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Golden Catch


This vintage card, postmarked in 1971 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is not only a nice shot; it captures some of the universal elements that make the boating lifestyle so appealing.

First, there’s the boat. Whether it’s an open fisherman like this one, or a Hatteras motoryacht, a Hinckley Sou’wester or a Hobie Cat, the boat is the vehicle that gets us out there.

The fish? The one in this image could be symbolic of the activity we enjoy when we’re on the water, whether we are cruising, day-tripping, gunkholing, wake-boarding or just watching the world at sea. We all have something we like to do out there.

And, of course, there’s the water. The waves and winds that live where we do our boating are vast and sometimes overwhelming, but they also comfort the mind and soothe the soul.

These are the elements that combine to draw us to the lake, river, bay or open sea. The beauty and mystery that awaits is hard to resist. Something special always happens when you take the time to go out on the water. This image also portrays a beautiful sunset. And that is where I am headed, quietly sailing, trailing my hand through the water.

This is the last back page I will write for Soundings, after 20-plus years of crafting copy for this department for close to 250 images. The idea for this section came from the old Life magazine, which, for a time, had a back page photo entitled Miscellany. While preparing for a Soundings redesign, I suggested to Editor Bill Sisson that we create a similar page, using a vintage image with a nautical history theme. The department “Passages” (later renamed “Just Yesterday”) was born.

Finding the images and researching each has been rewarding work. And the comments from friends and readers over the years have made it even more so. My goal for this page has always been to find an interesting image, research it and make it what my father, Percy Knauth, who was also a writer, would call “a good read.” I hope I have delivered.

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue.



Golden Years on the Lake

Many of us first experienced the joys of boating as youngsters on lakes like this one.


The Greatest Sandy Hook Pilot

A late 19th-century pilot boat rides off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, at the outer entrance to New York Harbor, in this image from the early 1900s.


Orphans Of The Titanic

The Titanic survivors staggered down the gangplank of the Carpathia, chilled from the cold and numbed from the sinking of the “unsinkable.”


Lifeboat Legends

This early twentieth-century image from Red Cross magazine illustrates a story on lifesaving.


JUST YESTERDAY: The Wreck of the Princess May

The 250-foot coastal liner Princess May sits high and dry on rocks near Sentinel Island in Alaska’s Lynn Canal.