Soundings - - Mail Boat -

Thanks for the won­der­ful ar­ti­cle about Ma­tini­cus Is­land [“Un­der­way,” Au­gust, “My Happy Place”]. I love that area, hav­ing been there for the first time nearly 10 years ago on my hon­ey­moon, which we spent aboard the schooner Amer­i­can Ea­gle for seven nights.

My wife and I are avid boaters and spend most sum­mers aboard our cruiser in the Great Lakes. I have not yet been to Ma­tini­cus but may add it to our next jour­ney out that way. The ar­ti­cle vividly paints a men­tal pic­ture of the area, and it was a joy to read.

Tim Hoehn Michi­gan City, In­di­ana

Mary South did a great job with “My Happy Place” in the Au­gust is­sue. I’ve spent a fair amount of time sail­ing Mid­coast Maine but have never vis­ited Ma­tini­cus Is­land. Her de­scrip­tion of the is­land is evoca­tive, and I can see it in my mind’s eye. It sounds like an idyl­lic des­ti­na­tion, and if by chance there are few hu­man in­hab­i­tants and no ca­ble TV, I would con­sider it per­fect.

My wife and I keep our re­stored lob­ster boat on a moor­ing in Booth­bay Har­bor as a home base for ex­plo­ration. It ap­pears that Ma­tini­cus is the in­verse of Booth­bay — where “in town” can ri­val a Bar­num & Bai­ley pro­duc­tion — but we are for­tu­nate to be aboard Lucky Lady in a quiet cove.

We bought the Lady in 2011 from the es­tate of Tom­mie Sas­sard, an East Booth­bay lob­ster­man who had her built by John Wil­liams Boat Co. in 1977 and fished her year-round un­til his pass­ing at age 84. She is a Stan­ley 36 that was one of Jock Wil­liams’ first fiber­glass lob­ster boats, and her mold was a wooden hull built by Ly­ford Stan­ley. Tom­mie named her in honor of his wife and painted her bur­gundy, his wife’s fa­vorite color. Lo­cal lob­ster­men still stop me on the water and ask if it’s Tom­mie’s boat.

To re­spect her his­tory and lin­eage, I saved all the de­tails I could dur­ing her restora­tion. I kept her name and color, and her davit, hauler and orig­i­nal wheel are still on board. She was in tough shape when I first saw her af­ter two years on the hard, but af­ter hear­ing her his­tory and meet­ing Tom­mie’s wife (at age 86), it was love at first sight. Bob Ful­mer North Con­way, New Hamp­shire by Pat Mun­dus was (in­cor­rectly) ti­tled “Dead Reck­on­ing: Old-School Nav­i­ga­tion.” The cor­rect term is de­duced reck­on­ing, which im­plies that the re­sult of one’s ef­fort is due to an anal­y­sis of var­i­ous premises (course, speed, cur­rent, etc.) lead­ing to a premise (one’s po­si­tion).

It’s easy to imag­ine why de­duced reck­on­ing was of­ten ab­bre­vi­ated as ded. reck­on­ing, which then com­monly be­came printed and spo­ken as dead reck­on­ing. To quote a pub­lished source: “The term is be­lieved sim­ply to be a cor­rup­tion of de­duced reck­on­ing.”

If the ar­ti­cle had been ti­tled “De­duced Reck­on­ing,” the writer could have ex­plained how and why it is now mis­spelled.

Rick Wei­land She­boy­gan, Wis­con­sin

Ed­i­tor’s note: There is no short­age of de­bates and the­o­ries on this topic. Some say “dead” is, in­deed, a cor­rup­tion of the ab­bre­vi­a­tion of de­duced. Oth­ers sub­scribe to the the­ory that “dead” in this sense refers to “ex­act” — think dead wrong. Still oth­ers be­lieve the term was dead reck­on­ing from the be­gin­ning and that some­one as­sumed the deriva­tion from de­duced. A lengthy and en­ter­tain­ing ex­pla­na­tion is on­line at straight­ (search key­words “dead reck­on­ing”). Thanks for the con­ver­sa­tion starter, Rick.

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