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Old 21-05-2010, 17:30   #1
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Roger Duncan Passes Away

Roger Duncan, the primary author of The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast for many years passed away at age 93 on May 15.

Before GPS - or even Loran - "The Guide" was carried by virtually every cruising sailboat in the North East US - especially if they had any thoughts of visiting Maine. First published by his father in 1937, Roger Duncan and his wife spent every summer from 1960 to the mid eighties sailing their Friendship sloop Eastward up and down the cost writing of the set of the tide, the mid channel rock that didn't show on the chart, the place to find a blueberry muffin ashore, and how a British armed sloop was put to flight off this island in the 18th century.

I was one of the many who got their first real taste of cruising under sail with "Duncan" open on the chart table. 35 years later, I still carry it and wouldn't try the passage north of Swans Island without it regardless of the advice of the three networked chart plotter that are aboard.

Here's a brief excerpt at the start of the section on far eastern Maine:

"To be headed east by Schoodic bell before a summer sou'wester with
Mount Desert fading astern and the lonely spike of Perit Manan light
just visible on the port bow is about as close to perfection as a man
can expect to come on this imperfect earth....

...The gregarious , the inexperienced navigators, and those who like to
dress up and go ashore for dinner will be happier west of Schoodic."

Perhaps he's east of Schoodic now....


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Old 21-05-2010, 18:06   #2
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Carl, that was a beautiful post. What a wonderful guide Duncan produced. If there's a fiddlers green, I'm sure Roger is enjoying it now. Thanks for posting this, Chris


Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!
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Old 21-05-2010, 19:01   #3
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My apologies. It is "Petit Manan" and the typo is mine not the Guide's.

Here's a picture of the Petit Manan lighthouse on a sou'west afternoon. Less fog than can actually see it
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Old 21-05-2010, 20:43   #4
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For the past 30 years, Roger Duncan's Cruising Guide has been my constant companion on board too. His colorful stories and anecdotes added to my appreciation of the unique character of the Maine coast and its inhabitants. I have read and reread Eastward, his book chronicling a summer cruise Down East, with great pleasure. I will also miss his column in The Working Waterfront. Even though I have never met him, I felt he was a friend.

I have seen "critics" complaining that the Cruising Guide was outdated, but the Guide is still the best source of information and advice about the tides and currents and local wind conditions on the New England coast.
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