People and personalities

Dinghy drift social hour, in which pvc pipe has been creatively used to deliver both cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. New friends are easy to make in the liveaboard life. Photo courtesy Mike Camarata

There are some truly amazing people out there on the water. We at Points East feel blessed to have met such a wide group of diverse, helpful, funny, and, on occasion, catankerous folk that make up the New England marine community.


A visit with Dodge Morgan

A visit with Dodge Morgan

September 2021 By Homer Shannon It was the morning of July 14, 1999. Three boats from the American Yacht Club in Newburyport, Mass.; Carpe Diem, Overtime and Cinderella, were anchored way up in Quahog Bay. Homer and Dee Shannon from Cinderella had just returned from
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His world is our oyster

His world is our oyster

One day I’m retired and idle: the next, I’m an oyster farmer. How did I go from eyeballs-deep in a couch to total immersion in raising Eastern oysters? Well, hang onto your hat!
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Adopting a kinder, gentler approach

Adopting a kinder, gentler approach

August 2021 By Jack Farrell Five days after it happened, I’m still smarting over an unfortunate conversation on Channel 16 with a local lobster boat. The captain was apparently unhappy with my course, and made a rude, and let’s just say unprofessional comment about it.
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An American dream

An American dream

From suit and tie to overalls: Man emigrates to America to make fortune in automobile industry, then, at age 40, leaves fast-track to build and restore classic boats. Sounds like a novel.
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A prince of a man and the captain of Boston Harbor

A prince of a man and the captain of Boston Harbor

Larry Cannon, a prince of a man and the captain of Boston Harbor, is sorely missed.
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Gift from a stranger

Gift from a stranger

July 2021 By Jack Farrell One day last week I was called up to the front porch of the Oceanic Hotel to greet some visitors. Everett Hall and his son-in-law from nearby Cedar Island were there to talk about their float docks. Since Star Island
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Dudley and sailing evermore

Dudley and sailing evermore

From an early age, the author was drawn to the mystical act of propelling a sailing vessel by harnessing the wind; and his wife, Dudley, also felt the magic. But it wasn’t all “tailwinds and flat seas.”
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Spreading my mom’s ashes: A promise kept

Spreading my mom’s ashes: A promise kept

May, 2021 By Joel Gleason For Points East Toward the end of 2012, my mother’s health began to seriously decline. The timing of it was a bit of a surprise. We’d just witnessed her successful struggle to come back from knee surgery two years earlier,
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Saoirse was 40 feet of rusting vessel destined for the scrap heap. Now she’s home sweet home

Saoirse was 40 feet of rusting vessel destined for the scrap heap. Now she’s home sweet home

One person’s candidate for the junk pile can be another’s gem. And thus it was that a beloved, but deteriorating, steel sailboat became a treasure for a couple in search of a new floating abode.
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The Down-Under Cup

The Down-Under Cup

March/April 2021 By Peter Winter Warning: Violent and gratuitous allegory ahead New Zealand sent several artillery batteries to help out during the Vietnam War. Some culturally insensitive brute at the Pentagon decided that since New Zealand looked pretty close to Australia on a map, they
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Virtual voyage? Anchors aweigh

Virtual voyage? Anchors aweigh

Midwinter 2021 By David Roper There are good ships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, And may they always be. -Irish Proverb You could easily say that the pre-COVID-19 photo on the following page
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A day on the Harraseeket River

A day on the Harraseeket River

By James Rudolph “I used to clean this stuff off the bottom of boats. There’s not an inch of this that isn’t alive. There’s worms, eels, crabs. It would get in my beard and I could just feel it moving.On an overcast and unseasonably warm
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The mayor of the marina is gone

The mayor of the marina is gone

By Randy Randall Some people you meet in this life leave a lasting impression. I suppose the grizzled waterfront character is a stereotype, and people coming to the marina or boatyard are not surprised when they run into such a bard roaming the docks. These
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Boating beyond your prime

When my wife Marcia and I were boat hunting a few years back, we encountered a flotilla of men and women in their 70s and 80s who were hanging up their dock lines because of bum knees or bad balance or failing vision – not
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A new boat for Diana

A new boat for Diana

I promised I’d buy a bigger boat, with a standing-headroom cabin, if she survived a summer cruising on my J/24. She not only endured, she thrived. The ball was in my court. Big time!
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The liveaboard life

The liveaboard life

By Mike Camarata For Points East I am a full-time liveaboard. I am also a snowbird. I have been called plenty of other names, but we’ll stick with those two for now. A liveaboard is a person who owns a boat and – wait for
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A fairy tale for grownups

A fairy tale for grownups

By David Roper For Points East Once upon a time there was a man who felt that his life was a canvas painted in various shades of gray. His job lacked challenge, his friends were dull, and his girl didn’t cast her eyes down and
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My first big deal

My first big deal

There are two kinds of salesmen. There is the lonely, bespectacled, data-driven geek with the mathematical model that demonstrates the inevitable causal relationship between the promotional dollars invested and the widgets sold. Then there’s the Irishman. The Irishman can walk into a room of strangers
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Snapshot of a small Maine business

Snapshot of a small Maine business

In total, Ray Trombley has spent 30 years making his living on the Maine coast. His career has taken him from digging clams to selling them wholesale at the establishment he owns – Casco Bay Shellfish in Brunswick, Maine.
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Sailing way into the past

Sailing way into the past

“We’re getting to be antiques,” I whispered to Elsa, as I collapsed into the cockpit after dropping the old Herreshoff anchor 50 yards off a nearly abandoned fisherman’s wharf. It was the end of a brisk fall solo sail, a late cruise, as I was
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Caveat venditor – let the seller beware

Caveat venditor – let the seller beware

Over the years, I’ve sold lots of stuff on the internet. Everything from Swedish cars to antique rototillers and, for the most part, the transactions have been fairly straightforward. Goodbye baby bike trailer – don’t let the door hit you on the way out –
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Captain Bumblebee to the rescue

Captain Bumblebee to the rescue

By Ralph B. Pears My hapless cruising companion of many years, affectionately known as “Captain Bumblebee” because of his fondness for a yellow and black rugby shirt, was someone who was always prepared to lend a helping hand. You could always depend on him to
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Life’s a beach . . . or is it?

Life’s a beach . . . or is it?

By David Roper In these times of COVID-19, statistics show that many people are virtually escaping to paradise via YouTube. If you Google “Sail to Paradise,” you’ll get 40,300,000 hits. As of today, there are 1,300,000,000 YouTube videos out there, movies from every imaginable category.
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My own sailing legacy

My own sailing legacy

I married this man because, well, sailing was part of his fabric, and I was determined it would be part of mine, too. Little did I know then that I also had a magic boating key to pass on to my family.
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Privateer end game

Privateer end game

By Capt. Michael L. Martel For Points East I peer through the chain-link fence, fingers grasping the rusty wire, feeling like I’m on the outside of a detention center. The gate is locked. Inside is a sad collection of old and derelict boats. Some of
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A shipyard burned, a treasure lost

A shipyard burned, a treasure lost

A fire destroyed George W. Zachorne Jr. & Sons Boatbuilders, in Wickford, R.I., but more was ruined than structure, boats, tools and precious artifacts. A way of life was snuffed out, too.
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The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose

Guest Perspective By Randy Randall For Points East Snow Goose was a Marblehead cruiser designed by Eldridge-McGinnis and built in the late ’50s at Marblehead Boatyard on the Biddeford side of the Saco River in Maine. My dad owned the boat for over 20 years,
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A fortuitous meeting

A fortuitous meeting

Guest Perspective By Dave Tew For Points East In 1975 I was a senior in college, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. At the time, the Western Electric Corp. offered a program in which they evaluated and sponsored soon-to-be-graduating college
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Where there’s a will . . .

Where there’s a will . . .

Wickford, Rhode Island, has always had more interesting characters than I can shake a stick at. Plenty of interesting stories abound there, as well. Not too long ago there was a distinguished older gentleman who was very active in community affairs, politics, and the yacht
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Cruising with Diana, Part II

Cruising with Diana, Part II

On their first short cruises as a couple (see “Cruising with Diana, Part 1,” December 2019), it was two boat-lengths forward/one back for Mark and Diana as they set courses – often divergent – to perceived common grounds on which they might sail constructively, as
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Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

The last big weekend of the year promised a full house at the Oceanic Hotel. A two-day island wedding extravaganza was also on the schedule.
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Our first boat: Lessons Learned

Our first boat: Lessons Learned

After we sold Gannet, our 30-foot 1969 Pearson Coaster, last spring, we reflected fondly on the 24 years we owned her, during which she taught us how to cruise the coast of Maine.
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Finding Minnie

Finding Minnie

By Pam Humbert For Points East It’s been almost 30 years since my mom called to talk about their big move, and the fate of one of the family’s small sailboats. “There’s some interest from Barry down the road for the Minifish,” she said. Her
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A view from the top (of the bridge)

A view from the top (of the bridge)

As experienced boaters know, there is much more to an outing than packing a picnic basket, picking out a destination, and heading out into the wide blue yonder. A good captain should have a lot on his or her mind: One must consider the weather,
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After the boys (and girls) of summer have gone

After the boys (and girls) of summer have gone

The title of this piece is obviously a riff on the signature line from Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer,” a song that doesn’t get too much airplay anymore, but that all these years later (it was originally released in 1984) still affects me when
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My ‘mermaids’ are real

My ‘mermaids’ are real

Throughout human history, tales have been spun about marine creatures with torsos of women and lower bodies of fish. Called “mermaids,” they traditionally are associated with shipwrecks and rescues at sea, and their positive image has been portrayed in books, paintings, music, and movies for
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Lessons learned from a lame duck

Lessons learned from a lame duck

By Christopher Birch For Points East Not every marina has a duck house, but, lucky for me, mine does. I’m thinking now of a certain duck that once lived there. She had a bad starboard wing and a bad port leg. When she walked, she
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The marine hardware guy next door

The marine hardware guy next door

One of the many compelling things about the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport, which this year took place June 28-30, is the number of interesting personalities you encounter while walking around there. The boats are beautiful, of course, but the men and women who build
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The freedom to be Warren River Boatworks

The freedom to be Warren River Boatworks

By Capt. Michael L. Martel For Points East Paul Dennis loves boats. He especially loves sailboats, and one type in particular, with which he’s had a long-standing affair. The humble and soft-spoken man has no qualms admitting it – he loves the often-unconvential-looking sailboats built
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Ladies, does this sound familiar?

Ladies, does this sound familiar?

Guest perspective/Capt. Laura Tecce Surely, many long-suffering spouses have heard this: “No one talk to me while I’m docking.” (But, if you can’t talk to him, how are you supposed to know what he’s doing or where he’s going?) Or how about this: “Throw the
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Heartfelt issues: Straining under load

Heartfelt issues: Straining under load

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
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Optimism, Catboat Bob, and Mrs. Crabby

Optimism, Catboat Bob, and Mrs. Crabby

By Jack Farrell Points East We’re five miles out of Portsmouth on an early summer freight run to Star Island. The fine bow of my Royall Lowell-designed Utopia slices through the two-foot chop with grace and power. Ten feet back at the helm, bits of
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Pixie dust and promises

Pixie dust and promises

I conjured memories of Dad, Uncle Al and the sailboats that followed in their wakes, and saw their unmistakable influences sprinkled like magical powder on my past, present and future. And I recalled my vows to them.
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Capt. Bumblebee and the stadium blanket

Guest perspective/Ralph Pears Over the course of 30 years, during which time I frequently sailed in company with the ill-fated Capt. Bumblebee, so-named by my children because of his fondness for a yellow and black rugby shirt, he was always ready to come to the
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Farewell, Capt. Lou

Farewell, Capt. Lou

Although I’ve written many stories for Points East and other boating publications, the Capt. Lou series has generated, by far, the most interest. Readers have gone out of their way to contact me about them. If they knew Lou personally, or of him, they’d say,
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The misadventures of Capt. Bumblebee

Guest perspective/Ralph Pears Whenever sailors get together and have a few drinks, their talk invariably turns to the adventures they’ve had aboard boats. Sometimes these stories involve dangerous conditions and overcoming difficult situations. Other times they focus on the reminiscences of beautiful journeys, or the
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The young guns of the Mayflower II

The young guns of the Mayflower II

It’s always neat when what you assume about a given situation is wrong, but in a way that leaves you hopeful about the current state of things. Take last fall, for example, when I checked in on the progress being made on the Mayflower II,
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The advantage of being petite

The advantage of being petite

Guest perspective/Marilyn Pond Brigham I’ve always considered myself fortunate to be small. That is, as a short person, I’ve always felt – contrary to the tongue-in-cheek sentiments of that famous song from the ’70s – like I’ve had many great reasons to live! Have there
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The day President Bush stopped at Marston’s Marina

The day President Bush stopped at Marston’s Marina

With the recent passing of our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush, I’m reminded of the time he visited our little marina aboard one of his boats. This happened back in the ’90s, but my memory of the event is vivid even today.
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Black Flags, Blue Waters

Black Flags, Blue Waters

An interview of the author of “Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates” by Eric Jay Dolin, Liveright Publishing Corp., W.W. Norton & Co., 416 pages, hardcover: $29.95.
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A (fishy) gem hidden in plain sight

A (fishy) gem hidden in plain sight

Guest perspective/Capt. Mike Martel and Capt. Don Ringwood A few years ago, on our way home on a Sunday morning from an annual Christmas party in New Hampshire, my wife Denise and I decided to take the “scenic route” home to Rhode Island, down Route
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Six simple machines

Six simple machines

The tools we use today all descend from a few common origins.
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What ever happened to Roger? – Part II

What ever happened to Roger? – Part II

Guest Perspective: Roger LongAs related in the first part of this story , I fell in love with cruising narrow waterways and a woman with a delicate stomach.
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What ever happened to Roger Long?

What ever happened to Roger Long?

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
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How I met E.B. White

How I met E.B. White

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,
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True class in the J Class

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
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The secret life of a bridge tender

The secret life of a bridge tender

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.
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Thank you, cruising friends

Thank you, cruising friends

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
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‘It’s Thursday.’ ‘Me, too; let’s get a drink’

Guest perspective/Lauren E. Storck In the U.S. alone, there are 50 million of us with some hearing loss or deafness. That’s one in five people of all ages, on average. If you are so challenged, these three thoughts are important: 1. No shame is warranted
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Where is Tasmania?

Where is Tasmania?

Guest perspective/Randy Randall The marina business in winter is not much fun. The river’s frozen over, the snow-covered docks look like giant loaves of white bread, and the mooring balls are gripped fast in the ice. It’s all very depressing, and spring seems a long
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Meet Rockland’s new harbormaster

Hank Garfield “This is one of the busiest and most eclectic harbors in Maine,” the man himself declares. On a rare warm day in early May, Matt Ripley, the new Rockland harbormaster, stands outside his office looking out at a placid and mostly empty piece
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Live aboard? Why not?

Live aboard? Why not?

The timing was right for the semi-retired couple and although there have been some challenges, they wouldn't have it any other way.
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No better friend than Capt. Lou

No better friend than Capt. Lou

Greg Coppa Capt. Lou’s loyalty to friends in Wickford, R.I., and beyond, is renowned. Some time ago, his longtime and eccentric buddy, G.I. Joe, passed away. G.I. Joe – who was never called “Joe” but always “G.I. Joe” by the Captain – lived and died
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Riding the wave

Riding the wave

Capt. Dave Marciano, with his 38-foot Hard Merchandise out of Gloucester, Mass., is a highliner on National Geographic Channel's "Wicked Tuna," but family, not fishing, is what makes it all work.
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Blanche DuBois (circa 1985)

Of all the 1,100-plus lakes in New Hampshire, including Lake Winnipesaukee (which is actually more like a mini inland-sea) none is more entrancing than Lake Sunapee. It is 11 miles long. And it recently boasted the world’s largest Star-class fleet of racing sailboats.
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Back on the land

Back on the land

After five years of roaming the seas, the Martin family has found a spot of land on which to live, at least for now.
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