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View Full Version : 2014 Will Represent the 40th Anniversary of WoodenBoat's Founding



Carl Cramer
08-05-2012, 08:13 PM
by Jon Wilson and a cast of characters through the years.

Its success is due to the staff, the readers, the advertisers... and to the abiding loyalty of so many. And, more than anything, to Jon's continuing vision(s).

I've just moved up to position #1 on WoodenBoat TV (http://www.woodenboat.com/woodenboat-tv) a concert that seems emblematic of that year (Wooden Ships On the Water, by CSN&Y). I remember where I was then (a struggling and ultimately failed yacht designer and boatbuilder); a first-time father; and a charter subscriber to WoodenBoat.

Two questions for you:

1. How would you like us to celebrate WoodenBoat's 40th anniversary? -- an amazing accomplishment, considering so many said we wouldn't survive Year One, must less Year Forty [we do have plans];

2. What were you doing in 1974, and, specifically, what were you doing with wooden boats?

In advance, I know we will find your responses fascinating and, hopefully, compelling.

Thanks, all. Carl

landlocked sailor
08-05-2012, 08:55 PM
Thanks Carl. I was 14 in '74, really into boats and fishing but not much into magazines. I started subscribing in '95 and subsequently bought an entire collection from a charter subscriber. I can honestly say that I have read almost every article and wouldn't trade my hard copies for the digital pub for anything. Whenever I look up any thing old I inevitably come across some other interesting and compelling tidbit. I'd bet I see Jon on the phone on the tree about every five years. Cheers and here's to 40 more. Rick

skuthorp
08-06-2012, 05:45 AM
I was 31. Senior Scout leader. About that time we built S&G canoes, repaired an old clinker double ender boat under a boatbuilders supervision and installed an old Morris motor and moored it on a lake with an island we camped on. I owned a Sailfish my cousin and I had built about 1960 from plans in Popular Mechanics. Participated in several annual 450K 5 day canoe races on the Murray river, Skied in winter on wooden skis, surfed in summer on a balsa board. Oh yes, somewhere in all that I had a job too.:D

Congratulations BTW, for a magazine 40 years is something to be proud of.

PeterSibley
08-06-2012, 05:58 AM
I was 25 in '74 and working on a 42 foot wooden prawn trawler of Cape York, a good and extremely educational experience. I think I discovered WB on my return but didn't buy a copy until the mid 20s as I had no place to store them.

Ian McColgin
08-06-2012, 06:20 AM
I was hand longlining off the Oregon coast when, like everyone on John Gardner's mailing list, I got an offer for a life-time subscription for something that did not look like it would make it to issue #3. I didn't have $100 anyway so at least I don't have to kick myself for choosing to pass up a grand chance. George Kelly told me that he and Capt Pete Culler flipped a coin to see which of them would ante up.

So, with that in mind, I think one charming thing for the 40th would be to list the original life-time subscribers. It would be especially charming if any are still with us.

Brian Palmer
08-06-2012, 06:55 AM
I was 12. The only boat I owned personally at that time was a one-person inflatable rubber raft.

When I was 14, my dad brought home a copy of Woodenboat that had an article about Phil Bolgers Elegant Punt. We bought the plans and I built it that summer on our front porch with money I earned cutting lawns.

I've since built two more boats: a 15 sharpie sloop while in college and a Tom Hill 'Charlotte' double paddle canoe. For several years we owned a Steve Redmond 'Elver" canoe yawl.

My dad and I have been subscribers ever since and I have a full collection all the way back to #1.

Brian

rbgarr
08-06-2012, 09:09 AM
How to celebrate:

A few years ago WB offered an 'Alumni Weekend" for WB School alumni. You opened your faciilties for the weekend and pretty much let us have the run of the place :D. The waterfront fleet was made available for sailing and rowing, the library opened and staffed, and community meals spread out. It was a glorious weekend and those of us there really appreciated it... and recognized that it must have cost WB a not inconsiderate amount. In some ways it reminded me of the Alan Arkin movie "Indian Summer" when he invited 'campers of yore' to come back for a late fall reunion at his Ontario children's summer camp. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107212/

1974:

I was just finishing college and like you Carl, was interested in yacht design and building. I interned briefly with Halsey Herreshoff at his Boston office (he taught at MIT then) and fumblingly 'assisted' him with his design for the fiberglass Freedom 40 and a wood sloop for himself adapted from one of NGH's Sonder boats. She was built by Eric Goetz who was just then starting out as a builder in one of the original Herreshoff yard buildings. Halsey still has that boat and I remember our discussions, especially listening to him as he pondered the different configurations for rudder placement, design and construction for the boat, Streaker. He still has her and she's fast and fun, racing successfully in Bristol.

After graduating I built boats in Massachusetts and Maine and have been enthralled with it all ever since. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have lived through the past forty years as the traditions and developments in wooden boats, the various businesses, schools and magazines have revived and grown. Who knew? And WB has been there to chronicle and encourage so much of it. Can't thank you all enough.

Rich Jones
08-06-2012, 01:00 PM
I was 21 years old and still in college. I built my first wooden boat that year simply because I couldn't afford to buy one. Designed it also (what a mistake that was!) Since then, I've built 15 others (designed by others!)
Bought my first issue of WB at issue #16. I've been a subscriber ever since.

How about including a copy of issue #1 with whatever issue you use to celebrate 40 years?

Tom Jackson
08-06-2012, 02:29 PM
I was in my last year of high school in 1974, but I didn't see a copy of WoodenBoat until 1977. I was still in college, working as a reporter covering the Oregon state legislature, and in a particularly long committee hearing, a reporter near me, a radio guy named Russell Sadler, had a magazine with a lot of nice-looking photographs opened up but hidden inside the report on whatever it was the committee was taking up. I had been interested in boats forever by then, but the only magazine coverage of wooden boats I recall was a cover article in "Americana" on the Apprenticeshop. This WoodenBoat was one I had to have. I got the subscription information from Sadler and sent in my check the same day.

Before that, I thought I was alone. Finding others interested in such boats was like finding others of my species.

TerryLL
08-06-2012, 03:00 PM
I was 27 in 1974, serving in the Air Force, thinking of building a 20' MORC Midget when my tour was up. Bought my first copy of WB in January 1977, Number 17, which I still have. That issue, along with a couple hundred others, have been around the world a time or two, but never out of my possession. I'm trying to gin up some boat building interest in the number one grandchild so I'll have someone to pass my library on to. So far rock climbing is his only interest. Maybe he'll take a small spill and knock some sense into his fool head.

ChrisBen
08-06-2012, 06:27 PM
I was 15 in 74 and working weekends and school breaks at my fathers sail loft when we got #1 as a complimentary issue. I asked my father if he was going to subscribe and he said we already get to many magazines. luckily Colin Ratsey talked him into it, but then I always had to wait a week till Colin finished reading it. I've gone between subscribing and news stands since then and haven't missed an issue yet.

McMike
08-06-2012, 07:04 PM
Lol, I was born in 1974 . . . guaranteed I wasn't thinking of boats.

I'd like to see a boat-a-paloosa like no other!!!! Basically what you guys do every year in Mystic. I wouldn't mind making a pilgrimage to Maine for the 2014 show but I'm not sure you'd get the volume of people in Maine that you see in Mystic.

TerryLL
08-06-2012, 11:28 PM
How would you like us to celebrate WoodenBoat's 40th anniversary?



Well, I think it's high time you Mainers packed your bags and made plans for a serious Wooden Boat extravaganza on the West Coast. Heavens knows we've got the best small boat cruising ground in the world out here, and the best builders, and the most experienced sail and oar tribe, not to mention the best tasting beer, and the most agreeable weather.

So how about it? A 40-year WB celebration on the West Coast sometime between the 4th of July Center For Wooden Boats Show and the Port Townsend Festival in early September.

michigangeorge
08-07-2012, 07:51 AM
I was selling fiberglass sailboats and very much into MORC and one-design racing back then. But even in those early years of fiberglass boat building I could see that the designs were becoming market driven and fewer and fewer good looking, seaworthy craft were going to be produced in that material. I think I first read something about this new WOODENBOAT magazine in National Fisherman and purchased one of the early issues. Over the years I've purchased about half of my complete collection in news stands and half by subscription.
I started sailing in traditional wood 22' racing catboats and it seems I've now come full circle and will finish my sailing years in my traditional wood 18' Fenwick Williams cat. Thanks to WOODENBOAT for much of the knowledge to make this possible.

peter radclyffe
08-07-2012, 02:19 PM
1, build a schooner

2,i had just repaired my first clinker dinghy in wivenhoe, which the owners called watergate as it leaked so much,i crewed a new coaster from hull to liverpool,i was living in the most easterly part of england, in blowstuffed harbour on a 90 foot wooden admiralty trawler,Platessa,and planting cricket bat willows and poplar, and pulling apart a 40ft scottish fifie Fjara on the norfolk broads, and living on a 90 ft baltic trader Dania in wisbech, turning bowls and pitchpine candlesticks and studying boat mechanics,woodwork,design,sailing and rock music

Bob Cleek
08-07-2012, 04:05 PM
I was 25 and selling used wooden boats in a brokerage in San Rafael, CA. We had a niche market on SF Bay and some really neat classics came through. It was a rather small niche. Everybody wanted a plastic boat. We were all working to get the Master Mariners Benevolent Association regattas off the ground (or into the water, as the case was.) A handful of these Wooden Boat Magazines (It wasn't even Woodenboat, yet.) came our way and everybody grabbed a copy. As I recall, there was an article on harvesting local boat building wood by a guy we knew, Bob Daar, who's still around running the Arques Boatbuilding School in Sausalito, CA. "What a great magazine!" we all said. We all thought it was about time that somebody recognized that wooden boats were special. We hoped we'd find it easier to sell woodies once people realized their virtues. Then reality reared its ugly head. "Nice idea, but it'll never sell." Shows what we knew!

Tom Jackson
08-07-2012, 04:25 PM
The best way to celebrate 40 years of publication, of course, is to have 40 more years of publication!

Mad Scientist
08-07-2012, 04:45 PM
2. I was 12 y.o. when WoodenBoat came out. Of course, back in those days, I 'knew' that wooden boats were made of massive pieces of oak, could only be built by craftsmen with a lifetime of experience, in a boatyard full of gigantic and complex tools, and cost a fortune to maintain.

Ironically, it was an article in Popular Science about the Stevenson Weekender that opened my eyes to the idea of a plywood boat. Who knew that plywood could be bent?

Tom

J. Dillon
08-07-2012, 09:42 PM
Congratulations and lets have 40 more years at least.
:d
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg140/scaled.php?server=140&filename=fortyyearsjpg43.jpg&res=landing

JD

Carl Cramer
08-07-2012, 09:55 PM
Warning: I might read the best of these at our celebration of the 40th.

Great work so far, you-all.

outofthenorm
08-08-2012, 09:54 PM
1974.

I was 22 years old and in love. With a girl, who I married two years later and is still my wife. With a dream of world wide cruising on the family's 60 ft square topsail schooner, which went a-glimmer when my salt-obsessed Mother passed in 1975. With a wooden boat named Fiddlers Green, which was in my heart, but outside the range of my wallet until 8 years later. With a fibreglass Folkboat that I was restoring from junkyard derelict to smart little cruiser. And with a new magazine called Woodenboat, which today fills several feet of my bookshelves and is referred to often.

I learned a lot from your magazine, and I expect to learn more. My idea for a 40 year celebration? Free hats for everybody on the Forum!

Norm

Vince Brennan
08-10-2012, 06:18 PM
1974.

I was 22 years old and in love. With a girl, who I married two years later and is still my wife. With a dream of world wide cruising on the family's 60 ft square topsail schooner, which went a-glimmer when my salt-obsessed Mother passed in 1975. With a wooden boat named Fiddlers Green, which was in my heart, but outside the range of my wallet until 8 years later. With a fibreglass Folkboat that I was restoring from junkyard derelict to smart little cruiser. And with a new magazine called Woodenboat, which today fills several feet of my bookshelves and is referred to often.

I learned a lot from your magazine, and I expect to learn more. My idea for a 40 year celebration? Free hats for everybody on the Forum!

Norm




+1 unless currently banned.

Hwyl
08-10-2012, 07:25 PM
You could have a special edition of the quirkiest articles. I nominate the Jon Wilson treatise on how to build a floating boathook, must have been circa 1985, it redefined eloquence, and could be compared to Red Barbour talking about baseball.

I'm slightly more interested in boathooks than baseball, but would be hard pressed to write more than five sentences on either subject

TomF
08-14-2012, 10:04 AM
In 1974 I was 12, and by then I'd spent a goodly chunk of each summer paddling canvas/cedar canoes, and sailing Albacores. Dad had just bought a 21' half-finished fiberglass hull; over the next few years it was the vehicle for my brother and me to each learn to use tools, and a bit more of the basics of sailing. Dad soon started buying WoodenBoat at the news stand, and we all wished that what we worked on/sailed was something like the glorious boats in the magazine, rather than the frozen snot we were trying to dignify with an increasing number of pieces of mahogany. Supported/inspired, I'll quickly add, by what we found between the magazine's covers.

WoodenBoat represented the dream, however little it represented our reality. But a teenager can live on dreams for quite a while.

Thad
08-14-2012, 04:52 PM
You see, it's all your fault!
I always liked being in boats, looking at boats and looking from boats. I was first out in boats at about 7, wooden lake fishing boats Johnson powered. I liked being in ships at 8 and 9, ferry across Lake Michigan. French Line Liberte across the Atlantic (stepping from gang way to lighter 6 miles off Plymouth, England, in a gale I was impressed by the skill and knowledge of the lighter crew), and Union-Castle Line Durban Castle from Southampton to Dar es Salaam. In harbors through the Mediterranean, Red Sea, into the Indian Ocean, I watched the boats, wooden launches, lighters, dhows big and small, and the boatmen handling them with sail, oar and scull. Living in Dar I watched all the boats working and playing in and out of the harbor. High school in Rhode Island led to my first sailing (Beetlecat and Sailfish), as well as rowing a pram on Gorton's Pond. With college all this seemed to go away, but then I found friends who had always sailed and they found Wooden Boat magazine when it first began, somehow. We weren't living near the water, but my friend with the subscription and another ordered plans for one of the first plans offered through the magazine, 23' Maxwell Cutter. They never built the boat, but the plans came and looking at the plans I saw in them what I wanted to do. From then on, 1978, reading (WoodenBoat and books) and working, I was working toward building boats when I wasn't building boats. The rest is ongoing history. Wooden boats loom large in human cultural history and WoodenBoat has had a huge influence in maintaining awareness of this importance, as well as encouraging a lot of fun, through difficult times. Thank you!! It has always been a pleasure.
A funny sidebar to this story involves the Maxwell Cutter. My friends never got it together, with the one excuse I heard being that the plans were no longer being promoted because the boat lacked stability. Just a couple of years ago now I saw on the cover of Soundings a Maxwell Cutter in full glory. The boat had been sailed from the British Isles to the Caribbean, won the classic boat race at Antigua, and then was sailed back to Ireland, something like that. I brought that magazine to one of those friends, for fun and effect.

Carl Cramer
08-15-2012, 07:08 AM
Great ones, all. Thad, you made me shed a tear...

We wrote about Maxwell cutters in Issues No. 8 and 21. The latter was the Kaufman and Ladd design. I'm afraid I can no longer recall which one(s) we offered plans for.

Willin'
08-15-2012, 01:02 PM
In 1974 I was a young sewerpipe sailor stationed on a new construction boat at EB in Groton and living ashore with a few mates in a trailer park overlooking the Mystic River.
I spent a lot of my off time just exploring the coast from Lyme to Cape Cod. At one point I remember knocking on the doors of every boatshop, yard and marina in Mystic looking for part time work while I was ashore hoping to learn something about boatbuilding. With no skills to offer and the working waterfront in Mystic shrinking steadily, I was generally laughed at.

The first time I picked up a copy of WBM I was flying home from Houston to LA and found a copy at an airport news stand, circa 1981. By the time I got home I already had it in my mind that I wanted to build wooden boats in my spare time (I was at sea two months, ashore for one month at the time). I ran right out and bought a copy of Chappelle and Gardiner Vol. 1 and never lost that dream, though it was a long time in finally coming true. I started subscribing to themag by about 1983 and never stopped. It and Ben's damn fine calendar are guaranteed stocking stuffers every Christmas.

As far as celebrating, no suggestions other than if you have a large public event, it should be in Maine. I enjoy the WBS in Mystic, but Wooden Boat is a Maine institution. The magazine is largely responsible for the current classic boat rennaisance and has fostered too many Maine small businesses and careers to list as a result.

Let's make them come here to celebrate.

Duncan Gibbs
08-15-2012, 06:54 PM
I was 5 years old when WBM first came out and had just had a sail with a family friend on Cardinia Reservoir east of Melbourne in a S&G Minnow dinghy and was hooked. I then got to sail on my Granddad's yachts over in Western Australia every second Christmas and occasionally on a boat around Melbourne. My first WBM was an issue that covered the build of a big cold moulded tri' and an ultralight glued lap canoe. Can't remember which issue it was. I lost touch with things boaty and took up horse riding, then surfing, then immersed myself in my landscape architecture career. My resurgence into things boaty is well documented here on this board.

Now I have a Dragon in the shed! :D

So Carl, we in Oz will miss these auspicious celebrations in 2014, unless any of us manage to get up there. So how about it my friend: Let us buy you a beer and a dram in Hobart next year!?

Robert Meyer
08-15-2012, 07:58 PM
How about celebrating with a "Day In Wooden Boats". Forumites would hold gatherings across the world on a chosen day to show off their wooden boats on the water. WBM might compile photos of these celebratory gatherings and feature selected boats in a coffee table book A Day In Wooden Boats. Commercial as well as pleasure wooden boats could be included.

Vince Brennan
08-15-2012, 08:47 PM
1974. Wow. 29 and just shet of the First Mistake, in love with about ten women at the same time, hair down to my swootch and a beard to match, a '69 Austin MkIII and a love of getting on the road with something (blond)(redheaded)(brunette)(who cared), a small private business that provided mucho bucks for a minimum time investment (as long as you didn;t get caught) and generally just having one hell of a life. I was definitely the person you warned your daughters about.

Now slow, overweight, balding, going blind and deef.... but y'know something? I done HAD my fun.

Had been involved with a large schooner in St. Thomas (Black Swan, IIRC... who looked at the name? It was the owner that mattered to me... Canadian lady with a husband in London and a lot of time on her hands...) which was the extent of my wooden boat involvement, but I was doing fancy work in a very small manner then... less later while I was "otherwise employed" and more after that.

You sit here now and look back and wonder how the (censored) we ever survived those times... at least, I do. A total mystery, but I'd do it all just exactly the same way. I know... stupid.

Sorry for the drift.


(Crap! I sound like Skipper!)

Canoez
08-15-2012, 09:13 PM
Geez. I was 6. The year before, I'd been dropped in the middle of a 16 foot Old Town Otca wearing one of the old orange canvas life jackets and paddled around the lake with my dad and one of his Scouts. It's been wooden boats since that day. In the late 70's, my father and I got involved in the restoration of some old wood and canvas boats and then on to cedar strippers. I found WoodenBoat magazine in the early '80's and have found it through subscription or news-stands since.

A neat thing to do might be a retrospective on some of the boats built in articles over the past 40 years and the people that built them - a "where are they now" sorta thing.

Carl Cramer
08-16-2012, 08:50 AM
I was 5 years old when WBM first came out and had just had a sail with a family friend on Cardinia Reservoir east of Melbourne in a S&G Minnow dinghy and was hooked. I then got to sail on my Granddad's yachts over in Western Australia every second Christmas and occasionally on a boat around Melbourne. My first WBM was an issue that covered the build of a big cold moulded tri' and an ultralight glued lap canoe. Can't remember which issue it was. I lost touch with things boaty and took up horse riding, then surfing, then immersed myself in my landscape architecture career. My resurgence into things boaty is well documented here on this board.

Now I have a Dragon in the shed! :D

So Carl, we in Oz will miss these auspicious celebrations in 2014, unless any of us manage to get up there. So how about it my friend: Let us buy you a beer and a dram in Hobart next year!?

Duncan, you know I'd love to.

When I hit the lottery.... Wait, I don't buy tickets.

Duncan Gibbs
08-16-2012, 06:49 PM
Surely the whole trip could be a tax write-off? Business trip about wooden boat stuff? Do it Carl! I'll keep the beer cold for you!

I like Robert's idea of "A Day In Wooden Boats!" Terrific really!

skuthorp
08-17-2012, 06:54 AM
Surely the whole trip could be a tax write-off? Business trip about wooden boat stuff? Do it Carl! I'll keep the beer cold for you!

I like Robert's idea of "A Day In Wooden Boats!" Terrific really!
+1, for both ideas.
A virtual regatta all round the world. I like it, and with modern coms maybe not as remotely virtual as it once would have been. Fly it as an idea in WB Carl and see how it goes.

kbowen
08-17-2012, 08:56 PM
Well, if you are hung on this 40 thing, you have to make the theme something about "Roaring 40's". Have an under-40' race and an over 40' race, and in each class try to set the tone that the sail handling and seamanship is the key (with a video upload site and awards, and screw-ups) and handicap on the basis of boat-length only: shortest boat starts to riotous applause and the biggest cannon you can find, and then for each foot of boat length add 40 seconds, or 4 minutes or whatever makes sense for the length of the race. Also, have some round-the-buoys events that a large boat couldn't even enter because the course is too small. Have a treasure hunt where the clues are on the end of a special lobster-buoy rope or on the beach so that only beach-cruisers can get to it, etc. Be sure to penalize for matching monogrammed windbreakers and first make sure you have enough octane to get "roaring" drunk (in a safe place) and a good time will be had by all. Oh, wait: one more thing, everybody has to anchor in the harbor or on the beach and welcome visitors, and everyone has to try to visit at least 40 other boats.
fwiw: before 1974 I sailed the great lakes with my family, then I became a theatrical designer, now I am returning to the water, sortof like a mosquito..... :-)

Willin'
08-18-2012, 07:29 AM
. Be sure to penalize for matching monogrammed windbreakers :-)

I hate sailing on boats where the boss requires matching crew shirts! It's embarrassing!

Otherwise, great ideas.

Oldad
08-18-2012, 09:42 AM
I was 40 years old and that summer I restored a "free" 8 foot dinghy and converted it to sail. I had no clue as to CE or CLR and positioned the mast (a tapered 2x4) and dagger board where they "looked right". Needless to say she would not sail into the wind and I almost got blown up into Canada on Lake Memphramagog (Vermont). WB and this forum have showed me the error of my ways.

Oldad has a motor on his new boat...

nedL
08-20-2012, 07:27 AM
I was 14 at the time and a charter subscriber to W.B. I still have #1, though it is an official ‘reprint’ as demand was greater than the number that was printed, so a second printing was called for and the reprint was mailed along with an explanatory letter. (In hindsight, sort of foretelling.) I was very much into wooden boats even then. When I wasn’t in school I was either on a boat, out in the salt marsh, working on boats, or climbing around the local boatyards.