Preview: Murray Peterson’s Designs: The PORPOISE Story, Part One

March 6, 2023

Avatar Maynard Bray

All of Murray Peterson’s designs are special as are the essays about them that his son Bill composes to honor his dad’s work. This one about PORPOISE is extra special for me because I own the boat. Getting her sailing again has been a long haul that began over a decade ago, back when OffsCenterHarbor was in its infancy. We produced a video as well as a guidepost of Patrick Dole and John O’Donovan re-framing her. They went on to take care of the deck, and along the way, PORPOISE was worked over some by the WoodenBoat School students under Eric Blake’s guidance. Then my grandson David Kelly installed new ceiling. The boat still needs finishing, but with the latest batch of great work by Eric Dow, launching day is close at hand. As you can judge from the drawings and photos, PORPOISE is a little jewel that I feel was well worth restoring. She embodies the simple beauty that we at OCH so deeply believe in. MB

Listen and you will learn

by William M. Peterson

Dolphins “porpoising” with the bow wave of a Murray Peterson schooner off the coast of California

I, like some sailors, have confused porpoises with dolphins while at sea. It is difficult for me to discern the differences in size, body, and nose shape if they are not breaking the water’s surface. Although their leap and die is called “porpoising”, it is common to both species even though dolphins are larger. They are both in the same Cetacean family as whales which also breach, but with less fluidity and grace. The motions of both porpoises and dolphins off the bow wave of a boat mesmerize and remind me of how much I could still learn about these sentinels of the sea.

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