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Letters to the Editor—Issue 153

By The Editors

The essence of rowing

Amy Wilton’s photographs of Megunticook Rowing in the May/June issue of MBH&H certainly captured the essence of the sport. Amy was able to show what all rowers know: that rowing takes an amazing amount of hard work, determination, and comradeship. Kudos to Amy for all that she is doing for rowing.

Ned Gruener

Camden, ME

Keep up the good work

It took me forever to get through the March/April issue! Okay, it was a double edition; nonetheless it was the variety that kept me reading. Usually, non-boater that I am, some articles are glanced at. Not this time—each page turn revealed yet another intriguing piece that demanded my full attention.  

Lunenburg, boat naming, women in the industry, On The Town Dock, Rob McCall—so much great writing. And as for the cover, I’m with reader Notsip—Mr. Cole’s cranky comment notwithstanding. Good on you for moving beyond the standard “old salt” imagery favored by some less-real publications.

Now to start on the May edition!

Mary Ellen Mackin

Reading, MA & Rockport, ME

Not a fan of that cover

I have been a subscriber for several years. I love seeing the traditional boats and architecture. What I did not love in your March/ April issue was the cover picture of the woman with very non-traditional body piercings and tattoos. She may be a wonderful person and skilled boatbuilder but her image is not your image. Where is the design consistency?

Gordon McDonnell

(via email)

Jon boat jumble

At the outset, I would like to say that I love your magazine!

A few observations about Roger Moody’s article “The Humble Jon Boat” in the May/June issue: Any marine product, including their line of Jon boats, manufactured by (the original) Grumman Boats was always well designed and well constructed. I speak from experience as my family marine business was one of the largest dealers for Grumman Boats in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

But I will take friendly issue with some of Mr. Moody’s thoughts about Jon boats in general. Stable? Well, maybe some of the larger Jon boats were, but smaller ones (including the example pictured in the article) had a tendency to “slide” sideways if the load got too close to the gunwales, or if someone stood up and got the boat a bit off balance. This often also resulted in the boat rolling over. A conventional round (or V-bottom) hull continued to have stability even if the load was not evenly distributed.

And ease of rowing, especially with a moderate to heavy load in the boat? I don’t think so. A rowboat with a V-bow was much easier to row, especially in moderate or heavier waves.

Large cargo capacity? More a function of size, beam (especially bottom width), and length. Flat fishing platform? Yes, especially the larger (say 18' LOA and over). Require minimal maintenance? No question, but this is true of virtually all aluminum boats, regardless of configuration. Handsome? Well maybe, but always in the eye of the beholder.

Wally Day

Retired after 39 years as a marine dealer

Plattsburgh, NY

Oh that name game

Polly Saltonstall’s “Playing the Boat Name Game” in the Boats of the Year 2018 section of the March/April issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors triggered my memory of what a task it can be to arrive at THE name for your new boat. In 1983 I contracted with Ricky Scarborough, Sr., owner of Scarborough Boat Works in Wanchese, NC, to build an express-style sportfisherman for me that would be used by our family and friends primary for sportfishing in the Gulf Stream off Oregon Inlet, NC. 

Near the end of the construction, our family began the struggle to find and choose the final name of the boat.  Money and time can solve almost any problem with a boat. Money falls by the wayside and time is the watchword in boat naming. A copy of the actual list of names in contention is attached. All names were related to the primary use of the boat. We settled on Wild Card.

When we sold the boat, the new owner named her June Bug. What a letdown for us.

John Wetlaufer, Sr.

Mechanicsville, VA


We took the liberty of  transcribing as much of Mr. Wetlaufer’s handwritten list as possible. The names included: Prowler, Goof Off, Ruckus, Marlinspike, Angler, Two Js, Wildcat, Roamer, My-T-Fine, Hunker Down, Scuttlebutt, Scamper, Lady J, Lady Jane, Seeker, Carolina Angler, Challenger, Centennial, Marlin Express, Gulf Stream Express, Jubilee, Southern Star, Marlin Seeker, Stalker, and Marlin Stalker. —The editors

Feline labels

In the 1980s I bought a catboat-rigged ketch. I wanted to name her something related to her rigging, and a friend told me that the Japanese word for cat was Neko (I think), but added that cats did not like water. Then I read T.S. Eliot’s book about cats (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). Among the many names that he listed for cats was Quaxo, and that’s the name I gave my boat.

Keith Magnus

Chevy Chase, MD

Story idea

I read your article on Derecktor Robinhood in the March/April issue, and think you should also do an article on the former owner Andy Vavolotis.

His interest in boats started as a young boy in Taunton, Massachusetts, where I grew up next door. Andy started Cape Dory Co. in a one-car garage, built thousands of boats, and bought Robinhood Marine while still building boats in Taunton. We are friends to this day and I recently bought a boat from him. I think his life story should be told!

Dick Eldridge

(via email) 

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