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Your Turn: Guest Posts

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Rat Island Rowing - restoring racing history one shell at a time.

Before there were 80 channels of sports, rowing was a major event in Washington State. When the Huskies beat Cal, 2nd Avenue erupted with paper confetti. And when the UW crew wrested the Olympic gold medal from Hitler’s iron fist, Seattle was hoisted atop the shoulders of the entire free world.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution and building on classic yacht regattas held in 1914 and 2000, the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (KNS) and the Norwegian Classic Yacht Club (KTK) organized Europe Week 2014 which concluded earlier this week. 81 magnificent boats from all over Europe took part: 14 in racing classes, 67 in cruising classes.

A couple years ago while reading WoodenBoat Relaunchings section I noticed a Thompson Runabout that had been beautifully restored. The restorer was Ron Fortucci from Easton MD. Back in 1972 I was stationed with a Ron Fortucci on the CGcutter Vigilant in New Bedford. We were drinking buddies as well as shipmates but due to transfers lost track of each other. When researching websites about boat building his name appeared on the CBMM website as a volunteer in the youth boat building program. I sent a email inquiry that got no response.

I have to confess that I'm a Woodenboat Show Stalker. After having attended many of the shows as a visitor, my wife asked “Why don’t you enter Redwing in the show next summer?” The year was 1995 and the show was in Southwest Harbor. I and the boat reside on Cape Cod. Since I can’t trailer her, that left sailing her there. My buddy Pete who was to accompany me had to back out five days before shoving off, so that meant a solo voyage.


Aside from what I learned at the TRYC sailing program and sailing at camp in New England as a youngster, I’ve learned that there is simply an indescribable degree of spiritual peace and the ultimate respect for nature that can be reached while sailing any vessel, large or small.

What a fabulous time we had in Brooklin a couple of weeks ago! Two visitors from Adelaide, South Australia, blew in un-announced to several of the wooden boat builders and received the warmest of welcomes from every one. Brooklin Boatyard, Brion Rieff, Doug Hylan, and Eric Dow allowed us full rein to talk, sketch, and paint on-the-spot. Rosemary in the WoodenBoat magazine office and Rich Hilsinger in the WoodenBoat School were also generous with their time. Thank you to every one of you. You made a special visit even better. Vee and Denis Noble

Mother was an adventurer, at heart a Gypsy. Before our Father returned from the war (WWII) she and her best friend made a plan to go sailing in Maine. Living in New Jersey at the time Maine was a good choice. Elsie (Mom) Kidwell, on the left (picture) and her friend “Wenty” (Ruth Wentworth) decided to board passage on the Schooner James A.Webster (picture), with Captain Eaton at the helm. As I read the back of certain pictures they covered some beautiful ports; Camden, Stonington Harbor, Little Deer Isle and Belfast Harbor.

After relocating our catboat from Connecticut last year, we set a goal to get enough completed to make a respectable showing for a “project boat” at the 2013 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show. We started by “manhandling” the boat from blocks and stands to the trailer. I forgot what a chore this was!

My wife pitched in, and plugged, epoxied, and varnished the topsides. This turned out to be the most attractive aspect of the boat. Here is Valiant ready to go.

Booking my room late for the Port Townsend show put me into the Sportsman Lodge in Port Angeles. Actually, a quaint little mom and pop motor lodge. Other than the distance from the show, it suited me perfectly. As I'm sure you readers do as well, any stop to a new town makes a trip to the waterfront a necessity.

It was my beloved (wooden) Jet 14 hull #217 c. 1958 CHARCOAL that stood (I should say- floated) between me, my aforesaid 14-footer, and an adorable 5 footer named Sheryl. I sold the boat to balance my checkbook sufficiently to purchase an engagement ring, which I presented to my crew as she feigned slumber on a sagging couch in the Trophy Room at Red Bank, N.J.’s Monmouth Boat Club. There is hope for all you owners of aging wooden boats.


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