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Underway Column Editorial by Editor Bill Sisson | Soundings Online Column

In this boat together

By the time you read our July issue, I will have a boat in the water. It’s a bold goal, but Parkinson’s Law — “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” — is ricocheting around my brain, a pinball fired by budding trees, light evenings, the return of birdsong. And once spring is well and truly here, it is chased by an admittedly irrational sense that summer will soon be half over.

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The heart wants what it wants

I don’t think I ever left the dock, in the many years I have owned Bossanova, when I didn’t feel a visceral thrill, a small flutter near my solar plexus. Few things have ever made me happier than clearing the jetties, locking open the port and starboard pilothouse doors and switching the VHF to 16. When the pan-pans and securities grew repetitive, I’d change to channel 2 for the strangely soothing patter of the National Weather Service’s robo-voice.

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No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow

April is not, despite T.S. Eliot’s claims, the cruelest month. Not even close. (It’s January, hands down.) While it’s true that late winter’s lingering snow, sleet, slush and gray skies are particularly stinging to the winter-weary soul, April — no matter how disappointing its actual appearance — is springtime’s vestibule. The pale yellow sun has already warmed our upturned faces with its wan rays, the first purple crocuses have pushed through the snow, and we feel in our bones that we are mere weeks away from buds opening on the trees, from flitting butterflies and cheerful birdsong and — best of all — from getting our boats back in the water.

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Radio check, radio check

Mary SouthSince this is my first column as editor-in-chief of Soundings, I probably ought to take this opportunity to present myself in a flattering light — tell you about my nautical background, my professional accomplishments, my high IQ and my excellent parallel-parking skills. Instead, let me tell you about one of the dorkiest things I’ve ever done.

I’m not sure of the year — probably 2009 or 2010 — and I was at a media breakfast at the Fort Lauderdale boat show sitting with colleagues from Yachting magazine, where I was senior editor at the time. As the speaker concluded and people pushed back their chairs in anticipation of hitting the docks, I saw a familiar face at a nearby table.

Was it … could it be … yes, it was! Bill Sisson, the editor-in-chief of Soundings. I approached the man like a 12-year-old girl meeting Justin Bieber. I didn’t scream or faint or try to touch him, but I did gush a little.

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Heartfelt thanks to our salty, sharp-eyed readers

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.

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