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THE ULTIMATE JIB BUNNY
E.M. Swift
February 12, 1999
Sailors in the Bitter End Yacht Club's pro-am learned that inside the chest of Heidi Klum beats the heart of a fierce competitor
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February 12, 1999

The Ultimate Jib Bunny

Sailors in the Bitter End Yacht Club's pro-am learned that inside the chest of Heidi Klum beats the heart of a fierce competitor

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Cayard looked as if he had choked on a prune. "Maybe on the way in," he said. "Why don't you work the jib?"

As it turned out, Heidi was born to be a jib bunny. She moved quickly and surely, wrestling the sail back and forth on downwind legs, scampering deftly around the mast during tacks.

"How're you doing?" I asked her on the final leg of the first race, which we were leading by two boat lengths over Read.

"Great!" she gushed. "I love it." Then, "I think I broke my toe."

"You're kidding."

"I ran into that hatch in the bow. It feels broken, but I'm not going to look at it."

"You want to see a doctor? We can go ashore after this race."

"No way. I want to win."

She did, too. You could see it whenever we finished ahead of the other boat, at which point she'd turn around and give a heart-stopping smile and thumbs-up to the rest of the crew. Courts had been absolutely right. A good jib bunny is invaluable to morale. Heidi threw herself against the jib with abandon, once almost toppling over the rail when the wind suddenly caught the sail and flung it open. She laughed that off. It's quite a freeing experience, competition. No one cares very much what you look like. All that counts is: Can you do it? Heidi was doing it. She was eager, enthusiastic and uncomplaining. Finishing first was the main thing on her mind. "Attack!" she'd shout at every tack.

Which Cayard did. He beat Read two out of three in the semis, then, that afternoon, swept Hutchinson three races to none. Twice we came from behind to pass Hutchinson's boat on a downwind leg with Heidi—shins bruised, calves scraped and nose sunburned—manning the jib. "I'm glad we swept them," she said, administering victory hugs to the crew. "My foot was starting to hurt."

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