Archive for November, 2015


Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2015 by wordsandpixels

A Moving Story

We recently moved from an apartment overlooking the Hudson River in Yonkers, NYIMG_4126 to a tiny 1880’s quarryman’s house overlooking the river of the same name, in Malden On Hudson, NY. Malden was once a middle-class town housing workers in the stone business. Bluestone and granite were shipped down the Erie Canal and hence to New York City, where they were used to pave the streets. In the 19th century about 250 folks lived there, and that number is about the same today. For those 250 people, however, there were roughly 14 riverside saloons. (I guess we know what those hard-working, rough-hewn men considered a priority.)

Malden is a suburb of historic Saugerties, New York, home to artists, musicians and even an annual Garlic Festival. The town is about one hundred miles north of Yonkers as the crow flies. Another way of looking at it is that it would take about two days to make the trip in a good old boat. Half the time you’d be heading into the North wind and Southbound current and lucky to be making three knots; other times you’re foaming along with a bone in your teeth, with an SOG of maybe 14 knots, the wind and current at your back. Two days is entirely do-able under most circumstances.IMG_4148

To make a long story short, we mailed a few postcards (yes, slower than the Internet, but maybe more effective) to people we knew, including, of course, my editor friend Karen Larson at Good Old Boat. In fact, I pointed out that since our house was a few hundred feet from the river, she and Jerry could simply drop anchor, row ashore in the dink, and be grilling hamburgers within half an hour. On the postcard was a photo I took of Gazelle_cover“Gazelle,” a 42-foot junk-rigged schooner with whom friends and colleagues know I’m irrationally in love. One of those friends who received the postcard was veterinarian, photographer and good friend Warren Kaplan. He wrote back thusly:


Got your postcard. Thanks. LOVE the photo. Julie wants to know where you were when you shot it. Helicopter? What were the circumstances of the shot? Really a good one!

(Sent from my iPhone)

Here was my response:

Warren & Julie,

That photo was one of the better ones, taken from a bo’sun’s chair up the mizzen mast, from of a series I did for TIME magazine. It was a cover story on the then-growing trend of people living aboard sailboats, often couples like Lynn and Larry Pardy, who sailed the world footloose and supposedly fancy-free. 

TIME’s Picture Editor, John Durniak, a wonderful, multi-talented man, assigned two photographers to cover the story. One, and I apologize but I forget who it was, photographed the Westsail 32 (affectionately known as the “Wetsnail 32” and made popular by Ferenc Mate in his series of books on yacht construction and maintenance). The other (yours truly) had the pleasure of meeting with and photographing the innovative yacht designer Tom Colvin. His centerpiece design was a boat that I ultimately fell in love with, the 32-foot junk-rigged steel schooner, “Gazelle.” That boat could take you anywhere in the world under any conditions, easily and safely. Yes, in light airs she moved oh so slowly, but she eventually got where you needed to go. You just needed patience. It turned out the piece was fairly successful, measured by the reader mail generated. In fact, my wife Ann and I came close to buying a “Gazelle” design back in the 80’s.

Postscript to the story: there were two photos up for cover consideration. One was the one in color on the postcard I sent you, the best out of perhaps 5,000 Kodachromes and Ektachromes shot while covering the story. The other was of the Westail 32, shot by the OTHER photographer, whatshisname. At the time the article was published, TIME’s art director was shopping for a boat. You’ll never guess which of the two he chose?  

As a wise philosopher once pointed out, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Or something like that.

Best regards to you and Julie,