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.
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.
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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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.