Years ago, most passagemakers were custom boats, such as
Teka III, a Beebe design owned by Denis and Mary Umstot.
ourselves to Annapolis to get closer to a major boating
center. Talk about a humble beginning. I brought down
a folding table and chair to use as an office while I
undertook getting the new office systems ordered and
installed, with Laurene finalizing moving arrangements
in New Jersey for the week after Christmas—all while
we kept working on the next issue.
We never stopped working on the magazine. Ever. I
fondly remember the wedding we attended of our close
friends’ son in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The entire
wedding party pitched in and helped us proof pages for
that issue, which had to be sent to the printer the day
after the wedding. It is a great memory.
THE PEOPLE AND THE BOATS
People approached us to get involved with our new
venture. Most contributors weren’t professional writers,
but rather, fell into one of two groups: people in the
industry who wanted to share their knowledge, such
as Lehman guru Bob Smith, Stacey Stucki, and Alex
Marcus; or veteran cruisers with tons of experience.
That is how we came to know Bob and Polly Lane,
who quickly became part of our team, as well as
scores of others. Bruce and Joan Kessler, Denis and
Mary Umstot, Tom and Judy Blandford, Bob and
Barbara Dein, Bill Jacobs…the collective depth of their
experience formed a rich pool of knowledge about how
to do it right.
There were not many production trawlers being
built in those early days, and most boat shows would
only have a handful of new boats on hand. When we
attended MTOA (Marine Trader Owners Association)
or other rendezvous in the late ’90s, we’d see mostly
older Taiwan trawlers from the ’70s and ’80s. There
are many trawler classics: Marine Trader, CHB, Albin,
Top: Not your image of extreme adventurers, Ken Murray and
Helen White took on Cape Horn, cruising beyond remote.
Above: Pelagic, a ‘ 79 DeFever trawler, shows one doesn’t
need a zillion-dollar yacht to go where others fear to tread.
Ocean Alexander, Californian, DeFever, Tollycraft,
Uniflite, and Gulfstar. The main players in new boats
were Grand Banks, DeFever, Kadey-Krogen, Nordhavn,
and Nordic Tugs. Then Mainship introduced the
Mainship 350 in 1996 after a brilliantly successful
Mainship 34 series that created its own cult following.
What was remarkable back then was how many
custom, one-of-a-kind boats were out there, quietly
cruising the world without a lot of press or fanfare.
With few exceptions, if you wanted a serious cruising
boat, you had to build one yourself, and many did just
that. We got to meet the interesting people who owned
these boats, and that hasn’t really changed. Bob Lane
and I loved finding and doing articles on these boats
because they were unique, and represented a window
into creative possibility.