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Peaceful Morning

Painting by John Barber

It’s early morning at Capt. Johnny Ward’s dock on Jackson Creek near the mouth of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, and these two 60-foot wooden buyboats will soon be headed out into lower Chesapeake Bay for a day’s hard work.

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50 Years of Soundings

Inaugural issueArticles include photos from old issues of Soundings.

It began in the spring of 1963, when three intrepid dreamers launched a skinny little boating newspaper named Soundings. The first run of 10,000 eight-page tabloid newspapers were given away free at marinas and boatyards that got free classifieds for displaying the new monthly publication at their cash registers.

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Forever grateful

Despite the fact that it happened 27 years ago I vividly remember the day I unknowingly launched my career in marine journalism. I was walking past my college adviser Linda Snodgrass’s office at the University of Rhode Island and noticed a sign featuring a crudely drawn picture of a sailboat on the door. It read: “Do you like boats? Are you a good writer? Inquire inside.”

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From ad sales to J/Boats

As 1970 began, I had been working for five years in the planning department of attack- submarine builder General Dynamics/Electric Boat Co. and lived in Stonington, Conn. In March, I was informed that if I wanted to keep my job I would have to transfer to the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Mass. The alternative was no job.

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Pioneering at Soundings

In 1967 I spent the best summer of my life in Newport, R.I., covering the America’s Cup for Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. of Australia newspaper group and contributing a few pieces to Soundings. The first Soundings editor had departed for fame and glory at Life magazine, and in the fall Jack Turner offered me the job of editor and sole editorial employee.

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