Columns/Blogs Under Way
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Underway Column Editorial by Editor Bill Sisson | Soundings Online Column

Quality time remaining

A friend in Florida admitted recently that he was back “working” the death notices. Huh? Working the what? What he did was compile all of the obituaries over a three-day period from a big South Florida newspaper to find out the average age of the decedents. The number was 83.2.

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If you're born to hang, you're not going to drown

Old Tom Dower had as strong a will to live as anyone I’ve interviewed.

I last spoke to Dower more than 25 years ago. He was 70 and had just started building his fifth boat. A year or so earlier, he had survived being run down by a vessel about 20 miles off Virginia. Dower was single-handing his 33-foot ketch from Florida to Newfoundland when he was rammed about 1 a.m. It could have been a “doper,” he told me, or a fishing trawler. Whatever the vessel, she never stopped.

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The beauty of boats that look and work as they should

Boats should look like boats, and churches like churches.

At their best, boats are an outward expression of an inner conversation about beauty and purpose (to paraphrase a furniture maker). A boat should make you want to run your hand along some part of it, and the right boat, as I have said before, should make you stop and turn as you walk away from it — and look back with longing.

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Quitting is never easy when lives are on the line

When do you stop searching for someone lost at sea? How much time is enough time?

In some cases, the determination is more straightforward than in others. A boat sinks quickly in horrendous conditions. The water is cold, the crew inexperienced, there is no life raft or survival suits, the last known position is vague.

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Daring rescue raises questions about sailing offshore with kids

When Charlotte Kaufman pushed the button on Rebel Heart’s EPIRB, summoning help for her sick 1-year-old daughter, neither she nor her husband, Eric, anticipated the storm of controversy that would accompany the rescuers as they rushed to the family’s sailboat 900 miles off Mexico.

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William Sisson, Editor

A 1981 Phi Beta Kappa journalism graduate, Bill has been writing about boats for more than two decades. His boating travels have taken him from the Persian Gulf to the Baltic Sea, and always back home to Little Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. As editor, Bill is responsible for planning and executing the publication's boating coverage each month, and his Under Way column starts each issue. Bill has been with Soundings for 20 years and in 1997 won the Moulton H. "Monk" Farnham Award for Excellence in Editorial Commentary.


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