Building and restoring classic wooden sail, row and power boats with the
finest boat building materials and craftsmanship.
At seven or eight years old, I liked going out in front of a little Johnson outboard motor in a low sided lake fishing boat.
Nine years old, crossing the Atlantic from New York in the "Liberté" to step from a platform into a lighter in a gale of wind 6 miles off Plymouth, England. Then the "Durban Castle" (Royal Mail Ship) from Southampton with stops in Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa, Port Said, Port Suez, Port Sudan, Aden, Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar, and finally Dar es Salaam where we lived for four years. In all these ports all manner of boats were present and active. Tugboats, fishing boats, yachts, launches, motoring, rowing, sailing, sculling; I watched them all and loved every minute of it. Going in a boat, launch, ferry, or ship was great; but just watching them go, maneuvering around a dock, working through the channel currents, every oar stroke and reversed rudder reflected the ability of the boat and the boatman.
The Dhows still sailed into "Dar". Passenger ships, freighters and naval vessels all hung on the moorings off the beach just across the road from our house. The dhows went on the hard up the creek on the far end of the harbor. The British colonial personnel had their yacht club a few hundred feet along the front toward the harbor mouth with a wide variety of cruising and racing boats in a modest fleet. In our last years on Anzania front, I did 7th grade at home with the Calvert system and my deal was, when I finished my I was free to go. Deep water docks had been built deep in the harbor. I was often on the docks watching the ships. Then there was the main boat dock opposite the Post Office with the water taxies, oar and motor, and the tugboats. Many happy hours I spent, a junior member of Ernest K. Gann's "International Dock Committee."
Back in the States we lived in Rhode Island for my high school years. There in the home of the Herreshoffs, the America's cup races were big events in the 50's and 60's, with "Columbia", "Easterner" and "Weatherly", classic 12 meter boats vying to defend the cup. There I had my first real sailing experiences, sailing a Beetle cat around Potowumut Neck into East Greenwich Bay, sailing a Super Sailfish up and down the West Passage and racing in the bay alone in a neighbor's little dinghy; learning to sail with main, jib and spinnaker. Ten years later, I was living inland but regularly visiting Marblehead, looking at the boats, watching the influx of new designs in fiberglass. When a couple of friends bought plans for a wooden boat and said that they were going to build it. I was living in the woods. I had been working with some sawyers;milling lumber and doing carpentry. Boats like the boat in that plan were the boats that I had grown up watching. To build boats, wooden boats, so people could enjoy them as I had, watching them and going in them, that seemed a good idea to me. It still does.