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A Letter from the Publisher - Issue 99

Issue 99

By John K. Hanson, Jr.

John K. Hanson, Jr., Publisher
Maine, Boats, Homes & Harbors
The shop is still brutally cold as I write this. While the spirit is willing to start spring fitting out, the body and the paints and adhesives are quite unwilling. Waiting for a few more warm days and nights won’t push the launching schedules too far back. In the back of the shop, Banzai, the Blue Jay that has been in our family since 1963, when my twin sister and I were twelve, started me thinking of sailing classes... our young boys... the future of sailing... are we doing enough?... the price of tea in China... (and all of this without opening a can of paint!). When I was a boy I thoroughly enjoyed sailing classes. I loved to race sailboats—I still love to race sailboats—and that is pretty much what we did in sailing class. From what I can tell that seems to be the curriculum that still holds today. But I wonder— out of the, let’s say, 20 kids in my early classes, how many are still involved with boats today? Ten percent? Twenty-five percent? Fifty percent? More? I don’t know. My intuition tells me that it is more likely a smaller percentage than a larger one. For me the love of boats preceded sailing classes. I used to mess around in a rowboat, exploring the backwaters of my home river, and imagining greater voyages and adventures. The boat love came from those days; the sailing classes simply built on it. And when I became burned out from competition, as I eventually did, it was the love of small boat adventuring that brought me back. I wonder. Are we providing our children that bedrock love of boats and adventuring before we teach them the Holy Grail of boat speed? Could there be ways to include more rowing and generally messing about in boats into our children’s sailing programs? Could we hook more of them into the lifelong joys of a life spent with boats? I think we can. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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