Roger Duncan, Mentor and Friend to New England Sailors, Dies at 93

EAST BOOTHBAY — With the death of Roger Duncan, New England sailors have lost a mentor and friend who seemed as permanent as the rockbound coast of Maine that he loved so much.


A noted sailor, author, and for many years a teacher, coach and administrator at The Belmont Hill School in Massachusetts, Roger Fenn Duncan died on May 15. Originally from Scarsdale, N.Y., he was 93 years old.

Generations of cruising sailors have relied on Duncan’s best known work, “The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast,” for guidance in planning, and safely completing, voyages on the waters ranging from the Hudson River to the Bay of Fundy.

The first edition of the guide, written by Duncan’s father, Robert F. Duncan, and Fessenden Blanchard, was published more than 70 years ago. In 1961, Duncan and John P. Ware, Blanchard’s son-in-law, took over authorship with the guide’s fifth edition.

The 12th edition of “The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast” was published in 2002 with Duncan’s son and grandson as co-authors with W. Wallace Fenn and his son, Paul. Duncan remained the book’s principal author through publication of the 11th edition in 1993.

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