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 straightdope.com (search keywords “dead reckoning”). Thanks for the conversation starter, Rick.