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The Whiskey Plank

We have asked some of our WoodenBoat magazine contributors to write custom posts here, in a series of blogposts. You may comment (if you’re a member of — It’s free and easy). We are pleased to share these with you. If you want to contribute your own original posts, we ask that you do so at “Your Turn,” not here. The views expressed are those of the authors and may not necessarily reflect those of WoodenBoat.

The whiskey plank, traditionally, is the last plank fastened into the hull. The occasion is typically marked by a party to celebrate.

by Reuel Parker

T’IEN HOU in her early “Lorcha” persona, anchored off
New Bight, Cat Island

I first sailed to the Bahamas in early 1981, in my cutter FISHERS HORNPIPE. I had sailed the HORNPIPE from California, through the Panama Canal, arriving in Key West in late 1980. Since the Bahamas were pretty much on the way to anyplace north, I decided to make a quick perusal of them. I didn’t expect much, after the Pacific Coast, Central America and the Western Caribbean—I figured the Bahamas were just too close to the USA to have any good, unspoiled cruising. I was very wrong!

By Reuel Parker

In cruising, sometimes something good comes out of something bad. On Friday the 13th of April 2012, I was sailing homeward bound in my sharpie schooner IBIS. I had three close friends on board, and we were enjoying the unparalleled beauty of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. We had been anchored for the night off the crescent beach at the southwest end of Hawksbill Cay, a place I have visited many times. I have known for years that there are ruins of a colonial plantation on Hawksbill, and I have always wanted to explore them. Exploring ruins is a lifelong passion of mine.

by Reuel Parker

No, they are not a myth—Reuel’s Angels really do exist!

by Reuel Parker

For many millennia, sailboat masts have been made from trees. Trees are an obvious choice, as they are essentially ready-made masts, as if designed and grown for that purpose, which indeed they are, right down to the correct taper. Dry them out, strip the bark off, seal the wood, lash on hardware and rigging and off you go!

by Reuel Parker

MINOCQUA under sail.
The Roslyn Yawl MINOCQUA under sail in the 1890s—note the “balance jib”
(photo courtesy of Gordon E. Hurley, Jr.)

Learning Sailing Terms

by Reuel Parker

I spent the majority of my childhood in Bay Shore, on the south shore of Long Island. My father had died in 1950, when I was four years old, and my mother didn’t remarry until 1958. During the intervening eight years, two very kind local men endeavored to fill the roll of father figure and mentor.

by Reuel Parker

A common question people ask me is why masts are raked, and why, in many instances, they are raked differently. In ocean-sailing three-masted Chinese Junks, for example, the main mast is often nearly vertical, but the fore and mizzen masts rake strongly away from the main.

by Chris Caswell

Staging a classic and vintage boatshow (or a classic car show or a vintage aircraft fly-in) is a major project, but combining all three—boats, cars and planes—into one event is monumentally more complicated. The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, has pulled this off for 18 years and the 18th Annual Vintage Weekend drew the largest and, arguably, the most eclectic group of vehicles yet.

by Reuel B. Parker

Wooden boats have souls. No, I’m not getting metaphysical on you, necessarily. But think about it: Wooden boats are made from organic, living trees, by hand, each one unique. Each piece of wood is, to me, a minor miracle of life on earth—beautiful, strong, flexible, unique, alive.


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