Soundings January 2015

Soundings is the news and feature publication for recreational boaters. Award-winning coverage of the people, issues, events -- and the fun -- of recreational boating. Check out our generous boats-for-sale section and our gunkholing destinations.

United States
Active Interest Media
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12 Issues

in this issue

8 min
small wooden boats, big follies … or not

If Aristotle was right, there is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man. And if he had known sailors (and how could he not?) he must have observed that owners of wooden ships must have an especially large cerebral portion set aside for foolishness — because they are forever fiddling, sanding, painting and caulking. And when the yacht finally is shipshape, they quickly think of something else. Like building a wooden tender. It doesn’t get any more foolish than that. Or does it? “There is nothing like a sailing dinghy to make a man of [a boy],” observed L. Francis Herreshoff. “He will learn an appreciation of property and a sense of responsibility (for the dinghy is easily damaged). He will learn to be a good sportsman and…

2 min
a forgotten monument

The Jeannette Memorial of 1890 — determined by architectural conservation experts in 1994 and 2008 to be in poor condition — continues to present a forlorn, forgotten and generally miserable appearance in the Naval Academy cemetery, which dates from the 19th century. A white marble cross draped in formative “icicles” carved in high relief, it is heavily soiled and sorely in need of attention. Its original bronze memorial plaque was replaced in 1965 and cleaned and treated in 1994, and it is in readable condition. But a second bronze plaque, containing selected names of Navy men who perished in the 1881 Arctic expedition, is blackened and illegible. A long bronze cable in the shape of a hawser leads from an antique bronze anchor at the base of the cross, extending over…

4 min
the smart buyer

My husband, Darrell, and I are passionate boaters — and boat buyers — so people who know us sometimes wonder how we’ve made it through 25 years together. We’re diligent researchers and patient shoppers, so I thought I would pass along some of our experiences buying and selling boats over the years. Making a decision to buy or sell a boat can be amazingly stressful. People take sides. People get attached. I’ve seen two people look at the same boat on the same day and hear one say, “My life will end if we don’t buy this boat!” and the other say, “Your life will end if we do.” Darrell and I have been through a dozen boats together, and each one has had a particular set of characteristics that determined why…

14 min
new power products from fort lauderdale

Today’s engines and helm controls are designed to accomplish a common goal: make driving a powerboat easier than ever. The easy-boating theme was apparent at this fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. There has been an explosion of new non-pod-drive joystick helm control systems, including joysticks for inboards and outboards. Depending on the system, they work with or without thrusters. Some of these products allow you to retrofit a boat with a joystick system. Take, for instance, the Yacht Controller JCS — Joystick Control System — from Yacht Controller LLC. The Coral Gables, Florida, company debuted its Fusion wireless joystick at the show. It fuses all docking controls into a single-handed remote unit with a mini-joystick knob and buttons for low-speed operation using the inboards and bow and stern thrusters. It can…

5 min
grady-white 280 marlin

“We’ve got a little slice of paradise down here.” That’s how Brian Cunningham describes the boating around his Vero Beach, Florida, home. Fishing, cruising, running out to the islands — he and his wife, Karen, and their extended family do it all. “We like to fish,” says Cunningham, 56, who is originally from New Jersey. “We have three daughters and two grandkids. They love to get in the water, they love to go boating, and we do it as a family. We cruise on weekend getaways to the Miami or Daytona area. We do two weeks a year in the Bahamas and make a Miami-Keys trip once a year, too. And when we travel, we stay aboard — up to four of us. We use the boat the way it was…

4 min
big open boats take center stage

“I may be hopelessly wrong in my opinion, but I believe that the difference between riding out a storm and scurrying off for a strange harbor in the dead of night is just this: When you’re getting a drubbing off soundings the worst is yet to happen, but when you miss the entrance to a harbor and find yourself in the breakers your cup is full and running over.” — Alfred Loomis Welcome to the era of the outboard-powered dayboat. Although that may not be breaking news, the two new 40-plus-foot quad-outboard boats (yes, that means four 300-or 350-hp 4-strokes) introduced at the recent Fort Lauderdale show are signs of where things are headed. And there are more to come. This new generation of open boat appeals to folks who are stepping…