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Stories of Boat Related Mishaps and Experiences | Soundings Online Column

Brutes of Baltimore: the humble tugboat

The Cape Henlopen emerges from the fog, returning to Fells Point after a long day's work.The sweep of urban renewal continues to cleanse, change and regenerate Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and neighboring waterfront properties into a safe business and residential haven. One symbol of local maritime history survives: the cherished tugboat, a modernized icon of the past that remains an unchanging presence on the water, carrying out the same duties that helped drive the growth that built this city.

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My money pit: time to correct the neglect

After 25 years without stripping, Erewhon's bottom is now in fiine form.When the lockbox of my “nautical needs money pit” is breached, there is no telling exactly where the cash might go, but the general direction mathematically is up, up and away.

Following the traditional rag-hauler’s endless pursuit of frugality, my primary objective has always been to become fairly proficient in the art of solo sailing without making it more potentially dangerous than it is already.

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Redneck Yacht Club? Not for this ‘shantyboat’

Joe Fernon is quite at home aboard Lilypad, the 20-foot shantyboat he built.Who among us real boaters has never yearned for a getaway cottage overlooking a bay, ocean, lake, river, creek, cove or even a mere goldfish pond? A simple kind of weekend hunting cabin with a wood cookstove to knock down a chill, some oil and kerosene lamps to set a mood, a padded rocking chair, and a comfy bunk with a bedroll would do nicely.

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Sailing 101: Capt. Claire passed with flying colors

The Tripper's granddaughter, Claire, not only got the hang of sailing, but she caught on to the vernacular, as well.What a difference eight years makes in the life of a 12-year-old — in this case my only grandchild, Claire, who will inherit my 1962 Sailmaster 22C, along with a trust fund targeted specifically for boat maintenance, after I give up sailing at age 100. (Oh, what a lucky little girl!)

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Good day on the water: a skiff, crabs, old friends

Chicken-neckers Angus Phillips (right) and Gene Miller proudly display two of their male 'jimmies' destined for the steam pot.I have been following the rousing adventures of sailing writer Angus Phillips for more than 35 years, mostly during his stint as the outdoors editor of The Washington Post from the mid-1970s until his retirement in 2010. I have also sailed casually with and against him, and struggled to compete with him while covering America’s Cup regattas in Newport, R.I., in 1980 and 1983 for different newspapers. And as a non-angler I even read his well-spun tales of “feeeshing.”

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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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