AT THE HELM
VOLUME XVIII, No. 1, FEB/MAR 2012
LEAN ON US ...
The summer I was 11, our family sailed our old 25-foot Coronado 500 miles
down the coast from Newport, Rhode Island, to Virginia Beach. It was time to
move the family to the next Navy port, and my parents had decided the boat
would move on its own bottom. Thinking back, and rereading the 14-page letter
to a friend that I wrote on the trip but never sent, it was startling to remember
the array of adventures this particular journey entailed, including leaving the
boat in an anchorage as a hurricane bore down on us; and transiting the 14-mile
C&D canal, with my brother and me hanging on in the dinghy — we’d had
enough of those parents!
One of my most vivid memories is off the coast of Manasquan, New Jersey,
as a thunderstorm pelted us with cold rain and driving wind. My dad was at
the helm, the rest of us sheltered below, until I got barfy enough that I had to
go topsides. We were on starboard tack on a tight reach. My dad settled me
in front of him on the weather side, and I leaned back into him, scared out of
my wits. I’d never experienced anything like this, and feared we wouldn’t get
through it. With a “kaPow!” the mainsail seams shredded in multiple places,
the dinghy flipped over, and we couldn’t pull it in or right it. Not wanting that
drogue behind us, my dad cut the dinghy painter and took compass bearings
on where we were. Later, he’d tell me that he knew how scared I was by the
volume of my singing. Unaware that my mouth was even open, I was mortified
that I’d been singing at all! After what seemed like forever, we got through the
storm and, amazingly, backtracked to successfully find the dinghy. An hour later,
we tucked into Manasquan Inlet, and tied up to the shelter of a transient dock
for the night.
As adults, it’s hard to find the kind of comfort, the kind of competent “I’ve
got your back” feeling of safety, that enveloped me that scary afternoon. And
yet, having worked at BoatU.S. for 17 years now, I’ve found much of that same
caring and competency right here among our family of boaters. All of us want
to help you have a great time on the water, and we work hard to keep you safe
while you’re out there, and to take the hassle out of your boating.
With this first issue of 2012, it’s my privilege to take the helm as the new
We’ll always be here for you. Happy New Year!
CHAIRMAN, PUBLISHER, FOUNDER
BOATU. S. PRESIDEN T
Margaret Bonds Podlich
CONSULTING EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Michael Vatalaro
MANAGING EDITOR Ann Dermody
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Ryck Lydecker
CONSUMER EDITOR Caroline Ajootian
ELECTRONICS EDITOR Lenny Rudow
John Adey, Bob Adriance, Don Casey,
Elaine Dickinson, Chris Landers, Tom Neale
PUBLIC AFFAIRS ASSOCIATE
PROOFREADER Regina Cruz
AR T DIREC TOR Carla Shamblen
Rick Kelvington, Marcus Floro
DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING
John Bratten, Advertising Sales Manager
William J. McVey, Jr.
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address change: 800-395-2628
Margaret Bonds Podlich
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