Preview: The Influence of a Place and Many People

Imagine me as a kid, growing up in a household where my dad was building skiffs and skipjacks in the backyard. Behind our suburban Bethesda Maryland house, various boats in frame lurked under old canvas, and a Sears bandsaw sat on the patio keeping company with stacks of wood. Tools were scattered about. Models and marine books were always at hand in the house. I remember that Chapelle’s merican Small Sailing Craft and Boatbuilding

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4 Responses So Far to “The Influence of a Place and Many People

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    Robert Yaro says:

    Thanks so much for this evocative story, which brings back my own memories of growing up in boatyards and falling in love with wooden boats. I had a similar experience spending summers in the 1950s and ‘60s on Peconic Bay and hanging around and later working in the boatyards in Greenport. The boats in those days were predominately wooden, and one boat in particular —a lovely sloop, named Mumsey— caught my attention. I learned that Mumsey’s original name was Pleasure, and that she was the the last boat that Nat Herreshoff built for his own use in 1924. When I was in graduate school my wife and I bought and restored her and returned her original name. Like many other wooden boat owners in those early wooden boat revival days, we put every spare nickel into keeping Pleasure going for the following 25 years. We sailed on her with our young family from Long Island Sound to Cape Ann for a quarter-century. Our son, Tucker, caught the wooden boat bug, and ended up working for Walt at the Mystic Seaport Shipyard —closing the circle!! He now has his own boat building shop in Madison, CT. And Pleasure is spending her retirement years at the Herreshoff Marine Museum.

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    Ray from Keyport NJ says:

    I grew up by Jamaica Bay in NYC by JFK Airport. We hardly knew what a sailboat was when I was a boy, but on a visit to Mystic Seaport while a boy scout I saw the beautiful sailboats coming under the Mystic River Bascule Bridge. The sight changed my life, although I didn’t get a chance to get on a sailboat until I took a ride with an 80-year old Wianno Senior champion sailor in Nantucket Sound when I was in my 30s. I learned to sail on the Bass River in Yarmouth Cape Cod and I haven’t looked back since. Some day I might even finally sail in my boyhood waters on Jamaica Bay.

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    William Boulden says:

    It’s possible to hear the love of wooden vessels in your words. Thank you!

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    William Boulden says:

    I did not fall it love with sailboats until my thirties when a friend invited my wife and I aboard their 27 footer for a day sail. Within a week I had a little Hobie and then within 3 years I had gone through 5 small boats trying to find that one that was “just right”. Then I realized that I would probably have to build it to get what I wanted and when I started looking into that, my real love started. I have been fascinated with wooden sailboats ever since and even though I live in a land locked place, Such designs as Quietune and Eel stir my dreams and make me pray for more time and resources to live out a child like fascination. Thank you, I live vicariously through your words a life that I did not really have.