Another season is winding down — turning over, packing up, digging in, heading south. A couple of old gaffers at the marina are hauling an old boat for winter. The helper returns to the slip and kneels to remove the dock lines. He turns and smiles, and I find myself looking into the face of an ancient Yankee fisherman-farmer already anticipating in his bones the iron cold lurking just a turn or two away on the calendar.
I was jawboning with the owner of a tackle shop in Westbrook, Conn., on a quiet midweek morning when a confident voice crowing about the previous night’s catch rolled through the open door just ahead of the man who had spoken the words.
“We crushed them last night!”
The mechanic and the editor sit outside the boat shop on a hot July night, drinking iced coffee while heat lightning flashes to the north and west. They’re talking boats and doing their best to put off the job waiting inside.
The mechanic is hot and tired and grimy from fixing busted motors and systems all day. The editor is fried from spending hours squinting at a computer screen, chasing misplaced modifiers and a host of other gremlins hiding in a sea of words.
It’s not every day that I get a visit from an author, especially one who doesn’t celebrate his 17th birthday until August. But Alex Ellison is not your typical young writer — and given the five years he spent voyaging and living out of the country with his family, he’s probably not your typical teen, either, at least not in terms of life experience.
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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.