies. With your senses completely in tune with the boat, wind, and sea, the experience of hurtling down an ocean wave stirs the soul. But as the hours pass and day turns to night, the thrill gives way to exhaustion. Mostly, you’re too busy to be afraid, but each mountain of green water that fills the cockpit brings doubt. How high will these waves get? How long can I last? Even with a drogue streaming off the stern to slow down the boat, running before storm-driven waves entails a great deal of risk. There’s danger enough aboard a fully crewed boat, as the rig, sails, and steering gear get pushed to the brink.
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Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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