There are a lot of ways to relax in your downtime. Here in the Northeast, during the winter months when boats are in storage, one of my guilty pleasures is to search online for all things vintage. That includes nautical antiques, listings for which I’ll click through on countless sites, from small marine specialty shops to global brokers like Sotheby’s. It’s easy to lose track of time sifting through photos and descriptions of elegant brass portholes, old sextants and compasses, pieces that can stoke anyone’s love of nautical nostalgia. But searching and shopping for these pieces from my laptop in Connecticut is one thing. It’s quite another to get out into the world and find this stuff.
At least that’s what I learned reading Kim Kavin’s piece on a couple from Texas, who travel to far-flung places around the globe in search of vintage marine equipment (“Treasure Hunters,”). I like the story on Adrienne and Michael Culpepper because it shows the lengths to which some people will go to find pieces of enduring interest, importance and quality. The Culpeppers spend time scouring ship-breaking yards in places like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey, where they salvage lights, pilothouse wheels and more from oil rigs, cargo ships and passenger yachts. They save these items from the scrap heap and send them directly to their overstuffed store in Galveston, where customers can forage for cool finds to their heart’s content.
This issue features a few people who go to great lengths to get a job done well. In “Answering the Shout,” we meet members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, an organization of volunteers who put their own lives on the line to make waters in the UK safer for boaters. And in “Way to Grow” we get to know Kristen Greenaway, president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Her hard-charging efforts at that landmark in St. Michaels have resulted in an expanded space and more shipwrights on staff to tackle an exciting project: a new reproduction of the 17th-century ship, Maryland Dove. These ambitious professionals seem to put their hearts and minds into their work. As a result, people like you and I reap the rewards.