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A Look Back Into the History of Boatbuilding | Soundings Online

Aground but not a loss

Shipwrecks were a common occurrence during the age of sail, what with thousands of vessels plying America’s inland and coastal waters. But there were shipwrecks and then there were shipwrecks. Some involved the tragic loss of life; others were merely an inconvenience to ship owners.

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Making history

Four members of the Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station take a moment to pose in their white hats and jackets, their surfboats at the ready. Theirs was not an easy job, living in a lonely outpost on the stormy North Carolina coast.

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They got the blues

Nantucket Island, off Cape Cod, Mass., was the whaling capital of the world during the first half of the 19th century. Whaling was how many a family made a living — or a fortune — sailing distant reaches of the seven seas in hardy, no-frills ships in pursuit of some of the largest creatures in the world.

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The way we were

Soundings was 11 years old when Steve Haesche’s photo made the cover in March 1974. Do you recall your first boat ride? This is how so many Soundings readers got their start: in a little boat, off on their own.

Anchor, flotation cushions, bilge pump, paddle — he’s got all the gear he needs for a little adventure. There’s even the luxury of cable steering!

And what fun these first boats were — the small craft that got us out on the water and changed our lives. You couldn’t drive a car, but you could run a little outboard like this one or sail a Blue Jay or Lightning, the same as a grown-up. Boats breed self-esteem, help us grow.

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New York Harbor

“City of hurried and sparkling waters! City of spires and masts!”

That’s how the great 19th century poet Walt Whitman described New York and its busy harbor. This 110-year-old scene on the East River looking toward Manhattan, with its ships, skyline and hustling tugboat, could have been Whitman’s inspiration.

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