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Stories of Boat Related Mishaps and Experiences | Soundings Online Column

My newfound interest in outboard engines

Chuck Holm gave the Bay Tripper's Tohatsu 4-stroke some TLC and showed him how to care for it.I must confess that I am one of those boaters who do not thoroughly read the operational manual that comes with a new outboard. I have paid a price through the decades for this negligence, even though I usually blame any malfunction on the engine, not on myself.

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The scent of a boat shop: a lost treat for the senses

Boatbuilder Joe Reid has been doing maintenance and wooden boat repars for the last couple of years, but there has never been 'serious interest' in his Thomas Point 40.I was making clouds of paint dust while sanding the cabin and topsides of my 1962 Sailmaster this winter to prep for spring painting when I began to long for the fragrance of wood dust. Fortunately, Joe Reid’s Mast & Mallet Boatworks is in the Mayo/Edgewater neighborhood of Casa Rio Marina, where my boat is hauled, so I detoured there to have a look.

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With the boat on the hard, it’s time for that to-do list

photo by Scott sherwood

The Bay Tripper recruited Nancy Cronin, a Manhattan account executive visiting Annapolis, to lend a soft touch polishing Erewhon.I’m usually too occupied with sailing in-season to focus on items on my boatwork to-do list, but with Erewhon hauled for the winter I have the opportunity to tackle that never-ending list and maybe have a clear slate in the spring. Oddly enough, I think I would be uncomfortable if I had nothing to list or cross out anymore. It has sustained me through the decades and kept me busy.

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My close encounter with a tug and barge

Sporting some new Slam foulies, the Bay Tripper was prepared for late-season sailing but not for an encounter with a tug and barge.Any veteran sailor who has cruised Chesapeake Bay for years should have a harrowing tale or two to tell shipmates. It is the nature of a rewarding sport that at times can be dangerous, risky and challenging.

I have had my share of close calls, including the sinking of my Westphal 28 one-design 35 years ago in a freak 70-knot squall on the Tred Avon River in Oxford, Md., a mishap that earned me the nickname “Shipwreck.”

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Workboat models keep a family’s history alive

Norman Gross is memorializing his family's workboats in models. This is his father's boat, Miss Myrtle.As a youngster, boatyard painter Norman Gross fished, crabbed, clammed and oystered with his father and uncles and cousins — all working out of a community of black watermen in Shady Side, Md. But instead of “following the water” like them, he became a yard worker and is now an accomplished professional in a demanding art.

A gentle, soft-spoken man who looks a decade younger than his 52 years, Gross never forgot his happy days on the water working with that lost generation of Gross watermen.

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Jack Sherwood, Writer-at-Large

Jack has been cruising Chesapeake Bay and writing about the region for more than 25 years. His critically acclaimed book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," was published by Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Press and is now in its second printing. Before joining Soundings, Jack was a feature writer at the Washington (D.C.) Star for nearly 20 years and a senior editor at Chesapeake Bay magazine from 1995 to 1998. His monthly Bay Tripper column focuses on the Chesapeake.


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