The Mojave Desert’s dry Ivanpah lake bed shimmers under a vicious solar glare,creating the illusion of water.
Piercing the mirage are dozens of sails—a vast array of color streaking
over a dusty ocean. It’s the last week in March, and Ivanpah is hosting
the North American Land Sailing Association’s
annual dirt-boat championships, the America’s Cup. It may seem odd to
give this competition the same name as the more famous ocean race, but
truth be told, in a strictly technical sense the two America’s Cups are
quite similar. Dirt sailing is sailing, after all: The tactics
are the same; the maneuvers are the same. The main difference, as people
who race on dirt are keen to point out, is speed. Sailing on a dry lake
is about three times faster than sailing on water.
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