The 43 Sundancer by Sea Ray, winner of a Motorboating magazine "Best Bet" award.

The Sea Ray 43 Sundancer won a Motorboating magazine "Best of the Year" award.

Every major manufacturer, Sea Ray included, have had slowdowns in production this year that have required downsizing of their work force, but the team at one of America's most prolific manufacturers, Sea Ray, can take heart in an onslaught of recent product recognition.

Last month, in a post called Best Boats & Engines, I mentioned their top scores in two categories in a post about the J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction study, but the kudos kept coming, as reported in the Boat Trader Insider yesterday. Trailer Boats magazine picked the 270 Sundancer and 230 Sundeck for Excellence in Design awards. Motor Boating magazine then named as a Best of Year boat the 43 Sundancer, and Boating magazine picked the 230 Select Fission as a “Best Bet.”

The Caribbean island of Dominica

The Caribbean island of Dominica

Meantime, on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, former Sail magazine senior editor Tom Linskey and his wife, Harriet, have also been busy collecting something that falls more in the psychic award category.

Since packing up their house, selling their inshore cruiser, and buying a Dolphin 46 cruising catamaran about 18 months ago, TL and Harriet have been getting used to living aboard again and have started up their Hands Across the Sea non-profit project. This month they’ve been on Dominica delivering 10 boxes of childrens books to the Newton Primary School and building a bookcase for each classroom to house the books.

TL built bookcases with help from principal Jerry Coipel, a teenage volunteer, Jonel Lawrence, other cruising sailors, and several "assistants."

TL built bookcases with help from principal Jerry Coipel, a teenage volunteer, Jonel Lawrence, other cruising sailors, and several "assistants."

TL writes:
We spent five weeks volunteering at Newtown Primary. Harriet tutored remedial readers, organized the teachers' resources room, unpacked and sorted the Hands-donated books, and substitute-taught on a few occasions. Meanwhile, TL purchased lumber and supplies and built 12 bookcases, one for each classroom at the school. Constructing the bookcases was a team effort -- the school principal, Jerry Coipel, spent his Saturdays sanding and painting with us! It's been a real joy to see the students and teachers cluster around their bookcases, picking out exciting books. The teachers have new books to read aloud and students have a variety of books to choose from when it's time for silent reading. Thank you to everyone who donated books or made a tax-deductible cash contribution to Hands Across the Sea.  We have been fortunate to witness firsthand what your contributions mean to these students — and we've been amply rewarded in hugs!

Please click here for the latest Hands Log, including photos, or go to the Hands Photo Album -- guaranteed to brighten your day.

John Burnham