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
The author's son, Nicky

Rot in the bullshead

March 16, 2020 at 12:00 am

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 Maine, and they came inRead More

Beaufort and the blowhards

Beaufort and the blowhards

January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

As with fish tales and fishermen, we boaters have a tendency to exaggerate regarding the size of the wind. And why not? After all, there’s nothing so boring as an average statistic. Exaggerating wind speed, especially if you’ve been out in it on the water, makes one more of aRead More

Shutterstock photoÒOut on a line boat, itÕs like youÕre in purgatory. The other world, the one you come from, you sometimes just ache for it.Ó Ð Big Red

Saltwater sores and all

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

Romance: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. I was in my mid-20s. A hopeless romantic. Alongside me sometimes stood a mailman or a UPS driver, sometimes both, by the pavilion on the right bank of the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota. Silent besideRead More

Photo courtesy everythingmermaid.comThe story of mermaids goes back to AD 100, when Roman gods took pity on a beautiful priestess named Atargatis.

‘Beyond Mermaids’

September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

In ancient Roman times, Atargatis was a beautiful and powerful priestess who fell in love with a human shepherd boy. He, simply being mortal, did not survive her divine lovemaking and died. She became pregnant with his baby and soon became distraught and remorseful. After the birth of a babyRead More

A beacon of sound and support (in the fog)

A beacon of sound and support (in the fog)

August 26, 2019 at 12:00 am

What often happens in Maine did: fog. How thick was it? Suffice to say, one year we could only electronically determine that we had “made harbor” each night. Even then, we were only half certain we were “in harbor” at all. Rarely did we see the shore. Rarely did weRead More

Photo courtesy David RoperPhyllis, the 28-footer David's parents owned when he was a kid. This recent photo of her shows sheÕs still alive . . . barely.

The boat who wouldn’t go away

July 29, 2019 at 12:00 am

I’m writing this the day after receiving an email with this picture and a note that said her owner just couldn’t keep her up; that it was so sad to see such a beautiful yacht decline; that he was considering giving her away if anyone would take her. “If anyoneRead More

Heartfelt issues: Straining under load

Heartfelt issues: Straining under load

June 21, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Last summer I wrote a column about First-World problems and a bumblebee. Well, really it was about an engine that would struggle under load, making a sound not unlike a person choking to death. I dared not throttle up when that happened; hence, I ran most of the summer underRead More

Photo by David RoperWho goes to antique outboard motor exhibits? Lots of men over 50, in part because of the memories these machines evoke.

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

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

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