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Commentary: Family Business


All apologies for what will surely be the most self-indulgent column of my career. But, you see, my son, Alex, graduates today from journalism school at the University of Oregon and I’m feeling nostalgic. Alex has marked some major milestones with me during my career covering the high-performance boating world, and three memories in particular have me reeling.

About a year after I started at Powerboat magazine in 1995, editor Eric Colby and I took Alex for his first boat ride off Ventura, Calif., in the magazine’s “project boat,” a 27-foot Formula. Alex was four years old, and I had him strapped tight to me in one of those kid-backpack things. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the safest setup—it wasn’t the only time in the past 21 years I wouldn’t be nominated for a “Father of the Year” award—because if I got tossed overboard he’d go with me. But I can still remember him laughing and pulling my hair as we rode along. Eric took it easy, but for Alex it was his first thrill ride.

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