It’s the people who make Points East a success

The author, doing what he does best on a boat – staying out of way. Photo by Bernie Wideman

August 2022

By John Gold

I wish I could say I had a role in the genesis of Points East. But that honor goes to Sandy Marsters and Bernie Wideman, who cooked up the idea across their desks at the former “Journal Tribune,” a daily newspaper in Biddeford, Maine, 25-plus years ago. My part of this grand adventure has been largely behind the curtain (or under the hatch, perhaps?), designing and producing the magazine every month (or every other month in the cold season), maintaining the website and providing tech support when possible.

It’s been a labor of love, one I truly enjoy and look forward to each month.

I am very much a fair-weather boater. My wife Sue and I once owned a small daysailer on which we taught ourselves to sail using the most difficult method possible, which resulted in an insurance claim. Eventually, though, we got the hang of it and enjoyed several years on the water. But then the boat spent several years as a lawn decoration. So, we sold her and now enjoy occasional canoeing, kayaking, and the occasional ride in someone else’s boat, our favorite craft.

But, even with my limited exposure, I find myself treasuring each issue of the magazine for the personal stories told by our writers, stories that transcend the specifics of the industry and speak to the hopes, dreams and disappointments of people who just happen to enjoy being on the water.

Points East has, from the beginning, strived to be about people. We chronicle the adventures, successes and mishaps of boaters who range from beginners to accomplished oceangoing adventurers with thousands of nautical miles under their belts. The stories are inspiring, funny, touching and, on occasion, cringeworthy.

We aren’t fancy (we take a lot of pride in that), and I suspect you may not find many copies of the magazine carefully laid out on well-appointed coffee tables in the region. But, you will find them aboard boats ranging from beautifully crafted 60-foot yachts to more humble and practical daysailers, pocket cruisers and powerboats. You’ll also find them in just about every marine-related retail establishment from Eastport, Maine, to the Long Island Sound, as well as in restaurants, general stores, and yacht clubs – any place where people who enjoy the water gather.

We don’t review equipment and boats. We don’t pretend to offer much in the way of practical advice or nautical training – at least in a formal fashion. That said, you will get lots of good information from our writers as you follow their stories. Regular contributor Randy Randall’s advice on PFDs (wear them!) has rubbed off on me, and now I always don mine whenever I’m on the water. Frequent writer Tim Plouff has imparted much information about trailer boating as he explores the islands of Maine in his SeaRay. Writer Mike Martel always has an interesting tale to tell, whether it’s a delivery with issues or a classic boat project that’s left him knee-deep in rotted wood.

Perhaps the closest we come to specifically useful information would be our current food columnist Jean Kerr who manages to combine interesting and detailed background on different seafoods with a monthly recipe that is both simple to create and delicious to eat. I have cooked several of her creations and can attest that they work as well in my terra firma kitchen as they would in a floating galley.

These are only a few that come immediately to mind. There are hundreds of other writers who have broadened the nautical knowledge of our readership by sharing a bit of their lives with a great deal of openness, honesty, humor and humility.

Equally enjoyable is the far-flung team that comes together to put this publication on the shelf and in your hands. Publisher Joe Burke who provides a steady hand on the tiller guiding us, our ad reps Lynn Whitney, David Stewart, and Peter Partridge, who raise the funds necessary to make this project happen, and our editors, first Sandy, then Nim Marsh, Bob Muggleston and now Ali Wisch Fabre who manage to find, edit and encourage the writers who entertain and educate us. We also wouldn’t be here without the sharp eyes of Bernie Wideman and Marcia Murphy, who proof the magazine before it’s printed, and our dedicated delivery team of Christopher Morse, Peter Kiene-Gaultieri, Jeff Redston, and Mike Wisotzkey, who travel throughout New England getting the magazine into the more than 700 distribution locations.

In short, it’s the people we celebrate here at Points East. Because in the end, it really isn’t so much about the boats, the equipment, or even the specific ports that readers care about. It’s about the opportunity to meet your fellow boaters in a common space where we can all share a good story.

John Gold is the Art Director for Points East magazine. He started in 1998 at the invitation of Sandy Marsters and Bernie Wideman and is grateful for the opportunity to take part in the grand adventure.