A Unit of Water, a Unit of Time

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 6, 2012 - Transportation - 320 pages
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In a time when racing boats are mass-produced from synthetic materials, a dying breed of craftsman continues to build wooden sailboats of astonishing beauty. Boatbuilding is an ancient art, and Joel White was a master. Son of the legendary writer E.B. White, he was raised around boats and his designs were as sublime and graceful as his father's prose. At a boatyard in Maine, White and his closely knit team of builders brought scores of his creations from blueprints into the ocean.

In June 1996, six months after being diagnosed with cancer, Joel White began designing the W-76, an exquisite racing yacht. It was his final masterpiece. Douglas Whynott spent a year at Brooklin Boat Yard, observing as this design took shape, first in sketches and then during the painstaking building of the wooden craft.

The result is the poignant tale of both a genius at work and the people devoted to his art. Evoking E.B. White's New England and its salty residents, A Unit of Water, a Unit of Time is a classic portrait of dignity, charm, and humble magnificence-and of a maritime community that keeps a vanishing world alive.

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A unit of water, a unit of time: Joel White's last boat

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For this heartfelt tribute to boatbuilder Joel White, son of writer E.B. White, Whynott (Giant Bluefin, LJ 5/1/95) spent a year in Brooklin, ME, watching and writing about the building of wooden boats ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Douglas Whynott is the author of "Following the Bloom" and "Giant Bluefin." He has worked as a piano tuner, apiary inspector, blues pianist, and dolphin trainer. His writing has appeared in "Outside, " the "Boston Globe, Reader's Digest, " and many other publications. He lives in New Hampshire.

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