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Peter Foerthmann has spent his life in the service of Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds. He learned to harness the power of the wind first as a sailor and then as the man behind the Windpilot windvane self-steering company. The winds of fortune have by turns favoured (his serendipitous meeting with Windpilot founder John Adam, for example) and tormented (numerous legal entanglements being the most prominent example) him without ever managing to blow him entirely off course – a course that stretches to the horizon and beyond, where sailing dreams become reality (at least for those with the right transom ornament). This book presents the recollections of a self-taught original who, heedless of convention and rely-ing strictly on his own internal compass, has developed a unique understanding of social interaction among sailors, who have rewarded him in turn by spreading the word about his products effectively enough to make Windpilot the world market leader for windvane self-steering systems. Building up the company and developing a product that enables sailors the world over to enjoy long passages freed from the need to steer continuously has given Peter an all but unparalleled insight into blue-water sailing and an expertise in various related areas that he has shared in several highly regarded specialist publications. A compulsive writer, Peter takes as much pleasure in choosing his words as he does in telling his story, the story of how he swapped a boat for the idea that became his life, how he went from a tra-ditional workshop-based operation building everything by hand to what must surely be one of the world's smallest state-of-the-art industrial manufacturing companies and, most importantly of all for him, how he has managed to defend and maintain his independence both commercially and socially by sticking to his principles – fairness, respect, empathy – and learning, not without incident, to choose his friends wisely. Above all, this is the story of half a century in the windvane self-steering business, a story that – Aeolus willing – still has a long way to run.
About the Author
Peter Foerthmann heeft een unieke kennis van zelfsturing. Geboren in 1947, leerde hij varen zodra hij leerde lopen, toen hij opgroeide aan het water in Hamburg. Peter Foerthmanns creatieve bijdrage aan de evolutie van de windvaanstuurinrichtingen is als ingenieur en als zeer praktisch man vrijwel ongeëvenaard. Het is niet in de laatste plaats aan hem te danken dat deze inrichtingen in het tijdperk van de bits en bytes nog steeds floreren.