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A Look Back Into the History of Boatbuilding | Soundings Online

The rush is on!

Packed to the gunwales with gold-seekers, the steamship Islander heads out of San Francisco, bound for Alaska, to one of the most remote regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Late in 1896, not long before this photo was taken, the steamships Excelsior and Portland had pulled into San Francisco packed with gold. George Carmack; his wife, Kate Carmack; her brother “Skookum” Jim; and their nephew Dawson Charlie had made a tremendous discovery near Skagway, up on Bonanza Creek. The first of the many early prospectors were bringing home their “poke.”



Here comes Santa Claus

It was 1947, and by the time this photo of Maine’s Flying Santa passing Boston light was taken, the holiday flights started by Capt. William Wincapaw were delivering Christmas presents to some 176 lighthouses and Coast Guard stations in New England.



One-man show

An “Old Florida” fisherman gets help tying up at the wharf on Lower Matecumbe Key in December 1938. And what a functional little craft he has. The flush-deck design that was so popular for motoryachts of the day made sense in a little boat like this one, too.



Misery loves company

In 1901, the Sept. 25 cover of the satirical magazine Puck featured this cartoon of “The Wizard of Bristol” Nathanael Herreshoff and Boston yachtsman Thomas Lawson bemoaning the failure of their respective defenders for the upcoming America’s Cup. Herreshoff wasn’t used to such things; he’d designed and built every defending victor since 1893.



The shortcut through Cape Cod

Here’s a sight familiar to East Coast cruisers: the vertical lift bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne, Mass. It’s an unusual shot of the railroad bridge in its half-raised position. Unlike most opening bridges, which only open for boat traffic, this span stays in a raised position in deference to the 20,000 vessels that pass beneath it each year.



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