Few people in the sailing world are sharper than Paul Bieker, a soft-spoken Seattle-based naval architect who has spent his career designing a wide variety of sailing vessels, from super-quick I-14s and his one-off line of ‘Riptide’ racer/cruisers, to America’s Cup yachts. Bieker is one of the core designers credited with ‘super-charging’ Oracle Team USA’s ‘USA 17’ last September, changes that helped the American-flagged team to successfully pull-off one of sports history’s greatest comebacks to defend the 34th America’s Cup. Yet pull up a seat on the rail next to Bieker-as I’ve been fortunate enough to do on many occasions aboard our mutual friend’s Riptide 44-and it quickly becomes obvious that Bieker’s horizons extends far beyond racecourse designs.
Take, for example, the day that he brought our crew lunch. Each sandwich was individually wrapped in brown recycled paper and was hand-tied with a bit of hemp twine in an effort to reduce landfill fodder.
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