When I first arrived at the waterfront publishing offices on North Cove in Essex, Connecticut, so many years ago, Soundings was indeed true to its tag line of that time: “The Nation’s Boating Newspaper.”
Reporters pounded out copy clickety-clack on typewriters and smoked packs of cigarettes at their desks. Pre-Web news cycles seemed as long as an epoch. You could actually “break” a story in a monthly boating newspaper. We had five zoned regional editions and churned out reams of copy to go around the flotilla of ads that came in on every tide.
Welcome to the era of the outboard-powered dayboat. Although that may not be breaking news, the two new 40-plus-foot quad-outboard boats (yes, that means four 300- or 350-hp 4-strokes) introduced at the recent Fort Lauderdale show are signs of where things are headed. And there are more to come.
This new generation of open boat appeals to folks who are stepping down from larger boats, strapped for time or looking for a big all-purpose craft with good performance — maybe all three.
It’s not every day that I get to have lunch with six longtime Soundings readers who grew up with the magazine and whose boating lives mirror the arc of so many of our loyal tribe.
The lunch gathering coincided with the opening day of the Newport International Boat Show, which this group of sailors and sailors-turned-powerboaters have been attending every year for 31 years.
Jack Sherwood possesses one of the most authentic voices in marine publishing over the last two decades.
For the last 17 years, Jack wrote a monthly column for Soundings called “Bay Tripper,” in which he chronicled the various characters and places he encountered as he worked his way around Chesapeake Bay on his beloved 22-foot Erewhon, a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Sailmaster.
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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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.