I have this awful feeling that the poem 'Thole Pin Rhythm' has set off another long-running blog obsession with lobstering, like the punt gunning thing. Visiting intheboatshed.net today, I followed a link to the Casco Bay Boaters Blog which is a horde of lovely stuff about the coast of Maine. And what should I find but a story of Tom Jarvis, who tends his lobster pots in the old fashioned way, in a dory powered by oars working in, of course, thole pins. Just like the poem.
The dory is as simple as it could possibly be - no centreboard or rudder, just a mast stepped in the forward thwart and setting a lugsail. He rows out and sails back, steering the boat with one of the oars.
He can't make a living out of it, of course. He is a highly qualified engineer working on sound-proofing systems for marine engine rooms, and rows out to his pots most days either before or after work. Which is why he rows and sails rather than roaring along in a fibreglass dory with a couple of monster outboards on the back. It's just fun, he says. And he is so right.