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A Look Back Into the History of Boatbuilding | Soundings Online

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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Rollin' on the river

New Orleans, March 23, 1903: High water on the Mississippi makes the laborious task of loading the old sternwheelers a little bit easier.

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Brotherly Love

From the 1897 issue of The San Francisco Call newspaper: “The old-time clipper Three Brothers has come to her last notch. At one time a warship, then one of the largest and fastest clippers in the American mercantile marine, she was finally sold to an English firm and passed under the English flag.Months ago she outgrew her usefulness and is now serving as a coal hulk for the English government at Malta.”

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Birth of the Bowdoin

They don’t make foul weather gear like this anymore! That’s arctic explorer Donald Baxter MacMillan aboard his schooner, Bowdoin, with a look of ready confidence.

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