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Stories and the lessons they teach

By John K. Hanson, Jr.

With this issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, we begin our 35th year of publication. At that long ago time when we started, I was just concerned with getting one issue out, never thinking of the cascade of editions to come. The one day at a time, one issue at a time mantra has been the way forward. And the stories have kept on coming. That is what we wanted and still want to do—tell stories.

We wanted to tell stories that entertained, and through entertaining illustrated the lessons that life along the coast of Maine, and in maritime communities, continue to teach me on a daily basis. Our stories about boatbuilding show the precision, utility, and artistic grace that make up a seaworthy craft. When we march through the woods with a biologist we learn about our interconnectedness with the world around us. When we laugh at a well-told story, we share with others the absurdness of the human condition. Back in the beginning, I wanted the stories we ran to help, in a very small way, make the world a little bit better place. That was my goal when I began the magazine and it is still today.

Boatbuilder/writer/sage, Bud McIntosh once said he could never look at a body of water without imagining being on it in some kind of boat. I know exactly what he means. Big, little, sail, power, or paddle all have their place, their joy, and their teaching moments.

I have had one of those teaching moments recently with the installation of a remanufactured engine in my powerboat and the lengthy break-in period. For the first hour of use I had to shift the RPMs every minute. The second and third hours, every five. This taught me patience. My throttle hand was twitching to go wide open. But I kept to the schedule. I had read that slamming a new engine right away into heavy usage results in a life expectancy of around 2,000 hours compared to a life expectancy of closer to 6,000 hours for a properly broken in engine. Delayed gratification has never been one of my strong suits, but I am learning.

One good thing about printing a magazine is that I don’t have to be patient. Each issue with its rich mix of stories and ads is immediately gratifying. As the magazine enters its 35th year of publishing, I relish the reward of knowing that this way of life we live in Maine, and the lessons we learn from the seasons, the sea, and the people around us, bring joy to me, and to our community of readers and advertisers.   

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