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Story Work


The Soundings edit team is always up for an adventure. Take Executive Editor Pim Van Hemmen. He wanted to write a story about a group of oystermen near his homeport in Maine for this issue, so he had to do the research before winter shut things down along the waterfront in that part of the country. So, in early December, he joined the crew of a harvesting operation on the Damariscotta River with the goal of watching the professionals in action. To get to the oyster beds, he rode out in an open 24-footer on a frigid morning as the wind blew hard out of the north. Temperatures were so low the sole of the boat was covered in a sheet of ice and one of his cameras froze up. But Pim just kept bundled up and had a lot of fun with the assignment, eventually filing a story about a company that planted 1.8 million seedlings and sent 750,000 oysters to market (see page 48). If anything, the experience reinforced his admiration for Mainers.

Not every feature can be researched on location, particularly as Covid makes it challenging for our team to travel. Fortunately, the best writers don’t have to get on planes to deliver good stories. Senior Editor Gary Reich proves that in his piece on the 100th anniversary of the Beetle Cat (page 42). Gary couldn’t travel to the Massachusetts yard where these classic wooden sailing dinghies are built, but even so, his writing allows you to smell the sawdust and varnish. And his telephone interviews with owners and principals at the company enabled him to craft a piece that explains why this 12-foot design has become a cult classic.

Associate Editor Carly Sisson does a nice job of remote reporting for her story on a 37-foot C108 by Aspen Power Catamarans (page 36). After connecting with company founder Larry Graf, she learned about the many places he’s traveled aboard his own boat designs, and how those experiences enabled him to create the C108, which is for owners who want to have big adventures on the water.

Good writing is a large part of an interesting story, but it’s not everything. The layout plays a big role, too. Soundings is fortunate to have Art Director Bri Smith creating the visuals. Bri understands how to use photos and typography to build a mood, and because she’s a boater, she has a true appreciation for the natural beauty found at sea.

When she’s not working on layouts, Bri also helps to produce podcasts for our series “Talkin’ Boats With Soundings.” If you haven’t listened to our pods yet, download a few for your next boat ride from Spotify or iTunes. If anything, the pods are one more way to enjoy a good story about boats.

Jeanne Craig



A Love Story

They had only just met when they took a chance and rode out the pandemic together on a boat. Now, 8,000 nautical miles later, they are having the time of their lives.