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A Look Back Into the History of Boatbuilding | Soundings Online

The Commodore’s boathouse

This is where Florida yachting started. It’s Ralph Munroe’s boathouse in what is now the bustling city of Coconut Grove.

Munroe may have been one of the original snowbirds. Born in 1851, he was a displaced Northerner from New York who first came to Florida on vacation in 1877.

He returned four years later in hopes of curing his ailing wife, Eva, of tuberculosis. When she passed away, he went back to New York to find that his daughter had died of influenza.



A fruitless search

Crewmen from HMS Enterprise and HMS Investigator, Capt. Sir James Clark Ross in command, are fighting for their lives at the Devil’s Thumb, near Baffin Bay in the Arctic archipelago. They had left England in 1848 and sailed of their own free will into one of Earth’s harshest environments — the seas of the Arctic Circle — searching for 129 explorers from the 1845 Franklin Expedition. Now the same fate that befell those ill-starred explorers’ ships is threatening to befall the rescuers.



Labor Day Hurricane, 1935

Buddies all around were shouting in panic, “Give me a hand, buddy. Save me. I’m drowning.” I fought hard to keep my head out of water and inch by inch managed to creep to higher ground.

House now breaking up. … I glanced at a barometer which read 26.98 inches, dropped it in water, and was blown outside into sea; got hung up in the fronds of a coconut tree and hung on for dear life.



More than nine lives

Rescuing and restoring old wooden ships keeps history alive and inspires us all. This is the story of a hard-working schooner that operated on the West Coast.

Wapama was a 216-foot steam schooner that made runs between San Francisco and the northwest United States during the heyday of the rough-and-tumble Pacific lumber trade.



A survivor of his own decisions

Published in 1953, The Voyage of the Heretique set off a firestorm of controversy, casting its author, French physician Alain Bombard, as either brave or a fool. Bombard believed shipwrecked mariners could live off the sea until they were rescued, eating fish and drinking sea water. In 1952 he set out on a solo voyage across the Atlantic with no provisions whatsoever.



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