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Underway Column Editorial by Editor Bill Sisson | Soundings Online Column

Big open boats take center stage

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.

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A good, long run for this band of boat show brothers

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.

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Bon voyage but not goodbye, Bay Tripper

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.

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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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