David Roper

Dave Roper is a regular columnist for Points East. Next to sailing, telling and writing stories is Dave’s favorite pastime.  His most recent book, Watching for Mermaids was a three-time Boston Globe bestseller www.watchingformermaids.net. His writing has been published in eighteen languages.  Dave has been a yacht delivery skipper, captain of a 135’ Mississippi River stern wheel cruise ship, and life-long cruiser along the coast of Maine aboard his 31’ Independence sloop, Elsa Marie.  Dave is the founder of A-Script, a career advisory and resume writing firm in Marblehead, MA.  davidroper00@gmail.com

Plan B involved a ’67 Johnson

May 20, 2019 at 12:00 am

Last month, in the library of my town of Marblehead, Massachusetts, my friend and neighbor put on a world-class exhibition. Not of books, art or music. But of antique outboard motors – 20 of them. It was an exhibit of the first 50 years of outboards. These antiques were carefullyRead More

Conversations in the cabin

April 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

There’s always been something special about conversations in the cabin. Maybe it’s the feeling of having “made harbor,” perhaps after a long day at sea, the anchor dug in nicely, the stinging spray and wind now gone from our faces. Somehow, fears and trepidations get extinguished in the calm ofRead More

A love story and a ghost story

March 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

For three years, Barry was my crew chief aboard a 135’ Mississippi sternwheeler I used to captain on the Upper Mississippi. But he was more than that. He was an incorrigible practical joker and a daredevil. He rode his 1000cc motorcycle at insane speeds, pulling the occasional wheelie. He madeRead More

A first look at knots

January 28, 2019 at 12:00 am

The following is a sneak peak at David’s forthcoming book, “Beyond Mermaids: Life’s Tangles, Knots, and Bends,” content that will likely appear as the preface of the book. It’s tempting to draw out the world you want from a picture. A lot of what we remember is fiction. Maybe. Here,Read More

Finding a true harbor

November 19, 2018 at 12:00 am

If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Statesman, 50 AD Years ago, I wrote about embarking on a process of understanding which is the right boat for each of us, and doing that based on a kind ofRead More

Unintended consequences

September 24, 2018 at 12:00 am

In my late 20s, I somehow bit off more than I could chew, talking the owners of an emerging excursion boat business into implementing my grand plans for its expansion. I modeled this expansion on another business I worked for: the 10th largest excursion boat company in the country. WhyRead More

The Bumblebee was wrong

August 27, 2018 at 12:00 am

Those of you who read last month’s column know I saved the life of a bumblebee and that, as he was headed to shore, he buzzed me. Not that kind of buzz. More of an informational kind of buzz. You see, my engine had been broken, losing high rpm, forRead More

First-world problems and a bumblebee

July 30, 2018 at 12:00 am

I’ve always liked bumblebees, but that Sunday morning my mind was elsewhere when I spied one on deck, upside down and caught under the jib sheet. I wasn’t in a compassionate mood, as my broken engine diagnostic process was reaching the end of the line and yielding nothing. My departureRead More

Following your hero’s wake

June 25, 2018 at 12:00 am

When my dad gave “Sea Gypsy” back to me, he wrote on the inside cover page: “The Bible as Translated for David Roper.” It’s true, I did want to follow in the author’s wake. Even as a teenager, Peter Tangvald’s sailing vagabond lifestyle appealed to me greatly. In the 1960sRead More

When you come to a fork in the river, take it!

May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

Once upon a time, 35 years ago, I lived in a houseboat under a bridge on the Upper Mississippi River, where I happened to captain a 135-foot sternwheel cruise ship. Having grown up on the ocean, I’d always thought of the Mississippi as some legendary Mark Twain world I wouldRead More