Congratulations to all the fine staff of WoodenBoat, those currently working there and those who have worked at the wonderful unparalleled magazine over the course of its 40-year history. And to all the great contributors, both as writers, photographers, and artists. And to the advertisers who have found their niches within the market that magazine reaches.
Most of all, congratulations to the readers who have propelled the magazine to the unending success it has enjoyed since its beginning lo those many years ago.
I’m just back from two weeks of almost unmitigated wooden boating, and I’ve had ample time to reflect on WoodenBoat, and what it has meant to me over those glorious 40 years.
In September 1974, when the first issue came out, I was just another struggling, broke wooden hippy yacht designer and boat builder, making ends sort of meet by working as a scutman at Wayfarer Marine, where I learned to push, pull, and lift. Trying to raise a family of one brand-new daughter and living in the bliss of Rockport, Maine. It wasn’t until WoodenBoat published its article on the Gougeon Brothers’ Golden Dazy (WB Issue No, 16) that the light went on in my head: Using their construction method (strip-planking, cold-molding, and epoxy, with no frames and only longitudonal stringers), it made so much sense that I had to build my own design — an IOR Mini-Tonner. Of course, I was going to ship her to Larochelle, win the Worlds, and be a fabulously successful yacht designer.
Equally of course, I ran out of money during the construction process, and never got to Larochelle. But here’s the wonder of it: Every 60 days, I received a new issue of WoodenBoat, and was able to dream anew.
I doubt that dream has ever escaped me. Every new issue transports me back in time, as it did in 1974. I can still close my eyes or take up a pencil and begin scribbling. We learn about new technologies we can use in the pursuit of these self-indulgences. We can stare into the wood stove in the winter… “What a cool boat so-and-so has designed/built that’s in the new issue. What would I do differently?”
At the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic in June at our other 40th anniversary celebration, I spoke of WoodenBoat as being my religion. That’s still the case. Maybe not with the same urgency as was true 40 years ago, but all the more abiding today. It is still something deeply ingrained in my soul, and inspirational throughout.
Please join me in raising a glass to celebrate these great people, this fabulous mission. It will never cease to inspire me, and you as well, I hope.
I can’t wait for the next 40 years of its publication.