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Letters to the Editor 140

Commemorating Maine

The 1957 commemorative stamp “The Virginia of Sagadahock,” mentioned in Peter Spectre’s column in the January/ February 2016 issue of MBH&H, was the result of Maine U.S. Senator Frederick G. Payne’s interest in having a Maine commemorative issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Far fewer commemorative stamps were issued annually then than today—this was before the era of cartoon and rock star stamps. 

I was the intern on Senator Payne’s Washington staff assigned in 1955 to find a suitable subject for a Maine stamp with a fixed date. I found that 1956 was the 150th anniversary of the death of General Henry Knox of Thomaston—hardly a significant event.

When I consulted the Library of Congress I was told of the construction of the Virginia in 1607. The event was researched, and a stamp was designed and issued in 1957. Senator Payne’s remarks on the occasion were entered in the Congressional Record. 

I believe that a first day of issue
ceremony was held in Bath, Maine, in the spring of 1957. I was not present, having left the Senator’s staff for active duty in the U.S. Army.

Reginald Bowden

Orono, ME

Praise for the Peapod

The cover of your latest issue gave me goosebumps. In the late 1970s, my father bought a Steele peapod. Ours was the Chevy version, white with a green strake. Its pretty design was lovely enough at the mooring, but it came into its own in action. Long sculling oars provided leverage to cut across any water with speed and grace.

I used to frequent Islesboro’s late lamented Island Pub in those days, where my brother often played music. At the end of the evening, the way home was an hour’s row back to the island cabin. It was simply magical to be alone in that small and seaworthy craft under the dome of wheeling stars. The oarlocks’ soft creaking drew curious harbor seals to the boat, perceptible only through their chuffing breath.

All those hours logged were an invaluable start to a successful racing career as a single sculler a few years later. I’m retired from racing now, but your article inspires me to launch the peapod once again to explore Penobscot Bay.

Thank you for recognizing the tiny but significant craft that also make up our waterways.

    Diana Post

    700 Acre Island, Islesboro, ME

Where’s the backstay?

The photo of Bob Ives sailing his sloop got my attention (“Sea Shepherd,” MBH&H March/April). Not for what’s in the picture, but rather what’s not. He doesn’t look particularly worried, but he should be. After all, you took out the backstay! Hey, we’re sailors. You can’t fool us… and what’s so wrong with a backstay? Please keep your photos trustworthy.

On a more complimentary note, both my wife and I enjoyed your article on the joys of a peapod. That could have been written about us. We, too, have found a peapod to be the ultimate tender for the last 20 years. While no peapod lover will deny the attributes of a Jim Steele boat, we have a Doug Hylan-designed Beach Pea. She rows and tows like a dream and is considerably lighter and easier to maintain. Worthy of consideration.

Keep up the good work.

Art Hall

Belfast, ME


The Editor replies: You are correct about that backstay. We didn’t like the wires coming out of the Rev. Ives’s head, but should have left the image alone. Lesson learned.

Love those Luders

As a contemporary of Art Paine’s, may I suggest he apply a bit more of his heft on the halyards (My Boat, My Harbor, MBH&H March/April)? Other than that, great story about the Luders class and great pictures of one of the finest designs of our time.

Nick Fast

Hilton Head Island, SC 

Congrats on a great issue

Just a note to let you know that I think you have done an absolutely tremendous job with the publication of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors. I’ve especially enjoyed the last two issues, including the excellent article by Laurie Schreiber on the very interesting history of the O’Hara Corporation. 

The March/April issue is the best ever, with the “Boats of the Year 2016” section, as well as some good stories of years past, such as the one by Ben Emory about his beloved Jimmy Steele peapod, the wonderful one about Charlie Gomes and Royal Tern, Ken Textor’s article, Peter Spectre’s column about the pogy boats, Bobby Ives, etc.

It’s a wonderful blend of what’s going on now together with stories of the past. Keep up the good work.

Bill Page

Cushing, ME             

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