The future of boating


The future of boating

Image placeholder title

It’s a sunny day in Miami Beach, 1962. (Wasn’t it always sunny back then?) The cooler is out, the grill is dispensing picnic fare, and bathers and boaters wave to each other with the city skyline in the background.

It’s the American dream, boating-style, depicted to promote Florida’s burgeoning marine industry. Post-war prosperity has given more people more free time, and many of them are turning to boating for recreation. The Sunshine State, with its lengthy coastline and famous weather, is ready to entice them.

Symbolically, perhaps, the wooden sportfishing boat is riding out of the picture. A host of groundbreaking builders and designers are working in a new construction material, fiberglass — some of the most radical just up the coast in North Miami along what would soon become known as “Thunderboat Row.” In a decade, fiberglass would take over.

But in 1962 it was still very much an experiment, and many odd and unusual boats were created. The sailboat pulled up on the beach in this picture looks like one of them. The hull is distinctly tubular, without chines, and the lines are peculiar. The bow is long and narrow; the hull swells out amidships and then tapers sharply moving aft. The rig is unconventional, too, with that high-aspect jib — its tack well abaft the bow — and the little mainsail with the wishbone boom. It’s a singular craft from a transitional time in boatbuilding and design. But just what kind of boat is it?

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue.