Boats and boating

Our rational minds know a boat is made of wood, fiberglass, steel and aluminum, but deep down we believe they have hearts and souls. We love them when they carry us safely through foul weather and we look back fondly on the vessels that played a major role in our lives and the lives of our families.


A very close call

A very close call

May 2021 By Dave Paling Growing up in a coastal town, I was exposed early to boats and experiences on the ocean. I grew to love time spent on the water thanks to my father, a navy veteran whose DNA drove him to pursue fishing
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The refit imperative

The refit imperative

For mariners, the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination,” is not the whole story. Complex drudgery may be needed before a season can even start– and sometimes you just have to laugh.
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We are the lucky ones

We are the lucky ones

May 2021 By Jack Farrell I stayed out of the dark and frozen boatshed during the coldest days of the winter except to grab some firewood piled under the sailboat before the snow fell. But during the unseasonably warm weather in late March I had
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Pumpouts suck: The dark art of emptying the holding tank

Pumpouts suck: The dark art of emptying the holding tank

May, 2021 By Randy Randall For Points East The boys hate pumpouts. They say it’s a disgusting, smelly job, and only good for tips. They groan when someone calls in on the radio asking for one. But it’s a service we have to provide. Based
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RAS – Reluctant Acceptance Syndrome

RAS – Reluctant Acceptance Syndrome

March/April 2021 By Bob Muggleston One aspect of getting older, I’ve noticed, is the tendency to downplay or dismiss things that have been touted as “new and improved.” Especially when the thing being “improved” has been just fine for years, possibly even decades. Take the
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Saoirse was 40 feet of rusting vessel destined for the scrap heap. Now she’s home sweet home

Saoirse was 40 feet of rusting vessel destined for the scrap heap. Now she’s home sweet home

One person’s candidate for the junk pile can be another’s gem. And thus it was that a beloved, but deteriorating, steel sailboat became a treasure for a couple in search of a new floating abode.
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The Fix-It button

The Fix-It button

The perfect boat will be the one that takes care of itself.
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Having “the (dock) talk” with my doctor

Having “the (dock) talk” with my doctor

Spring and the boating season was fast arriving. It was time for "The Talk." Yeah, THAT talk.
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The in-between season

The in-between season

March/April 2021 By Jack Farrell At the end of a long flight home from a week’s visit with the grandchildren out west on the last night of February, it was immediately evident that winter was losing its hold on our coast. The landing lights switched
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Etchells cruising

Etchells cruising

March/April 2021 By Molly Mulhern Over the last 13 years I have always had a sailboat in the water. Then along came last spring, in which I found myself not only boatless, but dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Given the mass disruptions that were taking
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The seven-year itch

The seven-year itch

March/April 2021 By Pam Humbert We were smitten when she first came into sight from the launch. It was a Pearson 30, the make of boat that had reached the very top of our short list after three years of pouring over advertisements, research and
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Capable hands

Capable hands

March/April 2021 By Paul Brown In the late 1980s I was relatively new to sailing, and had recently purchased a 1968 Thunderbird 26 I named Brownscow. Brownscow’s design was the result of a contest offered by a West Coast plywood company in 1958, and –
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Safety chains save the day

Safety chains save the day

Midwinter 2021 By Randy Randall Whoa! Watch out! Bump . . . smash . . . bang. And there it sat. The 18-foot fiberglass boat was leaning over on one chine right dead center on the launch ramp about 40 feet from the water. No
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Taking stock of the fleet

Taking stock of the fleet

Midwinter 2021 By Jack Farrell I’ve owned and been the steward of many boats over the course of my 65 years. I know as well as most that all boats need a little care, and that some need quite a lot of it. Boats also
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Restoring the family Thistle

Restoring the family Thistle

Midwinter 2021 By Susan Olcott The boat sat in my grandparents’ basement in St. Louis under a water leak for 30 years. Today, it bobs up and down on my mooring in Casco Bay, Maine. Its white transom bears the original name, Hardalee, as well
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Horizon job

Horizon job

Midwinter 2021 By Christopher Birch In my daydream, I’m at the helm of a perfectly restored J-class yacht from yesteryear. Familiar faces dot the crew. Ted Turner is on the topping lift, and Dennis Conner is down below making sandwiches. It’s the final leg, and
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If one is going to sink . . .

If one is going to sink . . .

A 21-year-long relationship meets a soggy, although predictable, ending
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Stalking the crew of S/V Delos

Stalking the crew of S/V Delos

By Christopher Birch For Points East In the first 35 years of running my boat repair business, I installed exactly zero convection cooktops. Then one Monday morning two years ago, these ranges were suddenly all the rage. Three customers called me before I had drained
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Tiny boats and huge yachts

Tiny boats and huge yachts

  As soon as you set foot on a big yacht you belong to someone, not to yourself, and you die of boredom. -Coco Chanel   By David Roper For Points East Magazine Tiny boats and huge yachts. The allure is almost always there, despite
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New ride for an old boat

New ride for an old boat

By Tim Plouff Without a doubt, trailer-boating has proven to be a fast and efficient way for my wife and me to move up and down the coast of Maine, thus exploring the countless islands and various points of interest so close to shore. All
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A reunion with Aloft, and scanning for sharks

A reunion with Aloft, and scanning for sharks

By Jack Farrell I’m sitting in the deep cockpit of our sailboat Aloft on a mooring off Peaks Island, Maine, in the shadow of the landing craft Lionel Plante that plays such a big role in construction at the Isles of Shoals. I’m fortunate to
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Pocket school ships

Pocket school ships

New England sailors, coaches and instructors share their thoughts about the boat designs, makes, models, rigs and sizes that have proven best for teaching all ages and abilities to work the wind.
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Launch-day hijinks, and savoring the moments

Launch-day hijinks, and savoring the moments

It was another early-morning island supply run in mid-summer. Utopia slipped easily through the glassy swells for the seven-mile trip to the Isles of Shoals in the company of numerous grey seals and a single minke whale. The fish finder emitted a constant stream of
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It’s small-boat adventure time

It’s small-boat adventure time

Over the years, as the owner of two full-displacement keelboats, I’ve often fantasized about going smaller. Don’t get me wrong: Big boats are fun, but sometimes, with all their inherent expenses and hassles, it just seems like there’s got to be a better way. The
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A boy, a boat and a dream

By Jim McGuire For Points East As a child with a wagon, I played boat in the puddles in the schoolyard across the street from our house in the Lippitt Hill section of Providence. I also used the wagon to go around my neighborhood collecting
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Caveat venditor – let the seller beware

Caveat venditor – let the seller beware

Over the years, I’ve sold lots of stuff on the internet. Everything from Swedish cars to antique rototillers and, for the most part, the transactions have been fairly straightforward. Goodbye baby bike trailer – don’t let the door hit you on the way out –
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Going to great lengths for next to nothing

Going to great lengths for next to nothing

By David Buckman In a lifetime of sailing there were no cruises richer in beauty, drama and intimacy than those we launched in the 1970s, when cash flow was tight, and we set out to discover the New England and Fundy coasts aboard an old
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Lessons learned from the airline industry

Lessons learned from the airline industry

After nearly 40 years of flying I have a serious side, and approached boating with an eye toward safety and situational awareness.
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Moby Dick? She’s alive and well

Moby Dick? She’s alive and well

By Bob Muggleston For Points East Here’s a scenario I’ve thought about quite a bit lately: The year is 1939, and you’re aboard a boat tooling around Block Island Sound. Fog has rolled in, making visibility difficult. Horns sound. Suddenly, to starboard, something emerges from
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Rebuilding a Tinkerbelle sister ship

Rebuilding a Tinkerbelle sister ship

By Roger Crawford For Points East In the late summer of 2019, I received a call from a gentleman named Steve who asked if I’d be interested in restoring a small wooden sailboat. Steve had wanted a project for himself, and after some searching found
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Of boats and beauty

Of boats and beauty

By David Buckman For Points East There are few expressions of man’s genius more beautiful or enduring than a boat, and few endeavors more satisfying than boating. Anyone who’s drifted across the quiet waters of a lake, fetched along the coast, or crossed an ocean,
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Privateer end game

Privateer end game

By Capt. Michael L. Martel For Points East I peer through the chain-link fence, fingers grasping the rusty wire, feeling like I’m on the outside of a detention center. The gate is locked. Inside is a sad collection of old and derelict boats. Some of
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Careful what you wish for

By Jack Farrell For Points East I’ve come to realize lately that I have a personality that is prone to obsession. While that may sound at first like a confession delivered in the first meeting of a 12-step program, I don’t think it’s necessarily a
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The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose

Guest Perspective By Randy Randall For Points East Snow Goose was a Marblehead cruiser designed by Eldridge-McGinnis and built in the late ’50s at Marblehead Boatyard on the Biddeford side of the Saco River in Maine. My dad owned the boat for over 20 years,
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Rot in the bullshead

Rot in the bullshead

By David Roper For Points East Editor’s note: Dave Roper is on vacation, so we’re cutting him a little slack this month. Here is one of our favorite columns of his, which ran in April, 2013. They owned a small inn on the coast of
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A fortuitous meeting

A fortuitous meeting

Guest Perspective By Dave Tew For Points East In 1975 I was a senior in college, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. At the time, the Western Electric Corp. offered a program in which they evaluated and sponsored soon-to-be-graduating college
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To each his own

To each his own

This summer a commercial airline pilot friend of mine, Travis, spent a lot of time researching sailboats. He did so because: 1) He’s interested in upgrading his current platform, a MacGregor 24 trailer sailer he inherited from his father-in-law; and 2) he’s vaguely interested in
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Where there’s a will . . .

Where there’s a will . . .

Wickford, Rhode Island, has always had more interesting characters than I can shake a stick at. Plenty of interesting stories abound there, as well. Not too long ago there was a distinguished older gentleman who was very active in community affairs, politics, and the yacht
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Our first boat: Lessons Learned

Our first boat: Lessons Learned

After we sold Gannet, our 30-foot 1969 Pearson Coaster, last spring, we reflected fondly on the 24 years we owned her, during which she taught us how to cruise the coast of Maine.
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A late-season delivery

A late-season delivery

Guest Perspective: Capt. Michael L. Martel I awoke in the darkness with a start, disoriented, only to eventually realize that I was still in my bunk, fully dressed and wrapped in my blanket against the cold. Even though the last two days had seen the
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Well done, Carl!

Well done, Carl!

  Frequent readers of this magazine know I bought my “big” boat, a 1966 Pearson Commander, four years ago for $750. They also know, thanks to this space, that most of the sailing I do is here in Essex Harbor on the Connecticut River, where
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Finding Minnie

Finding Minnie

By Pam Humbert For Points East It’s been almost 30 years since my mom called to talk about their big move, and the fate of one of the family’s small sailboats. “There’s some interest from Barry down the road for the Minifish,” she said. Her
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East vs. West: It’s all about the boats

East vs. West: It’s all about the boats

The sign hanging over the front counter of the Islander Grocery at Lummi Island in Puget Sound reads “Keep Lummi Weird.” Nearly three thousand miles from my familiar islands back home in Maine and New Hampshire, this sign captures the essence of a common island
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La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

And it was a sweet life indeed aboard the 41-foot Concordia yawl Dolce, on a delivery from Boston to the Newport Boat Brokerage Show to be sold. No one bought her, but that isn’t my story.
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Edison’s other bright idea

Edison’s other bright idea

In 1879, electricity innovator Thomas Edison baked cotton strands and bamboo splinters at high temperatures in order to carbonize them into a filament that could resist extreme temperatures. Can you say “carbon fiber?”
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Ainsley’s excellent project (of mine)

Ainsley’s excellent project (of mine)

This is a follow-up and reality check to my mid-winter 2019 column, “Ainsley’s Excellent Project,” about the prospects of rebuilding my daughter’s 1960-something, Town Class sloop, which was intended to be a “we” enterprise, but for a number of perfectly good reasons, turned out more
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Sharpen the chisels, oil the tools

Sharpen the chisels, oil the tools

Editor’s note: Friend and frequent contributor Capt. Mike Martel is at it again: He’s tackling another old wooden boat. This after Privateer (a 40’ gaff-rigged auxiliary yawl built in 1930 in Maine, to a John Alden design), the boat he’d spent seven years restoring, suffered
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The privilege of owning a Herreshoff classic

The privilege of owning a Herreshoff classic

By Ben Emory For Points East In August of 2014, just as dark fell, the Fish-class sloop Perch, on her trailer, was dropped off at Brooklin Boat Yard on Maine’s Eggemoggin Reach. I’d purchased the Nathanael Herreshoff-designed boat sight-unseen, based on a YachtWorld.com ad and
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Ladies, does this sound familiar?

Ladies, does this sound familiar?

Guest perspective/Capt. Laura Tecce Surely, many long-suffering spouses have heard this: “No one talk to me while I’m docking.” (But, if you can’t talk to him, how are you supposed to know what he’s doing or where he’s going?) Or how about this: “Throw the
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Beers and boats

Beers and boats

How did these two disparate entities become so gloriously entwined? Well, it’s kind of a long story that spans the centuries, and Martha weaves the tale, strand by strand, into the around-the-buoys era.
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Nature calling? Use your head

Nature calling? Use your head

This means managing your marine toilet properly, emptying discharge from it to a holding tank, not overboard. For years, in Maine waters, I didn’t, but now I see the error of my old ways.
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In search of clarity

In search of clarity

Our coasting adventures always seem to be in a certain state of flux as we fathom new ways of addressing the epic sweep of them, and meld into the tried and true. Touching on life’s largest themes and nature’s most powerful forces, it’s about seeking
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New life for an old jacket

Guest perspective/Mike Camarata I am 35 years old. My stitching is solid. My straps and handles are snug and strong. My zipper slides up and down as smooth as silk. My Coast Guard-required printing is very legible. My D-rings are bright and shiny. My belt
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Holy Cannoli! I like to sail

Holy Cannoli! I like to sail

Smitten by the Masefield “Sea Fever” romance of sailing vessels, but hesitant to embrace the recreation of moving small boats with the wind, Tricia espouses powerboating. Years later, epiphany.
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Handsome is as handsome does

Handsome is as handsome does

An interview with Mark Ellis, creator of the cat-rigged Nonsuch series of sailboats that strained sensibilities and changed the way we think about sensible cruising boat design.
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Restoring wooden blocks

Restoring wooden blocks

I approach this task as did my grandfather, who built boats for the Herreshoff yard in my hometown: Take your time, take no shortcuts, be thaorough piece by piece, clean, repair, then reassemble.
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Miles and memories under the keel

Miles and memories under the keel

I watched as the canoe was lashed to the truck. The new owner used a long length of heavy rope he threw over the upturned hull and pulled down and around the truck’s racks, knotted at various stages. This was repeated until the boat was
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The Hurricane, and what’s in a name

The Hurricane, and what’s in a name

Interior work on the old Hurricane is moving well in spite of lingering cold, snow and high winds along our coast. While fresh beaded plywood panels were being installed to dress up the bulkheads and interior cabin sides last week, the 60-plus-mph blow along the
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A lament for the boat left out

A lament for the boat left out

I’d found the boat of my (cheapskate) dreams, and a post-purchase inspection proved she was as good as advertised. The problem? She was on a mooring in another state and it was nearly January. Decisions, decisions . . .
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Moxie

Moxie

Guest perspective/Christopher Birch My adventures in yachting got off to a rich start. A “SAIL” magazine subscription card, with a questionnaire at the bottom, was my launch ramp. I checked the box indicating my net worth exceeded $10 million (I felt like $10 million just
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Curmudgeon seeks catboat for company and the occasional adventure

Curmudgeon seeks catboat for company and the occasional adventure

Guest Perspective/Peter M. Winter Because no one apart from me turns up on time these days I spend a lot of time waiting on my lonesome in bars looking at my phone while pretending to be someone with a lot of friends and an important
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The birth of a Mayflower II futtock

The birth of a Mayflower II futtock

Photos courtesy Mystic Seaport From left to right: The live oak after it arrived at Mystic Seaport, moving the 300 lb. futtock after it’s been rough cut, running the futtock through a giant planer , and placing the finished piece in its final location. Editor’s
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A tale of three Jonahs

A tale of three Jonahs

A trio of boats not ready to go to sea were “Jonahs,” like the hapless whale-dwelling prophet of the same name, and they brought bad luck and trouble to owners and delivery crews alike.
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The Upsizing Imperative

The Upsizing Imperative

Starting with a 14-foot derelict, a Long Island couple buys one larger boat after another to safely and sensibly accomplish the family’s sailing dreams, which evolve as the unit grows older and wiser.
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The advantage of “cruising small”

Last word/Gina Catalano I came to boating through my spouse, who’s long considered the sport a passion of his. What I’ve noticed over the years, however, is that while both of us look forward to the start of the boating season in Rhode Island, lately
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We built a kayak!

We built a kayak!

Guest perspective/Wendy Hinman After my husband and I sold our 31-foot, cold-molded wooden sailboat, I was eager to get out on the water as often as I could without having to beg for rides. With Eagle Harbor at the bottom of our street in Bainbridge,
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Ten things we’ve learned trailer boating

Ten things we’ve learned trailer boating

Guest perspective/Tim Plouff Forever seeking more adventures on Maine’s coastal slice of heaven, we often comment about all of the bobbing boats waving at us from their moorings whenever we slip out of one of our favorite launch harbors. If you have a mooring do
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Taking the ‘adventure’ out of anchoring

Taking the ‘adventure’ out of anchoring

Guest perspective/Michael Camarata Many boat owners leave their home marinas for a weekend or a summer cruise only to go to other marina docks or, perhaps, a mooring field. They never anchor. Maybe they’re afraid. Or nervous. Or perhaps it’s simply inexperience. There’s nothing wrong
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Breaking up is hard to do

Breaking up is hard to do

North America represents half the world’s boating market, yet Europe is the leader in recycling end-of-life (ELB) fiberglass boats. Late to the party, U.S. companies are finally developing their own disposal/reuse eco-schemes.
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A catboat named Ted

A catboat named Ted

Guest perspective/Phyllis Méras Eight decades ago, catboats were familiar sailing and fishing boats in Vineyard and Cape Cod waters. They were sturdy, roomy, gaff-rigged, with a single sail and a centerboard. They were considered the ideal first or second boat for young sailors. At the
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My dad’s skiff

My dad’s skiff

May 2018 By Lawrence Smith It looks like skiffs are making a comeback. The Maine-based website, Off Center Harbor, is running a video series that features bright-eyed youngsters engaged in the communal building of some fine 13-foot wooden skiffs. Plans for the homebuilder are advertised
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Early sailing lessons

Early sailing lessons

Guest perspective/Paul Brown I bought my first sailboat in 1987, when I was 52 years old. It was a Thunderbird 26 sloop, a pretty little one-design built for cruising and racing. One could sit on the un-enclosed marine toilet and touch all four berths, the
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An old boat gets a new waterline

An old boat gets a new waterline

Guest perspective/Hank Garfield We didn’t know what we were doing. All we knew was that the waterline on my Cape Dory 25, Planet Waves, was terribly wrong. You can see it in the photos: her stern is apparently thrust upward like a duck’s, making her
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His & Hers

His & Hers

Transitioning from a 22-foot sailboat to a Pearson 30 wasn’t as easy as we’d thought. The larger boat had copious stowage, but the “Venus/Mars” syndrome transpired – then morphed us into a team.
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A tale of nine dinghies

A tale of nine dinghies

Can you cruise without a dinghy? After a long, checkered history with nine of them – hard and inflatable – on five different boats, we now happily make coastal passages without one.
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‘Constant vigilance!’

‘Constant vigilance!’

Guest perspective/Ben Emory Navigating along the Maine coast has always been a welcome challenge of summertime, especially to the east of Schoodic. “. . . conditions change rapidly after passing bound east. There is more fog . . . The currents are stronger everywhere
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Why we make lists

Why we make lists

Guest perspectve/Marilyn Brigham I make lists – shopping lists, birthday lists, Christmas lists, to-do lists. They keep me organized and focused, and I enjoy a feeling of some accomplishment when the task has been completed and all the items have been crossed off. But, early-on
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Death of a dream

Death of a dream

Guest perspective/W.R. Cheney I used to see her on my way into town from our winter home at Lady’s Island, S.C. Factory Creek runs parallel to Route 21 – the Sea Island Parkway – for a short distance, just east of the bridge connecting downtown
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Thank you, cruising friends

Thank you, cruising friends

Guest perspective/Russ Roth Two years ago we made a decision to repower our sailboat, Skiya (see Points East, August 2015). This spring I needed to be repowered. Last June, Marty and I left our mooring in Portsmouth Harbor on our yearly migration to our mooring
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Arguments for a proper rowboat

Arguments for a proper rowboat

Guest perspective/Christopher Birch The longer I have been around boats, the more I have come to appreciate the small ones. When I was young, I dreamed of how grand it would be to have a massive sailing yacht of my very own. Now, some years
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‘Living large’ aboard a very small vessel

‘Living large’ aboard a very small vessel

By Bob Muggleston For Points East Last summer, in the crowded Connecticut anchorage where I kept my boat, there was one vessel that always caught my eye. It was a small catamaran with a rectangular cabin aboard it that had not one, but two, decks
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’Bird Dog

’Bird Dog

Guest perspective/Paul Brown The ’Bird: A Thunderbird 26 sloop is a so-called one-design “racer/cruiser.” In 1958, it was the winning design, by Seattle naval architect Ben Seaborn, in a plywood association’s contest for the best sailboat fashioned from marine plywood. The objective was a low-cost
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Of galvanizing and the village smithy

Of galvanizing and the village smithy

Guest perspective/Capt. Michael L. Martel Anyone restoring, or even replicating a traditional Maine-built craft, pleasure or working sail, knows that these vessels, when originally built, were not outfitted with Herreshoff bronze, generally. Instead, their fittings – from spar hardware to windlasses to chainplates – were
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Huntress turns 60

Huntress turns 60

It was love at first sight when, in 1983, the author laid eyes on the very first Hinckley Pilot 35 to come down the ways, and he bought her. Last summer, he celebrated her six decades of sailing.
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Let the genius shine

Guest perspective/Christoper Birch The best advice I ever gave my children was to drink their coffee black and their whiskey neat. I rest easy knowing how much time I have saved them from rustling around looking for things like cream and sugar and ice. If
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Live aboard? Why not?

Live aboard? Why not?

The timing was right for the semi-retired couple and although there have been some challenges, they wouldn't have it any other way.
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Cove Princess and a Cove prince

Cove Princess and a Cove prince

Capt. Bob Brown Ultimately, this is a story about a boat. But it has to start as a story about our marina – Cove Marina, in Salisbury, Mass. For 19 of our 20 years of boating, we have begun our journeys from Cove Marina and,
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Time and tide

On a recent sailing trip that involved passing through Woods Hole, we were again reminded of the important role that tides play in our boating activities.
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Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Ensign Hull No. 1337 has been in the author’s family for five decades, and five generations of Coppas have sailed her off the same Wickford, R.I., mooring since the late 1960s.
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Bumper: A workboat

Bumper: A workboat

Years ago, we decided to try pushing our docks around instead of poling them or pulling them with ropes. For that we needed a boat.
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She’s been my gal for 42 years

She’s been my gal for 42 years

September 2010 By Dodge Morgan My little schooner Eagle is not showing her age but is showing off her age. She is 84 years old and looks like new. Credit for her Bristol condition these years goes to Paul Bryant of Riverside Boat Yard in
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Cruising styles commensurate with age

Cruising styles commensurate with age

July 2010 By Dodge Morgan I spent my second longest continuous time on board a boat this past winter. It was seven months on the trawler Osprey, compared to my two and one-half years in the early ’60s cruising and sailing on the schooner Coaster.
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The Seagull outboard and its owners

The Seagull outboard and its owners

June 2010 By Dodge Morgan The British Seagull outboard motor appears to have been designed prior to the industrial revolution. Fifty years ago, it was a most simple and straightforward piece of machinery found on many dinghy transoms, but now it is a humorous curiosity
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Peeling back the layers: The Roper Boats

Peeling back the layers: The Roper Boats

December 2008 By David Roper On May 5, 1994, my now 92-year-old dad (aka, “Grampy” to Points East readers) self-published a book called “Roper Boats.” The book contained both pictures and narrative, done in his inimitable style, describing about 40 Roper boats owned either by
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Waste not, want not

Waste not, want not

April 2008 By David Roper Thousands, maybe millions, of seagulls, geese, cormorants, ducks and fish poop into the water all around me 24 hours a day when I go cruising. But my waste is human waste, which apparently is a special excrement and needs a
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The launch ramp follies

The launch ramp follies

Our friends are right — we should write a book. But not right now. We have too much stuff to do around our marinas and boatyards — like watching the circus at the docks.
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