Monday, December 19, 2016

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

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Today was a special day.  I visited my buddy Arthur-  up and about 9 days after a successful heart transplant - his second.  The first - as a young man - held up for 25 years +/-.   I brought him a copy of the 2017 Calendar of Wooden Boats by Benjamin Mendlowitz - the house photographer of the wooden boat community in tiny Brooklin, Maine - a center of superb craftsmanship.  I introduced him to the great sailboat designer Joel White who died 19 years ago.

The great essayist E.B. White wrote about the Maine lake where Arthur's family has a cottage - and On Golden Pond was filmed. - gwc

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

by Richard Goldstein

'There's a certain amount of dewy-eyed enthusiasm about wood that gets a little sticky sometimes,'' Joel White once said. ''People can get so caught up in the Zen of the thing, they sometimes forget what a boat is really for.''

Mr. White was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of the essayist and author E. B. White and his wife, Katharine, who was fiction editor of The New Yorker. The family moved to a farm in North Brooklin, Me., in the mid-1930's, and the son became immersed in a lifelong love of sailing Maine's coastal waters. He built a 19-foot boat named Martha, in honor of his daughter, that his father sailed after adding his own touch -- carved dolphins, four on each side of the bow, decorated in gold.

One of E. B. White's most enduring essays, ''Once More to the Lake,'' written in 1941, tells of a trip with his son back to the freshwater lake where the father spent vacations as a boy.

Mr. White attended Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he obtained a bachelor's degree in naval architecture in 1953. After working on boat building in Newport News, Va., and serving in the Army, he returned to Maine and assumed ownership of the Brooklin boating facility in 1960. His son Steven has been owner and president of the boatyard since 1986.

He was the author of ''Wood, Water & Light: Classic Wooden Boats'' (Norton, 1988) with photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz. Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt called it a ''lovely work'' that was ''untainted by snobbery.'' Mr. White read from his father's essays, poems and short stories in a recent audio cassette, ''White on White.''

The editor and writer Roger Angell, Mr. White's half-brother, said that ''he really was a Down Easter. He was reserved in his emotions and instinctively modest.''