Guest Columnists

What ever happened to Roger Long?

January 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

Guest perspective/Roger Long A few Points East readers from the single-digit years of this century may remember accounts of cruising in my 32-foot Endeavour, Strider. I once had the honor of being on the masthead of this magazine as a contributor, but slipped quietly from that pinnacle of my literary fame and disappeared. What happened? I’m sure at least one of you is wondering. The mood so well described by Melville in the opening paragraphs of “Moby Dick” seized me in 2011. This and a desire to taste at least a token of my youthful dreams compelled me to sell my business and sail away. My plan was to live and travel on Strider until I got old enough forRead More

‘Constant vigilance!’

January 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

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 [Mount Desert Island] bound east. There is more fog . . . The currents are stronger everywhere . . . and there is more tide,” says “A Cruising Guide to the New England Coast.” I had this hammered home in 1974, before I had electronic navigation aids on a sailboat. We left Cutler on a windy, rough morning thick of fog, with a fair current pushing us rapidly to the westward out of Grand Manan Channel. We watched for the eastern cliffs of Cross Island, about five miles on ourRead More

How I met E.B. White

November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

Guest perspectve/Charles Sutton My roommate at Cornell University for two years, starting back in 1948, was Joel White (1930-1997), son of E. B. White, most famous for his books “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little,” humorous articles in “The New Yorker” magazine, and for his wife, Katharine White, the magazine’s senior fiction editor. At the end of our freshman year I was invited to visit their home in Brooklin, Maine, for a few days of sailing and just hanging out on the family farm. Joel and I had taken some lecture courses together, and I remember that, along with taking notes, he would design and draw an array of interesting sailboats in his notebook. So it was not surprising at theRead More

Why we make lists

November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

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 in our cruising, I’d drawn the line when it comes to boating – no lists, no to-dos. Boating is about relaxing and having fun, I decided: You can forget your cares and obligations, and isn’t that wonderful? Well, it’s more complicated than that. A boat is a big responsibility, whether a small craft or a cruising vessel. Leave the mooring line unsecured, a hatch open, the sails uncovered, or the engine batteries in the “on”Read More

True class in the J Class

September 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

Guest perspective/Greg Coppa Many years ago, I had the good fortune to receive a press pass to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, sponsored by the Herreshoff Marine Museum of Bristol, R.I. Inducted were a photographer (Morris Rosenfeld), a noted British yacht designer (George Watson) and a clutch of pretty good sailors from both sides of the Atlantic (Arthur Knapp, Jr., T.O.M. Sopwith and Henry Sears). The poised and polished master of ceremonies was Halsey Herreshoff, grandson of the legendary Capt. Nat Herreshoff. The tributes to the inductees were interesting and befitting; the anecdotes, humorous and memorable. And Mother Nature provided a perfect autumn day for the ceremony, conducted under a tent on the site of the HerreshoffRead More

A cup of Eggemoggin

September 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

Guest perspective/Bill Cheney We had just arrived at a Christmas party in Beaufort, S.C., when our hostess, a charming southern lady, asked me what I would like to drink. “I would love some Eggemoggin,” I said. I meant “eggnog,” of course, but that malapropism, or Freudian slip, or whatever it was, reveals a lot about my state of mind as I wile away the winter days here in the South Carolina Low Country. I seem to always be dreaming of my favorite places along the bony coast of Maine – the bays and sounds, the exquisite islands and enticing harbors that make up the finest cruising grounds in the world. When the onshore breeze is blowing, I like to saddleRead More

The secret life of a bridge tender

August 28, 2017 at 12:00 am

Guest perspective: Greg Jones I am a bridge tender. Some call bridge tenders America’s first line of defense, ever-vigilant monitors of the nation’s maritime lifeline. Some. Maybe. Maybe our mothers, who long ago despaired of us becoming doctors or lawyers. Others are, necessarily, less flattering. Mention the subject of bridge tenders, and every sailor within conversational range will have a contribution. While the subject isn’t quite as laden with opinions as, say, anchoring, everyone will have an anecdote or two to support their argument. Bridge tenders are a cursed necessity, some say. Others will opine that the job is a perfect example of a taxpayer-funded sinecure and that bridge tenders should get a real job. Still others candidly offer thatRead More

Tree swallow spectacular

August 28, 2017 at 12:00 am

Guest perspective: Sue Cornell There are some bucket-list experiences which, when ticked off, make it to the to-do-again-next-year list. The autumn tree-swallow spectacular on the Connecticut River is a perfect example. Not so long ago, only a few birders and locals knew about the phenomenon in which up to 400,000 swallows gather nightly and then plunge into the reeds (how folks didn’t happen to notice a few hundred thousand birds is beyond me). By word of mouth, while on an eagle watch, I heard about this swallow spectacular, but still wasn’t quite sold on this being a big deal. After all, it’s a lot easier to catch via Google images or YouTube videos. But since it was a perfect fallRead More

Death of a dream

July 24, 2017 at 12:00 am

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 Beaufort with Lady’s Island. There’s a popular anchorage in the creek for transient boats on their way down the Intracoastal Waterway, and among the visitors in recent years has been a growing number of abandoned boats. My favorite among these neglected beauties was a sturdy cutter, unmistakable as a Westsail 32, or one of her near sisters, the Dreadnaught 32. From the early beginnings of fiberglass boatbuilding, these hefty double-ended vessels have been iconic dreamRead More

Thank you, cruising friends

July 24, 2017 at 12:00 am

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 in Rockland, Maine. We had plans for a trip to the St. John River in July, and had two other boats lined up to do the trip with us. Also, Points East was expecting an article from me covering the trip. So Marty was more than a little surprised when, from the helm, I said, “I can’t do this.” We were off Portland on a damp, chilly day, with a wicked quartering sea, and myRead More