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Read Profiles of the Different Boat Types on Soundings Online

Beautiful Brutes

J Class yachts thrill Newport just as they did in their 1930s glory days

Photos by Jody Dole

We’re gathered in a small boat in Newport, R.I. — three photographers, Soundings editor Bill Sisson and I — for the J Class Regatta. It’s one of a series of international competitions organized by the J Class Association, representing owners of the legendary America’s Cup yachts that run to 140 feet and carry as much as 16,000 square feet of sail.

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Imagination spurs a restoration

Photos by Alison Langley.

Gordon Reed envisioned an elegant center console in a Glastron Crestflite that had been neglected for years  

A Rybovich and a Glastron have little in common, right? One is a diesel-powered battlewagon of a sportfishing boat. The other is a light and speedy outboard runabout used to zip around the bay or lake.

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From concept to kit boat

The center console skiff gently skipped through the ripples of Puget Sound. The cool air left a sting on face and hands, and the okoume on the inside of the hull gleamed in the pallid sun, but the driver’s eyes were glued to the GPS, which showed 23 knots with a nearly wide-open throttle and a fair current. That’s not exactly retina-searing stuff for an 18-foot, 5-inch powerboat, but considering the minuscule 20-hp 4-stroke hung on the stern, it was remarkable.

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Roll up your sleeves

The Jim Brandt family enjoys a spin on Puget Sound. Building at home was common in the early days of recreational boating, before fiberglass, assembly lines and slick marketing. As production boats proliferated, do-it-yourself builders turned to small kit boats. Companies such as Chesapeake Light Craft and Pygmy Kayaks have done well carving out a niche for amateur builders who take pride and pleasure in creating their own craft to the best of their abilities.

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Small Boat Craftsmanship

Photos by Brooke C. Williams

Marine craftsmanship is alive and well in Maine, where harbors and waterways are heaven for a classic-boat junkie. The boating visitor shares waters with 19th century windjammers, workboats, restored wooden sailboats and recent launchings from such shops as Hinckley, French & Webb and Morris.

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