A classic Chesapeake motor cruiser quietly made her 50th anniversary homecoming pilgrimage in June to her humble place of origin, an equally classic boatyard and “home for Neptune’s Darlings” on Maryland’s middle Eastern Shore. The 40-footer was designed and built by the legendary Ralph Wiley, who named her Sweet and Low (for reasons of his own), and she was launched in 1963.
You’ll recall that during my 42-mile solo cruise under power late last September I was returning from the Sassafras River to Annapolis when my boat sprung a major leak. I traced the problem to the outboard well as best I could, specifically to the engine-mount area, where visible cracks had developed in the corners.
At this unrestricted stage of my extended life, I can cruise when and where I choose and stay as long or as short a time as I wish. But as a newspaperman in the early 1970s who was smitten with sailing, my proposal for a cruising story on company time required approval from an editor.
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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.