The Library Muse
On a recent trip to the Wolf River in Wisconsin with my buddy George we experienced a slight break in the fishing action. At times like this we tend to ponder life’s pressing questions and mysteries of the universe. Like, why would anyone want to drink lite beer? Or New York strips or rib-eyes for dinner? Ginger or Mary Ann? This time the question arose of right-hand drive. No, not on British cars (see Library Muse, October 2009) but on boats. You may have noticed that the majority of ski boats, bass boats and other water craft have the controls on the right side. Is there a link between British cars and boats? I know that Healey made boats and that Amphicars had Triumph drivetrains, but that connection seems a little tenuous. That theory won’t float. Oops, bad pun. I mean it won’t hold water.
I later discovered that there were several theories on the subject. My favorite states that the practice dates back to the days before motor power and stern mounted tillers. Boats were controlled by a ‘steering board.’ As most people were right handed, it was mounted on the right hand side. Naval vernacular bastardized that term into ‘starboard.’ When the boats moored at the pier they tied off on the left as not to pinch the board between the side of the boat and the quay. Hence the term ‘port side’ for the left. The tradition continues. On today’s boats the throttle and other controls are mostly hand operated, not foot controlled. By keeping the controls to the right the cables and lineages can be run along the right gunwale and take up less useable deck space.
The First Seventy Years
Mike Hawke, 2000, 213 pages, photos and illustrations
This volume was donated to the club by Steve & Jan Selan back in 2001 for the CMGC’s 25 anniversary, but it is worth another look today. The year 2000 was the 70th anniversary of the MG Car Club (England). This book is a history of the club and some of its more prominent members. The story behind the Nuffield Cup, which we won several years ago, is explained. Did you also know it was won in 1959 by the Chicago Centre? Affiliated clubs and registers throughout the world are also highlighted, including Chicagoland. How many members can you recognize in our club photo? Was it taken at Abingdon, Illinois?
|-- ~~ Bill Mennell