was a homemade boat that didn’t look too good but had a fast
bottom. At that time, co-drivers were the norm, so Junior and
his co-driver took off in the race. As usual, Junior was way out in
front but then began to drop back and ended up in second place.
Turns out they hit something and blew a hole in the bottom of
the boat. The incoming water added too much weight, resulting
in that second-place finish.
The next heat was coming up real fast and Junior, being
Junior, wasn’t about to let a little thing like a hole in the bottom
of his boat prevent him from racing! He found a piece of
plywood to cover the hole. He instructed his co-driver to stand
on the plywood, holding it in place, until he could get the boat
up on plane. We slid the boat back in the lake and off they went
just in time for the race.
This is just a typical example of the never-quit attitude
that he used to grow Checkmate boats from nothing into a
successful business. And though Checkmate changed hands
and Junior has been out of the picture for a long time, while he
was there, many knew Bill Combs as he made his mark in the
boating industry. Charles Slater
Notes On The Timeline
I enjoyed your timeline of boating events in the April issue. One
minor quibble: Matt Rutherford wasn’t the first American to
circumnavigate the Americas solo and nonstop in a sailboat. He
was the first HUMAN to do it. That makes it a record that can’t
be broken. He can only be tied in craziness if someone else does
it in a 27-foot sailboat. Greg Walker
• • •
One accomplishment that should be included among the many
BoatU.S. has achieved on behalf of boaters is the creation of the
free Mobile Maritime Service Identity (MMSI) registration
program. It continues today, and is a potentially lifesaving
program. Few remember that when Rescue 21 was in its infancy,
the federal government’s “solution” to registering boaters’ DSC
radios was to force everyone back into FCC licensing, then
$160. At that cost, plus the licensing hassle, most radio owners
wouldn’t have bothered, and the huge safety advantage of DSC
would have been lost. BoatU.S. saw a looming problem and
found a way to solve it, one of the Association’s best traditions!
Congratulations on a stellar magazine issue that covered so
colorfully the amazing history of BoatU.S.
13 Lucky Tools (And A Great Tip)
Thanks for the excellent periodical, as always. In reading “ 10
Top Tools” (April 2016), I noticed some omissions that may
have been casualties of limiting the list to 10 items. I’d add
cable ties – for so many uses, including clearing small passages.
ViseGrips – a no brainer. And a two-foot-long flexible retriever,
offered as both magnetic and mechanical spring fingered.
I prefer the mechanical as many shipboard items are not
magnetic. Maybe expand the list to the “Lucky 13”?
Mark D. Ryan
Richmond Beach, WA
• • •
Thank you for another great article by Tom Neale. Regarding
the magnetizer/demagnetizer. Most of the screws on my boat
aren’t attracted by magnets, so I keep a glob of butyl tape handy,
which I stick on the tip of the screwdriver to hold a screw.
Spring City, TN
Captain In Training
“This is Charlotte Grace, better know as Charley, our 4-year-
old granddaughter, on her first boat outing,” writes Donna
Dyer. “After breakfast at a Kentucky Lake restaurant, her ‘Pop,’
Joe Dyer, gave her boat-driving lessons as she sat
in his lap playing Captain.”
How Many Dog
Years Is That?
“This is Hannah, drying
off after a morning swim
in Lake Michigan aboard
Mulligan II, the 34-foot
Tollycraft that’s been
our baby for 31 years,”
writes Larry Gritzinger.
“Mulligan II has seen
two other spaniels come
and go in that time, but
I think Hannah enjoys
that spot just as much
as her predecessors.”
SEND PHOTOS! We’d love to see photos of you, your
family, and friends enjoying great times on the water.
Email the high-resolution version to us with your name
and address to Letters ToEditor@BoatUS.com and tell
us who or what’s in the photo.