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Anyone who has spent any time messing around with boats - and wooden boats in particular - knows that those cunning curves, endless seams, and rotting wood hold more than practical challenges. All boats have histories, some more poignant than others, but few narratives have captured the mystique of a boat's provenance (in this case Chris Craft) or depicted more touchingly the ties that boats often create between father and son than this classic of remembrance and resurrection by Joe Soucheray. First published in 1989, Waterline is - at least on the surface - the story of the author's struggle to restore (properly) an aged and almost derelict seventeen-foot Chris Craft Deluxe utility motorboat. The restoration of old boats in serious trouble seems to have been a family ritual; whenever there was a family crisis or emotional upheaval, the author's father had proceeded along similar lines. This link between father and son, and between the men and their boats, forms the emotional substrate of this wonderfully winning and moving narrative. It tells the story, really, of two restorations: one of an old boat and the other of the relationship between father and son. Waterline is the detailed story of a three-year qrestoration projectq that ends in both triumph and tragedy. It is the story of how physical work can bind us together in ways we only dimly understand, and of how nothing can be more satisfying, more challenging, more obsessively engaging than bringing an old boat back to life.... deck of his own fiberglass speedboat, the Rinker, a twenty-footer, with the 260 horsepower, 350 cubic-inch stem-driven MerCruiser. ... I noticed that Harry had made progress with the wiring, that color-coded wires were bolted to terminals on the starter, and that the brass oil ... It was starting to look like an operable engine.

Author: Joe Soucheray
Publisher:David R. Godine Publisher - 2002-01

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