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
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

David Roper and his father. Photo courtesy David Roper

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

Photo by David BuckmanA boat at anchor in The Cows Yard off Head Harbor Island, Maine.

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

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