Senior Editor Roger S. Hewlett does not always stride through the office with a rolling gait, but still he does have a wind-etched face and a kind of splendid, rumpled, salty look about him, and there are times when he seems to be leaning into an indiscernible wind.
With good reason. Hewlett was a sailorman long before he was our boating editor, and he has always been passionate about the sport. It makes a happy journalistic combination. He works out this enthusiasm in two ways: as skipper and crew of his own 20-foot cruising sloop, Beta Cygni, in which he pokes around Long Island's south shore, and as commodore, as it were, of the boating activities that appear in this magazine.
Ever since Volume 1, No. 1, in which we depicted Prince Philip sailing and rowing, boating has been one of our, well, mainstays. And in this issue the Hewlett-directed crew reflects more of the scope of the sport. We move from the world championship unlimited hydroplane races on the Detroit River (page 22) to the remodeled 12-meter Columbia and her owner, Thomas Patrick Dougan (page 26), as they prepare for the America's Cup observation trials next week off Newport, and, finally, to the Pan-American Games' rowing trials at New York's Orchard Beach (page 44).
The production of this kind of boating package has kept Hewlett so busy he has not had much time for Beta Cygni this month, but it is a well-known fact that a boating man, if temporarily stranded ashore, delights in talking about boating, in writing about it, and even in editing other people's boating stories.
"To me, a boat is something that matches your soul's yearnings," says Hewlett, dry-docked in his office. "The joy of boating is compounded of promises, and it excites with uncertainty. It speaks to man's longings as well as to his vanity, and to his pride as well as his humility."
And since all this heady mood emanates from a stone and glass and aluminum tower in the center of Manhattan, Hewlett is the first to admit that there is a lot of escapism in boating. Says Hewlett: "The desire to own a boat, or—more accurately, perhaps—to take one as a mistress, is prompted, I think, by a need, naive in many ways, to make a solid and tangible commitment to a dream. You will lavish foolish attention on her and make harsh and exacting demands, and in return she will share with you some moments that are good and some that are less good and some that are downright awful.
"But just often enough, when the sky is blue beyond belief and the water sparkles with the summer sun, when the wind is soft, yet strong and steady and blowing from just the right quarter, and when the shadow of a stay lies across a clean white sail you and your boat will share a moment near perfection."
And so saying, having lashed down his stories for this issue, Editor-sailor-man Hewlett has headed off on a vacation. He is, as you read this', almost certainly looking salty—and, we hope, squinting into the perfect sun and leaning into just the right wind.
HEWLETT IN HIS SALTY DREAM WORLD