VERO BEACH, Florida — Roger C. Taylor, who brought his family to Rockport and Camden in 1969, died of a heart attack while playing tennis, a game he loved, on January 31, 2022 at his home in Vero Beach, Florida. He was 90 years old.
He graduated from Harvard University, 1953, with an Honors Degree in American History and a commission in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Atlantic Fleet for four years, first in a destroyer, then in a diesel submarine; and for sixteen years in the Ready Reserve, retiring from the position of Commanding Officer, Submarine Reserve Division 5-7, Baltimore, Maryland.
He then earned a Masters Degree in Journalism from Boston University and moved to Annapolis, Maryland, where he served as Editorial Director of the U. S. Naval Institute from 1959 to 1969.
In 1969, Roger moved to Maine with his wife Priscilla and four children, where he founded International Marine Publishing Company, in Camden, “to publish good books about boats.” IM published books on sailing, cruising, yacht design, and boat building, including his own Elements of Seamanship and the Good Boats series, which inspired many sailors to dream of and many times build and sail a variety of handsome craft, many of which might have been otherwise forgotten. Roger contributed much to the revival of the appreciation of classic yacht design and to what is today a vibrant wooden boat culture.
In the 1970s he was a member of the Camden-Rockport School Board, serving as Chairman for part of that time. Aside from family, tennis, and all things Red Sox, his true passion was the water. He could be seen on many a day at lunch time, rowing some small craft or another in Camden Harbor, sustained by a cup of chowder from Ayer’s Fish Market.
A self-described “certified boat nut,” he was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and raised in Westerly on the banks of the Pawcatuck River. He claimed that his first command was a seven-foot punt that he rowed as a tiny child on the Pawcatuck. He went on to captain yachts in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Chesapeake Bay, New England, and on ocean and coastal deliveries. He taught sailing and seamanship at the U. S. Naval Academy, the Wooden Boat School, the Maine Maritime Museum, and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, where he also captained their two vessels, Philadelphia II, a replica of one of Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War gunboats and the Lois McClure, a replica of an 1867 sailing canal boat. He once estimated that he had handled over 300 different vessels under sail, oar, and power. All who sailed with him admired his calm, quiet confidence at the helm.
In 2001, together with his wife Kathleen, he began a two-year cruise that actually lasted 18 years on the rivers and canals of Europe on board a small Dutch powerboat.
He authored nine books and many articles on boat design and seamanship and published and edited over 250 marine books over a period of 28 years. His final work was a two-volume biography of L. Francis Herreshoff, published by the Mystic Seaport in 2018 and 2020.
Roger is survived by his wife Kathleen Carney; and by his children, Roger Jr., Dean, Rebecca, and Stephen, and grandchildren Rachel, Ben, and Lucy, all of Seattle, Washington.
He is also survived by several nephews and nieces including Adrienne and Christopher Franklin, Clare Papke, Agnes Joy of Lincolnville, Rachel, Whitehall, and Arthur Stokes, and Christopher and Michael Juckiewicz.
To all of these he conveyed his love of good boats and good design.
Assisting with the arrangements was Strunk Funeral Home, in Vero Beach, Florida.