Reflections — WoodenBoat’s 40th Annivesary

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.

Love, Carl



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So, Eggemoggin Reach Regatta Is Over For Another Year…… Informal Race Report

and I can’t find ANY photographs.  Then again, I’m not a facebooker.

This year, the wind was light but strengthening at the start.  And, protective of DEVA’s new rebuild and fabulous paint job, I was hesitant to jump into the fray at the pin end.  As a consequence, we had a poor start.  My fault.  Bad bad bad.

And, despite my prediction last week, WHITEHAWK was there… but did not race. (What’s up with THAT?)

DEVA plus 97 others did start, and I suspect most finished.  To me, it’s the collegial atmosphere and pagentry that make this race like no other.  Yes, we did cross tacks with a couple of blowhards, but that’s fine.

Our crack crew:  Aaron Porter, Kate Holden, Margaret Macleod, Ellery Brown, and Michael Start.  I was harrangued for not providing uniforms, per usual.

At some point during the first leg — maybe 10 minutes after the start — we all realized that we were getting very cold, sailing in our shorts.  I’m not sure anyone remembered to bring long pants.  But the rain held off.

Wind increasing to perhaps 10-12 knots, we sped down the first leg, pointing high and footing well, helped in great measure by Doug Pope‘s new sails on her.  Alas, my lousy start doomed us.  We probably cleared the first mark — Egg Rock — with 25% of the fleet in front of us.   Margaret at the helm started to catch us up…..

With Aaron at the helm after Egg Rock, we reduced our deficit a bit.  This sounds like a loser talking (writing):  The one consolation of a lousy start in the first class is that you get to see some really incredible boats passing.  SPARTAN, VELA, BLACK WATCH were just freight-training past us.  We tugged our forelocks in appreciation.

Aaron made some canny decisions at the helm, and we rounded Halibut Rock in fairisih shape, gaining.  Ellery then  took the tiller and we wung-and-wung (winged?) our way down the downward leg, with a nice breeze abaft us.  No spinnaker, but we didn’t lose too much ground.

At some point, “we boys” were accused of being like 5th graders:  “Oh, look at _______.  Isn’t she amazing?  Designed by ___ , built by ____  in xxxx, and restored by _____.  She’s my favorite!”

Ellery stepped on the pedal as we neared the finish line, and we roared comfortably through, beating our self-proclaimed rival almost 10 minutes, elapsed.

And, maybe this is my favorite of each and every ERR:  Shooting through the fleet at the end of the day, gasping and proclaiming as we passed each anchored competitors  And, in some cases, their lavish support boats.

So, my favorite this year?  As much as I love the drop-dead beauty of TICONDEROGA, SPARTAN, et al (and there are SO many in this category), my favorite is always DYON and the Smiths.  Almost 100 years in the same family.  Simple.  Fabulous.

My Small Gem award (for boats under 30′) goes to Walter and Karen Wales’ lovely LUCY.

How does it get better than that?

In good ERR fashion, the results haven’t been posted yet.  But you’ll be able to see them when they do:  (Thursday update:  They are now posted.  Yay, LUCY — 1st in class!)

I suspect we finished in the middle of the fleet.  Again, that’s no one’s fault but mine.  But that’s OK — Next year is fast approaching.  And I can handle defeat with the best of them.  Because that’s not what this regatta is all about.  Thank you so much, Steve, Taylor, Lucia, and all the great people who work together to produce this fantastic event.

Someone please add photos?

Thanks, and I’d love to learn/read others’ comments.





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