The way we were

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Soundings was 11 years old when Steve Haesche’s photo made the cover in March 1974. Do you recall your first boat ride? This is how so many Soundings readers got their start: in a little boat, off on their own.

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Anchor, flotation cushions, bilge pump, paddle — he’s got all the gear he needs for a little adventure. There’s even the luxury of cable steering!

And what fun these first boats were — the small craft that got us out on the water and changed our lives. You couldn’t drive a car, but you could run a little outboard like this one or sail a Blue Jay or Lightning, the same as a grown-up. Boats breed self-esteem, help us grow.

Soundings was growing up, too. “The Nation’s Boating Newspaper” had more content and from farther reaches of the nautical world, and it cost 50 cents in 1974 — and by then it had a cover. But the publication was still true to its newspaper roots, still thrived on local news, still focused on real boats for real boaters.

The youngster here, Sam Paige, is now 51. After many years of operating private yachts, he is working as a paramedic until his two kids, ages 14 and 17, move into the college phase. Then it’s back to boats and Florida, where he has a condo in Key Largo. “My first love,” he says, “will always be the ocean.”

We’ve all matured, stepped up, just as Soundings has. But neither we nor the publication will ever forget those carefree small-craft days.

May 2013 issue