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Letters to the Editor 141


When I saw one of my late husband Jim Steele’s peapods on the cover of the March/April 2016 issue I was immediately overcome with tears, both of sadness and of happiness. Ben Emory’s article about Jim was also wonderful, and the pictures beautiful. Jim would be amazed to know that he is still being remembered for his peapods even nine years after his passing. 

Jim’s peapods were his “babies.” We have a list of original owners and hull identification numbers for most of the 179 he built. He always felt that the peapods should be used and enjoyed, so it was wonderful to read of the adventures Ben and his wife have had in theirs.

I believe that one of Jim’s early peapods was built for Ben Emory’s father, G.H.H. Emory. Ben’s peapod may originally have been built for Alida Camp after hers was crushed between her boat and the dock.

Thank you again for remembering Jim so fondly. His only comment would have been, “Amazing.” That was his favorite saying.

Pam (Mrs. Jim) Steele

Brooklin, ME

What! A Pontoon Boat?

I now know the world is coming to an end because there is a pontoon boat on the May/June cover of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors.

Gary Cabit

Lake & Sea Boatworks, Inc.

Bar Harbor, ME


We’re still here! —The Editors

It was indeed “Huge”

Just want to congratulate you on the March/April issue—the extra large issue—“Huge,” as someone in the political world might say. I liked the choice of articles. The photos were great, and as always it was a nice printing job. Most importantly, there was a good selection of boats for me to look at. Many thanks.

Robin Lloyd

Camden, ME and Chevy Chase, MD

Great designer, yes; Olympian, no

Uffa Fox was many wonderful things, but I do not recall his ever being an Olympic sailor. (MBH&H May/June, “Two Great Lake Boats.”) Fox’s write-up in The Encyclopedia of Yacht Designers makes no mention of Olympic participation, nor do any of his own books. Google contains a poorly worded statement in combination with info on George O’Day that could lead one to think that Fox was the Olympic competitor; in fact George O’Day was a medal-winning Olympic sailor.

Love your magazine. I have been a subscriber since its inception.

Vagn Worm

Old Saybrook, CT and Brooklin, ME

Remembering Earl Cunningham

I enjoyed your article about my old friend Earl Cunningham (MBH&H March/April, “Searching for a Safe Harbor.”) He was a fixture on St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida, when I was a young wanderer trying to make a living as a painter between odd jobs.

I met Cunningham on a summer afternoon in 1963 or 1964. He always had a display case full of old medals, buttons, and gee-gaws that he would sell to the tourists. St. George Street was still a bit scruffy and “unrestored” back then; people would troll for bargain antiques and affordable art. We struck up a conversation and discovered we were both Yankees in exile. He wanted to see my paintings—I always had a paint box and a pad with me. He wanted to show me his work as well, which was unlike anything I had ever seen, primitive and free of the restraints I had learned. It was his vision of the past and a reflection of his memories, as well as a world of his creation.

Few realize that Earl often compounded his own pigments from natural minerals. He was an amateur geologist and had even done some work for Robert Ripley (of Ripley’s Believe It or Not fame). He found he could bring luminosity to a sunrise by grinding and adding certain minerals to particular colors.

I would stop by regularly, sometimes bringing a snack from Bill’s Cafe across the street. If Earl wasn’t feeling well or was involved in the studio, I would leave him to his work. He might want to let off some steam about some beef he had with a neighbor. He cherished his feuds. But we never had a hard word. Eventually I shipped out in a merchant ship and then, in a fit of youthful stupidity, joined the Army.

When I got back from Vietnam, I made a pilgrimage to see Earl. He seemed older and more withdrawn. He feared the coming changes to the area. But he took my hand as in days past. We talked and parted with a smile. 

I never saw him again, but I can still see him in his doorway, a gnome in his black beret, the peeling gray paint of his building hiding the riot of bursting color of his paintings inside.

Steve Bunker

China Sea Marine Trading Co.

Gray, ME

Long live the hand-cranked lock!

Loved the May/June copy of MBH&H as always! I wanted to call out a minor inaccuracy in the article about the Songo Lock. It turns out there is at least one other manual lock left in the Adirondacks, on Lower Saranac Lake. I’ve operated it many times traveling through via canoe since the 1970s.

Brian R. Robinson, Rockland, ME

Evergreen Home Performance, LLC

You are right. There are several manual locks left on various American waterways. —The Editors

Best place to sail? Maine!

We think your wonderful magazine should take on the assertion that Scotland is the “world’s best place to sail,” as made by Sailing Today (a British magazine) and the “Sail Scotland” promotional organization. (No doubt the result of voting by their readers in the UK.)

Maybe the Maine Office of Tourism would put up funding for a contest to get readers to provide the 100 top reasons why Maine is the “world’s best cruising grounds.” Scotland is a great place to sail, but there’s nothing like a little friendly competition.

Perhaps we should call a meeting at The Drouthy Bear Pub in Camden to start the ball rolling?

Doug & Dale Bruce

Camden, ME

Maine-built boats are the best

I have been enjoying your magazine for many years. My current boat is a Sabre 40 Salon Express, which I bought from Chris DiMillo at DiMillo’s Yacht Sales in Portland, Maine. Over the years I have owned an Ellis 28, a Southport 30, and three Sabre Yachts (Sabre 36, Sabre 42 Express, and my current Sabre 40). Obviously I love Maine-built boats, and Chris DiMillo and Sabre have been terrific, even though my boating is mainly in the Great Lakes. 

Keep up the great job. I really enjoy your magazine.

Jim Bonahoom

Detroit, MI  

Go monthly, please!

Thanks for an interesting, timely, well-written magazine—the most authentic representation of the Maine coast of any magazine I’ve read. And I don’t even own a boat. If you could produce a monthly edition it would be even better.

Dave Bond

Belfast, ME

Rangeley—the place, the boats

Is anyone still building Rangeley boats?

I enjoyed the recent edition (May/June) and the Rangeley story. In the 1950s, as a child, I spent time there in the summer and we used a Rangeley Boat that had a very special look. Are they still around?

John Frank via email


Proving the value of a good design, a number of builders still make boats based on similar lines in both wood and fiberglass. —The Editors    

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