Designs to Inspire
Selections from The Rudder 1897-1942
Anne & Maynard Bray

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Anne and Maynard are a great couple and any contact with them either personally or through their writing is bound to enrich your life.  Anne has worked for years in the library at Woodenboat Magazine and like so many people involved with libraries is a source of an amazing amount of knowledge, in this case about boats, as well as a long time sailor herself.  Maynard retired some years ago as Curator of Ships at the Mystic Seaport marine museum and is a well known historian in this field specializing in yachting history and is a particular expert on Nathaniel Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.  He has been Woodenboat's technical editor for many years.

In this book they have tried to gather a number of vessels that, for various reasons, may inspire us in our understanding of the evolution of yachts and in our thinking on what type of vessel we might want for ourselves.  I think they have done well with this.  Certainly I look through my copy frequently, though I don't think in my case it is so much for ideas, as I seem to have an overabundance of those myself, but more just to appreciate what people have tried to do in the past and how fascinating various solutions to the question of our enjoyment of time on the water there can be.

For me a particular emotional bond to this book is that many of these boats I am acquainted with personally.  I grew up around them and they certainly inspired me then as I'm sure they will inspire you now as you come across them in this book.

As an example there is the old "Quill" built in the very early 1900s and still around today.  Her original owner, John Cole, was still around when I was a boy.  He was a professor at Harvard and taught Franklin Roosevelt navigation.  He spent his summers for many years taking groups of young men on long sailing trips along the Maine Coast in "Quill" and many of these young men grew to be the back bone of Maine Coast yachting for the rest of the 20th century.  When I knew him he was old and frail, and saddened by the fact that no one would help him get "Quill" ready for the water anymore.  When I asked people about this it was explained to me that he was so old that no one wanted the responsibility of helping him get out on the water again for fear he would die on the boat.  I felt that this was probably just what he wanted.  In any case at this point in his life there was no one left who had time for him to teach them and he lavished attention on me whenever we were both at the yacht club.  Teaching me what he could with bits of line, interspersed with stories.  Later after his death when "Quill" was restored and sailing again under the ownership of one of his former summer sailing students, I was grateful for his sake that she was still around as a fitting memorial to their life together.

Another vessel in this book is the "Roaring Bessie" a great little cutter for whom my parents had great affection.  They had chartered her with friends at one point and were always so glad to see her, that I grew up thinking of her as a family friend.  I don't know if she's still around, but I sure hope she is.  Like many of the boats in this book she must have provided an extraordinary number of hours of supreme human happiness to those who sailed in her.

If you are a person who loves to look at drawings of boats, this book will be a well worn and much treasured part of your library.  (186 pages, profusely illustrated with wonderful drawings, including hull lines for most boats) (tm)  $24.95

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