Letters to the Editor — March/April 2023
Thanks for a great magazine
I have been meaning to write this letter for some time (and I’m assuming you already have received countless missives conveying the same sentiment), but I just want to put in writing what a magnificent job John Hanson and Polly Saltonstall have done over the past decades editing, organizing, and probably (at least initially) bankrolling Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors. I have managed to save almost every damn issue and am now looking at one from June of 2015 concentrating on the lakes of Maine. I spent every summer of my youth, from my ninth to my seventeenth birthday, attending the now defunct but much beloved Camp Kennebec on the shores of Salmon Lake (one of the Belgrades) and this caught those summers, as well as those useful skills we picked up like swimming, rowing, canoeing, sailing, fishing, and pitching a tent perfectly. Every issue, from John’s note at the front (in this one sailing a Blue Jay, no less, just like the one I sail on Bremen Long Island) to the lovable Boatyard Dog to the final back page photo(s), was a printed testament to the intelligence, clear thinking, and lucid writing. You put the competition to shame.
I was sorry, but not surprised to hear of John’s retirement; and I know I speak for an entire generation of Mainers wishing you both well and hoping that our paths will continue to cross. And I can assure you, from my own experience over the past two years, that retirement is not nearly as dull or predictable as you might assume.
From the forest to the sea
I read Ron Joseph’s article Winter Days in the Maine Woods in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue with rapt attention and great delight. He skillfully captures the natural qualities of our North Woods with detailed accounts of a winter visit to a remote cabin with a curious ermine, a bobcat on the hunt, and Canada lynx tracks in fresh snow.
By focusing on specific encounters with animals that require wildness, he powerfully conveys the significance of Maine’s vast forests of more than 10 million acres. As the president of the Forest Society of Maine, the land trust for the North Woods, I commend MBH&H for giving such significant coverage to inland parts of the state. We increasingly recognize that the Gulf of Maine, coastal lands and waters, and our forests, lakes, streams, and rivers form one connected ecosystem. On a warming planet, where keeping large forested areas intact is critical for purposes of carbon sequestration and biodiversity preservation, Ron Joseph’s article and others you have published help all of us appreciate the entirety of what Maine offers.
About those lobster pots
We subscribed based on your booth at the 2022 Annapolis Powerboat Show and our two-week cruise to Maine in September. Great magazine, beautiful photos, and wonderful articles.
Have there been any articles on how to avoid lobster pot buoys and what to do if our props (powerboat) get entangled? This was my greatest worry about boating in the area.
When I asked a slip neighbor in the Chesapeake Bay the same question, his reply was “Do you have a wetsuit?” Not very helpful. Your expertise will help.
Anyone have suggestions for Mr. Alvite? —The editors
IOD rock stars
I am the mother of Sofie Dowling, the young skipper pictured on the November/December issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors. Thank you for noticing this delightful and youthful crew of MDI sailors. Our whole community is very proud. It is astonishing to me that Sofie is one of the first female skippers to win a Northeast Harbor Fleet series and compete in the position of skipper in the IOD North American Invitational or the IOD Worlds.
You mention the fathers of several crew members being involved with maritime work, but there is no mention of Sofie’s father, Bill Dowling! My husband Bill is not only a working professional captain and a previous North American IOD champion, he rebuilt both of the boats that appear in the magazine’s cover photograph.
The International One Design boats are such outstandingly beautiful daysailers. It is only through the responsible care and able funding by several generations of owners that the class is still going strong. We are particularly fortunate that our local Maine fleet has the greatest number of these boats, and most are in very good condition. Bill and various partners have restored both Moewe (formerly Acontia) and Magic Bus to a condition that will allow them to continue sailing for another 80 years.
Bill and his friend Kevin Snyder at Cove’s End Woodworking in South Gouldsboro are working on another IOD re-build this winter and it will probably continue through most of next year. The current project is a boat called Xarifa, recently imported to Maine from San Francisco.
Mt. Desert Island, ME
Foam for sure
MBH&H Publisher Ted Ruegg recently asked readers whether to use a foam brush or a badger brush for varnishing.
I recently revarnished an ancient pair of handmade oars. Really superb weight and ease of use. Foam all the way for varnish and paint.
Polly Saltonstall’s write-up in a “Town Dock” column about Maine stone headed to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor (Issue #179 Nov/Dec 2022) refers to Fort Hood. My research indicates it was Fort Wood.