Sailing: Duckling for the Deep

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

Today's blue-water skippers are a bit more specific than John Masefield. Their pragmatic doggerel runs: "Give me a Cal-40 and some racing luck, and I'll win Bermuda, Transpac and Mackinac." In less than three years of ocean competition, the 40-ft. fiber-glass sloops from California have become the tallest boats in U.S. racing, sailing off with virtually every major trophy.

In last year's 2,225-mile Trans-Pacific from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Cal-40s breezed in...

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