Mailboat And Photo Gallery

Letters to the editor and great pictures from our members.

Our Movie Marathon Continues

I enjoyed "A mariner's movie marathon" in the April/May issue. It gave me ideas for movies to add to my collection. I also recommend "Wind," with outstanding America's Cup racing cinematography interwoven with a love story; "Victory at Sea," the definitive documentary of World War II naval warfare; "Morning Light," a documentary of the adventures of 11 rookie sailors competing in the 2,500 mile Transpac race; "To the Ends of the Earth," a sprawling tale of a British warship's journey in the 1800s; and "The Endurance," a powerful documentary on the true saga of Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica. — Mark Corson, Bay Village, OH

How on the surface of any body of water on Earth could Rick Martell omit "All Is Lost," starring Robert Redford? Other than that major blunder, it was a fine piece. — David Davidson, Atlanta, GA

Good article and nice memories, but y'all missed two good ones: "The Sea Chase" (1955), with John Wayne, and "PT109," (1963) with Cliff Robertson. — George Summerell, Savannah, GA

I'd like to add a classic British film about the joys of messing about in boats: "Swallows and Amazons," from 1974, based on the book by Arthur Ransome. Two of Ransome's other books were also made into films: "Coot Club" and "The Big Six." All involve the adventures of children on small boats in 1930s Great Britain. They inspired a lot of kids (some masquerading as adults) to go to sea. — Dennis Stuhaug, Longbranch, WA

If there was ever a movie that revolves around boats and the sea, it is "Apocalypse Now." Most of the movie takes place on a boat, much of the story develops around what happens on the boat, and the journey up the river is the ultimate boating adventure. If it has been awhile since you've seen this movie, watch it with the perspective of it being a boating movie. It is complete sensory overload! — Phil Voth, Rochester, IL

Rick Martell missed the most significant classic in boating: "Captain Ron." Martell needs to throw a little humor into the mix if he expects to truly "keep your spirits high when you're landlocked and feeling low." — Steve Shimp, Fort Myers, FL

Editor's Note: For all you "Captain Ron" fans, the movie was included in Rick's original manuscript but appears in the online version only.

Isabel loves riding in the boat and seeing the wildlife"My 5-year-old granddaughter Isabel loves riding in the boat and seeing the wildlife in our area, especially the wild horses on Cumberland Island," writes Byron Lowe of Brunswick, Georgia. "We caught some speckled sea trout, and she was excited about eating them that night. She is a real saltwater girl!"

A beautiful sunset promises a better tomorrow"Last Memorial Day weekend, boats from the Seaford Yacht Club cruised to Dozier's Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville, Virginia," writes Bill Small of Williamsburg, Virginia. "We all endured a good soaking on Memorial Day itself. The rains ended near evening, and a beautiful sunset promised a better tomorrow. The photo is looking north towards the Rappahannock River from aboard our boat, Cleo."

Naming The Boat

Great magazine, and your timing of articles is perfect. "Please, just name the boat" is one such example. My wife and I have been trying to name our 43-foot boat for quite some time with no solution, until recently. "Give her a name we've never heard." We accomplished this. "But don't confuse us with your words, "Maybe not. We settled on Euraquilo. It means "a tempestuous northeast wind that blows in the Mediterranean." — Phil Jardine, Mustang, OK

Rarely have I enjoyed an article in your excellent magazine as much as I did Cheryl Culshaw's poem, "Please, just name the boat." And the fact that they have owned 34 boats: Wow! — Ed Palkot, Houston, TX

Single-handed selfie"The summer of 2016, I spent 90 days singlehanding on the water around the north end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia," writes Harvey Hochstetter of Sequim, Washington. "During the first 48 days, there was rain on the first 40. The foggy mornings and raindrops on the water were great, thankfully whales don't mind the rain, and fortunately it didn't rain all day every day."

Pelican aboard"I took this photo of a pelican aboard our Lagoon 380 Catalyst II," writes Lori Buckman Moes of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. "We were tied up at Adventurer Marina in Port Orange Florida."

Lessons Learned From Boat Fires

Regarding "The final voyage of Sandpiper" in the April/May issue, I have been involved with organizing four controlled test boat burns over the past 12 years. In each, we "preburned" several boats, then had teams of insurance, surveyors, law enforcement, and fire personnel conduct joint origin and cause investigations. Hindsight being what it is and having investigated hundreds of marine fires over the years, allow me to do a bit of Monday-morning quarterbacking.

From our test burns where we intentionally shorted DC wiring, as long as the shorted wires were "hot," the fires reignited. What Ed and Annette were experiencing may have been an electrical short. I deduce this from one part of the story where they discuss using the ABC fire extinguisher, having the fire suppressed, and then rekindle. While this can happen from the combustible materials alone, more likely there was a hot wire that was adding to their misery.

In "Lessons learned," one of the points I would add is clear and unfettered access to the boat's battery switch. If there is a fire on board, one of the very first things that should be done is switch off the battery to de-energize the DC systems. Unless the current is disrupted, those wires will continue to "glow," and they will reignite the surrounding combustibles. Another tip is that every vessel should also have a very strong pair of wire cutters in case the battery conductors or other wires themselves need to be cut to de-energize them. Most of the boats I have inspected have a fire extinguisher that could not put out a campfire, let alone a fire in a fiberglass boat filled with combustible materials. If your boat has those little 1A10BC extinguishers, throw them out and invest in rechargeable 2A10BC extinguishers, or larger. Just as emergency pumps are never big enough when water is coming in your boat, there is no such thing as a fire extinguisher that is too big. — Daniel K. Rutherford, Director, Claims and Risk Management, Maritime Program Group

First look at a 35-inch bluefish"This picture shows my 2-year-old grandson Christian Jackson with his first look at a 35-inch bluefish," writes Richard Crosariol of Selbyville, Delaware. "The blue was caught with his papa while surf casting at the Fenwick Island State Park."

Know Your Instruments

After reading "Fog: the deadly caress" in February/March by Tom Neale, I realized I already do some of what he suggests. I cannot emphasize enough the need to understand your instruments before you get caught in the fog. One time I was in a fishing tournament in northern Lake Huron with about 15 other boats. The fog came so quick and thick. As a tournament volunteer, we proceeded to try to get every boat in to safety. Some boaters had no navigational devices except compass and radio, but we got them to the harbor. Visibility would have been measured in feet that weekend, not yards, nor fractions of a mile. — Chris Thompson, Troy, MI

A day of dolphin watching at Wiggins Pass in Naples, Florida"Our granddaughters out in their dad's boat after a day of dolphin watching at Wiggins Pass in Naples, Florida," writes Joel Howard of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. "Tessa, on the left, is 3 years old, and Emilia is 17 months."

Two Yorkies onboard"Our two Yorkies, Sophia and Moetown, are excited to be on their way to Cape May, New Jersey," writes Linda Guida of Sewell, New Jersey.

More Thoughts On Boating Alone

The letter from Bob Austin in the April/May "Mailboat" really resonated with me. Two summers ago, my boat participated in a charity event. Each boat took several guests on a sail on the lower Niagara River; then we rafted and drifted downstream.

A guest on one boat jumped overboard to drift along with the rafted boats. He fell farther and farther behind. When he tried to swim back, he couldn't make it. Fortunately, a powerboat passed by and picked him up. For whatever reason, a person in the water, in current, doesn't drift at the same speed as the boat, which reminded me of the quote, "One experiment is worth a thousand expert opinions." — Art Aronson, Renfrew, PA

I connected instantly with the "Angling alone" article, dating back to my own inept experiences at a teen. I had a 14-foot flat-bottom rowboat with a 7.5 Mercury engine. I quickly learned to never set foot in it alone without wearing my life jacket. The first time out, I stood on the rear seat, pulled the start cord, it started, and I went over the back! As I floated in my life jacket, I listened to my friends laughing at me. As an adult, I cruised alone extensively in a small boat along Long Island's south shore. I liked to stand on the center seat with a pole slipped over the outboard's handle so I could see the water's color and gauge its depth. One time, while crossing the head of the bay, I slipped and went overboard. I was still holding the handle, so the boat began to circle around me. My only connection to the boat was this pole, and it could have easily slipped off. Somehow, I managed to crawl into the boat. I still don't know how I did it. — Warren Abrams, Oceanside, NY

"Angling alone" in the February/March issue had many good tips, but the lead photograph shows a classic mistake: A true life preserver, be it a vest or automatic inflatable, is the only truly safe way. Noting buoys you could swim to is all for the best, but if you go over and hit your head or dislocate a shoulder trying to stop from going over, your chances of reaching that buoy or pulling the tab on an inflatable belt pack are slim. I put on a vest and clip a remote tether to it as soon as I'm aboard, especially when fishing alone. I never thought I'd get used to the vest, but it quickly became second nature. — Doug Williams, Mattapoisett, MA 

— Published: June/July 2017

BoatUS Magazine Is A Benefit Of BoatUS Membership

Membership Also Provides:

  • Subscription to the print version of BoatUS Magazine
  • 4% back on purchases from West Marine stores or online at
  • Discounts on fuel, transient slips, repairs and more at over 1,000 businesses
  • Deals on cruises, charters, car rentals, hotel stays and more ...
  • All For Only $24 A Year!

Join Today!