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Commodore’s Column

Dear Fellow Sailors:

With the 2023 issue, Voyages is again a high-water mark in cruising publications around the world. In fact, this issue takes us around the world through our members’ sailing stories. Editors Bob and Ami Green, who generously donate their time and talent to this endeavor, have assembled a collection of 17 sea stories from Alaska, Nova Scotia, the Mediterranean, Hawaii, Spain, Antarctica, Ukraine, the Atlantic islands, and Cape Horn. In addition, our inveterate club photographer, Dan Nerney, shares some of his favorite images, and we get a peek inside two books authored by CCA members: Former Voyages editor Zdenka Seiner reviews The Boy Who Fell to Shore by Charlie Doane, and member Larry Hall reviews Sailing a North Sea Pilot Schooner: My Years Aboard Tabor Boy by James Geil. This issue is replete with mariner tales to entertain and inspire. Simon and Sally Currin plot a creative Annapolis–Nova Scotia round trip by bike and sail. Max Fletcher, Lynnie Bruce, and Rudy Guiliani share whimsical excerpts from the updates they sent family and friends during their transatlantic passage. Jill and Rod Hearne mark their transition from sail to power with the story of their family’s European cruise. Jil Westcott draws from the Moon Shadow logbook to share how she and husband John navigated COVID travel restrictions in Portugal, Gibraltar, and Spain in 2021.

Some places leave a mark on our souls, as Bob Rubadeau reveals in his reflection on the mystical allure of Maine’s Roque Island. The tragic war in Ukraine has stirred up memories for Marjorie Robfogel, who sailed Ping to the Black Sea harbor of Odessa in the early days of glasnost Adventures at sea often prove to be both thrilling and harrowing, like Ellen Massey Leonard’s challenging trip between French Polynesia and Hawaii with husband Seth aboard Celeste. Not all yachts see their final destination, as Louis Meyer attests in his account of abandoning his sinking Pilot 35,

Strummer, off Gran Canaria — but that wasn’t the end of his story! Ron Shaper, meanwhile, recounts with humor an illfated escapade aboard his Dyer sailing dingy.

Adding racing prep, Peter Gibbons-Neff explains what goes into the planning and execution of entering and sailing the 2023 Mini Transat.

For some of us, sailing is our vocation. Erik de Jong takes us aboard Bagheera as he travels to Alaska to help repair the Sea Lion Cove Trail, and Skip Novak regales us with another highlatitude story, this time aboard Vinson of Antarctica with a team of geologists who study the arctic basin.

Sometimes the boats we sail are stories in themselves. Candy Masters recounts the 13-year restoration of a 1950 steel yawl. First-time contributor John Youngblood tells us how he graduated from small-boat sailing to undertaking an Atlantic islands circumnavigation aboard High Cotton. And a stint aboard the training ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl is the impetus for Bob Lux’s Cape Horn reunion with Norwegian friends.

Even commodores get to go sailing once in a while, and I share my account of sailing Aphrodite in CCA’s 2022 Newfoundland Cruise.

As you begin the new year, be sure to see Gary Jobson’s movie, The Cruising Club of America: Sailing the World for 100 Years. You’ll find it on the CCA website and on YouTube.

So there you have a road map for some great reading. A big “Bravo Zulu” from Shawn and me to our editors and all our members who have lovingly shared their sea stories.

About the CCA

The Cruising Club of America is among North America’s foremost resources on offshore cruising and racing and, together with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, co-organizer of the legendary Newport Bermuda Race. The club is comprised of more than 1,356 accomplished ocean sailors who willingly share their cruising expertise with the greater sailing community through books, articles, blogs, videos, seminars, and onboard opportunities. Ocean safety and seamanship training through publications and hands-on seminars is a critical component of the club’s national and international outreach efforts.

The club has 14 stations and posts around the United States, Canada, and Bermuda, and CCA members are actively engaged with the next generation of ocean sailors as they look forward to the club’s second century of serving the offshore sailing community. For more information about the CCA, visit

Bermuda * Boston * Buzzards Bay Post * Gulf of maine Post * narraGansett Bay Post Bras d’or * ChesaPeake * essex * florida * Great lakes new york * PaCifiC northwest * san franCisCo * southern California


Chronicles of the Cruising Club of America

cruising club officers

Commodore – Christopher L. Otorowski

Vice Commodore – John R. Gowell Secretary – Molly Barnes

Treasurer – Kathleen M. O’Donnell

voyages editors

Amelia and Robert Green

voyages committee

Editor of Final Voyages – David P. Curtin (BOS)

Past Issues Manager – Cindy Crofts-Wisch (BOS/BUZ)

Editorial Advisors: Dale Bruce (BOS/GMP), Doug Bruce (BOS/GMP), Lynnie Bruce (BOS/GMP), John Chandler (BOS/GMP), Doug Cole (PNW), Max Fletcher (BOS/GMP), Bob Hanelt (SAF), Cameron Hinman (PNW), Amy Jordan (BOS), Charlie Peake (NYS), Krystina Scheller (BDO), Brad Willauer (BOS/GMP) editors emeritus

Alfred B. Stamford, 1962-1974; Charles H. Vilas, 1974-1988; Bob and Mindy Drew, 1988-1994; John and Nancy McKelvy, 1994-1999; John and Judy Sanford, 1999-2002; T.L. and Harriet Linskey, 2002-2010; Doug and Dale Bruce, 2010-2017; Zdenka and Jack Griswold, 2017-2021

design and layout

Amelia and Robert Green; Claire MacMaster, Barefoot Art Graphic Design; Tara Law, Artist; Hillary Steinau, Camden Design Group


Amelia Green; Virginia M. Wright, Consultant; Editorial Advisors printed by

J.S. McCarthy Printers, Augusta, Maine

cover photo

Dog Star reaches past Mount Desert Island as she cruises Down East, Maine

See Bob Rubadeau’s On Watch with Peabo on page 42.

copyright notice

Copyright 2023, The Cruising Club of America, Inc.

Copyright 2023, respective author(s) of each article, including any photographs, drawings, and illustrations. No part of this work may be copied, transmitted, or otherwise reproduced by any means whatsoever except by permission of the copyright holders.


4 Newfoundland Cruise by Commodore Chris Otorowski, Pacific Northwest Station, Narragansett Bay Post

16 A Portfolio of Dan Nerney’s Photography by Dan Nerney, Boston Station, Buzzards Bay Post

34 Spain to Maine A Non-Stop Transatlantic Voyage During COVID by Max Fletcher, Boston Station/Gulf of Maine Post

42 On Watch with Peabo by R. J. Rubadeau, Boston Station

50 Memories of Sailing to Ukraine by Marjorie Robfogel, Chesapeake Station

56 Rock Collecting on Svalbard by Skip Novak, Great Lakes Station

66 Something Different by Erik de Jong and Krystina Scheller, Bras d’Or Station

74 Looping New England by Bike and Boat by Simon and Sally Currin, Boston Station

82 High Cotton Undertakes an Atlantic Islands

Circumnavigation by John Youngblood, Boston Station

92 Close-Hauled to Hawaii by Ellen Massey Leonard, Boston Station

102 Preparing for the Mini Transat Race by Peter Gibbons-Neff, Chesapeake Station

110 Reunion at Cape Horn by Bob Lux, Boston Station

118 Misadventures in Europe by Jil Wescott, Boston Station, Narragansett Bay Post

126 Things Work Out by Louis Meyer, Essex Station

130 Selling the Dream by Candy Masters, Pacific Northwest Station

134 Making Dreams Come True by Jill Hearne, Pacific Northwest Station

142 Ides of March by Ron Schaper, Florida Station

144 Book Review - The Boy Who Fell to Shore by Charles Doane

Review by Zdenka Seiner Griswold, Boston Station, Gulf of Maine Post

145 Book Review - Sailing a North Sea Pilot Schooner My Years Aboard Tabor Boy by James Geil (BOS) Review by Larry Hall, Boston Station, Buzzards Bay Post


Salutes to departed members. Edited by David Curtin, Boston Station, Buzzards Bay Post, and Robert Green, Essex Station

168 GUIDELINES for Final Voyages, Photos, and Articles

170 LAST WORDS from the Editors

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Newfoundland Cruise

The long-anticipated Newfoundland Cruise finally happened in July 2022. This was the first CCA cruise to Newfoundland in about 30 years, and Bill Bowers and the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club did a beautiful job organizing it. The run-up involved numerous Zoom meetings with members of the RNYC and multiple year-long delays due to COVID exigencies.

We had the newly published CCA Cruising Guide for Newfoundland to educate us and keep us off the many underwater granite boulders. The recommended gear list included long underwear, gloves, lots of fleece, bug repellant,

and foulies. What our inveterate organizers did not know was that we were destined to experience perhaps one of Newfoundland’s finest two-week stretches of weather ever. Sunshine greeted us most days, and the temperature was often in the 80s. We did have a bit of rain, including a short drenching downpour, at Bonavista, and again at Barrows Harbour. Because the weather was so spectacular, the winds were not, which led to a great deal of motor-sailing.

History of NewfouNdlaNd

Newfoundland has a population of roughly 520,000 hardy souls, half of whom are in St. John’s and environs. It is often

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Chace Anderson’s Bonnie Rye in Pope’s Harbour.

Leif Ericson arrived in Newfoundland in approximately 1001 AD.

described as the “most Irish place outside of Ireland” and used to be known as the Dominion of Newfoundland before surrendering its sovereignty to the British Commonwealth in 1933. In 1949 it joined the Canadian Confederation and later was joined with Labrador to form a province.

The geography is harsh but inviting, the result of tectonic plates shifting over millennia to produce dramatic rock formations, like the headland on which the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse sits and the Long Range Mountains, which have been determined to be the northernmost section of the Appalachian Mountain chain — another common bond we have with Canada!

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Andrew Kallfelz, Elizabeth, and vice commodore Jay Gowell, departing St. John’s on July 23. Area of cruise.

Newfoundland has a history of human habitation going back 9,000 years. Leif Ericson arrived in Newfoundland in approximately 1001 AD. Nearly 500 years later, John Cabot, with King Henry VII’s charter in hand, landed on the Bonavista Peninsula on June 24, 1497 (the precise date is in question) and then again in 1499 and 1500. Later, the Portuguese Crown claimed Newfoundland as its own and began taxing the codfishing trade. In 1583 the island came under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. Newfoundland was valued for its proximity to the Grand Banks, one of the world’s richest fishing grounds. Cod fishing ruled. Over the next 100-plus years, Spain, England, and France fought for control of Newfoundland. In 1825 Newfoundland achieved official colonial status in the British Empire, and in 1907 it acquired dominion status, which meant self-government.

During World War II, when German submarines were attacking merchant ships in the North Atlantic, the United States built air, army, and naval bases on Newfoundland, which brightened the economic picture for Newfoundlanders who had been hit hard by the Great Depression. After the war, a population-transfer policy led to 30,000 Newfoundlanders

being relocated to “growth centers” with better infrastructure within the province. Three hundred communities were abandoned under that policy.

In 1992, a moratorium was placed on cod fishing because the cod population had been depleted by the overfishing brought on by advanced trawler technology. The moratorium put thousands of Newfoundlanders out of work, forcing them to look to other occupations to sustain themselves. Today, a very

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“ ”
On the flybridge of the Moya C with Anne Kolker, RNYC commodore Moya Cahill, and Elizabeth Gowell.
Some local fishermen side-tied to us after we docked and presented us with several pounds of filleted fresh cod. This was an early indication of how friendly and outgoing Newfoundlanders are.
City of St. John’s.

small quota allows for some commercial cod fishing, and individual anglers have a reasonable daily limit.

tHe Cruise

During the cruise, Shawn and I were joined on Aphrodite, our Swan 68, by CCA members Jay and Elizabeth Gowell and Andrew and Julie Kallfelz, as well as Captain Murray Jacob and first mate Alex Charney. Still being a working stiff, I was unable to take the time to sail to Newfoundland, so Murray, a crusty but lovable Aussie, brought Aphrodite from Newport to St. John’s. We flew in on a very long red-eye flight from Los Angeles by way of Toronto. Aphrodite was at the dock in St. John’s along with heavy-duty commercial vessels. We spent the next day provisioning for the two-week trip.

Many of the 12 other participating vessels had the good fortune to sail to St. John’s from Maine and other points, including stopping in the French territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon on the southwest tip of Newfoundland. They had some challenging winds and seas both coming and going.

On Saturday, July 24, we departed St. John’s at 8 p.m. in plenty of evening light for an overnight motor-sail to Bonavista, the first rendezvous point of the cruise, about 90 miles to

the north. The weather was calm, and we were treated to a welcoming sunrise and arrived in plenty of sunshine. Some local fishermen side-tied to us after we docked and presented us with several pounds of filleted fresh cod. This was an early indication of how friendly and outgoing Newfoundlanders are. That day, during one of the cruise’s two short rainy spells, we had a welcoming BBQ dinner on the docks, a tour of the reproduction of John Cabot’s vessel, Matthew, and got to know our RNYC hosts, including Commodore Moya Cahill.

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Morning routine on Aphrodite. Aphrodite’s dress ship day in the town of Trinity.

Cruisers enjoy “the best fish and chips on the island” at Chucky’s in Happy Adventure, Bonavista Bay.

It became evident immediately that Moya’s effervescent personality and energy level were going to be tough to keep up with. Solo-skippering the 50-foot wooden powerboat that her father had built for fishing about 50 years ago, she guided our group with enthusiasm, knowledge, and true

friendship, even hosting a dinner at her country house near the RNYC facility at Long Pond.

The next day we departed for Barrow Harbour on the Eastport Peninsula, which along with Avalon (St. John’s)

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Cape Bonavista Lighthouse.

and Bonavista, is one of three main peninsulas in the area we cruised. The bays in between these peninsulas are about 10 miles wide and 30–40 miles long. Barrow Harbour is a naturally secure and spacious anchorage which attracted French and English ocean-going ships for centuries. The RNYC members had planned hikes at nearly every anchorage, and the next day Bill Strassberg and Mark Lenci led a bushwhacking expedition over some heavily forested hills to Bishop’s Harbour, returning to Barrow Harbour with serious moisture falling from the sky.

On Wednesday the 27th, we motored to the fishing and lobstering village of Happy Adventure for the legendary fish and chips at Chucky’s restaurant. The weather again was in the 80s! We then took off to South Broad Cove for a quiet night’s anchorage.

On Thursday we sailed (mostly) back to Cape Bonavista, winding up in Catalina, where we docked at a fishing pier and entertained a number of local residents aboard Aphrodite, drawing on our well-provisioned victuals.

Friday was a long day of motoring along the southern shore of Bonavista Peninsula to the village of Trinity. Puffins and other seabirds greeted us, as they did on nearly every day of the cruise. We sighted whales and dolphins in the large bays between the peninsulas many times.

After a BBQ dinner in Trinity on Saturday, we collectively learned that we should all keep our day jobs since our karaoke talents would definitely not pay the bills. We sang karaoke again at the RNYC clubhouse later in the cruise with the same result.

On Sunday, we toured Trinity and drove to Port Rexton for lunch and darts at its brewpub. Our luggage, which had been living in the Toronto airport for eight days, finally arrived via taxi from St. John’s, a 3½-hour drive away. We did a dress ship and hosted a rum keg party for 50 onboard Aphrodite, following the running of the Trinity Cup won by Bill Bowers and crew. Andrew experimented with the drone that he had brought and produced some fun pix. He proved to be expert, and the drone safely returned to him on board.

Monday, August 1, brought us to Trayton Harbour, a centuries-old and abandoned outport settlement. Most boats were able to get into the beautiful inner harbour, but with

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St. George’s Heritage Church, Brigus. Local puffins.


Clockwise from upper left; Marc Lenci and Chace Anderson; Julie Kallfelz and RNYC commodore Moya Cahill; Jay Parsons and Kim Crosbie; Andrew Kallfelz and Elizabeth Gowell filling rum keg. Stunning sunset in Pope’s Harbour. The cabin is accessed from a helicopter pad just behind the building.

our 11½-foot draft, we anchored just outside. Swimming and hiking were the order of the day, and it was a gorgeous one. After this fun stop, our fleet went in a few different directions. We motored to Pope’s Harbour and enjoyed some cocktails aboard Mark and Bev Lenci’s Friendship Four. Andrew found a great spot to fly his drone, capturing some nice footage of Chace Anderson’s Bonnie Rye at anchor, the CCA burgee hoisted and flying.

Our next stop on Tuesday was the town of Brigus. To get there, we went around the tip of the Avalon Peninsula through Baccalieu Tickle (“gap”) and into Conception Bay. Brigus was the home of the world-famous late-19th/early-20th-century explorer Robert Bartlett, who spent 50 years sailing arctic waters and navigated Admiral Peary’s expedition to the North Pole.

We visited the Bartlett Museum and his house, now a revered structure that details his many exploits and honors. Bob Bartlett became the CCA’s first honorary member in 1924, and he remained an honorary member until his death in 1947. The faded 1924 letter from the CCA secretary was prominently displayed along with the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Awards, and Explorer Club photos. Perhaps his most memorable expedition was one that ended in disaster near Alaska when his ship became trapped in ice and eventually sank in 1914. He led his crew over the ice for months ultimately arriving on terra firma in Alaska. The story is the subject of many books, including Last Voyage of the Karluk. His leadership was akin to that of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance. An excellent documentary about this life, “Bob Bartlett: Arctic Adventurer,” can be seen on YouTube.

For the last several days of the cruise, we sailed to Long Pond and anchored near a grain terminal since our draft would not allow us to get to the RNYC clubhouse, which we accessed by dinghy. We took a bus tour to different highlights

around St. John’s and toured the St. John’s Museum, the Quid Vidi brewery, and other sights. We enjoyed the food, drink, and hospitality at the RNYC, and on Friday August 5, we were “screeched in” as Newfoundlanders and had to kiss the cod. The Saturday gala dinner was held under the tent at the RNYC clubhouse. It was a wonderful and fitting end to the cruise, with new friends made and a firm resolve to get another cruise to Newfoundland scheduled soon.

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Bill Strassberg leads the way as yachties stretch their legs on distant shores. Moya C rafted alongside Aphrodite.


Aphrodite Chris and Shawn Otorowski

Arrowhead Steve and Cindy Berlack

Bluebird Gust and Jan Stingos

Bonnie Rye

Chace and Dane Anderson

Carlota’s Promise Paolo Scheaffer and Charlotte


ConverJence Bill and Linda Bowers

Friendship 4 Mark and Bev Lenci

Highland Flyer James and Lea Watson

Ocean Wanderer I Erwin and Dianne Wanderer

Passage Peter and Lynn Noyes

Too Elusive Kitt and Diane Watson

Ventus Edward Silver, Invited Guest

Visions of Johanna William and Johanna Strassberg

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Happy Adventure, an outport village with a population of 118. Cruise chair Bill Bowers, winner of the Trinity Cup with Kris Drodge, RNYC vice commodore.


On our tour of St. John’s, we were invited to climb the 59 steps to the Crow’s Nest.

“At the height of the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, in 1942, St. John’s was the home port for the Newfoundland Escort Force, a handover point for the critical supply convoys. The Crow’s Nest Officers’ Club served as a retreat for the remainder of the war, where allied naval and merchant officers could relax, share their stories of victory and loss, and have a home-cooked meal.

“The club has become a living museum, owned and supported by volunteer members, that commemorates the contribution of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve, and the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve during World War II.

“The Crow’s Nest Military Artifacts Association (a registered charity) conserves, preserves, documents, and displays the hundreds of artifacts related to the War that have been collected.”

The docent in residence gave fabulous talk about the Crow’s Nest while we enjoyed the libations. To watch a wonderful 32-minute video about the Crow’s Nest, visit


A screeching-in ceremony for nonNewfloundlanders involves a short recitation, a kissing of the cod, and a shot of Newfoundland screech, a cheap, highalcohol rum. The lead-in to the shot of screech involves answering the question, “Are you a Newfoundlander?” The correct answer is, “Indeed I is, me ol’ cock! And long may yer big jib draw!” We were properly screeched-in, but with one modification: prior to kissing the cod, we were required to down a small dried bait fish. Being tough CCA members, we did what was asked — and having done it, there is no need to be screeched-in again, thank heavens.

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Shawn and Chris screeched-in. Max Clark and Moya Cahill present Crow’s Nest souvenir to Bev and Mark Lenci from Friendship Four.

Keg party for fifty aboard Aphrodite

Special thanks to Jay Gowell for sharing his cruise log notes for this article.

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Chris is the current CCA commodore, having previously served as vice commodore, secretary, and GAM editor. He serves as secretary of the National Sailing Hall of Fame at the Sailing Museum in Newport and as secretary of the New York Yacht Club Foundation. Chris and Shawn live on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and make frequent trips to their 1805 house in Newport, Rhode Island.

Chris and Shawn have been serious sailors since 1980 when they purchased a Ganbare 35, Mustard Seed. After cruising and racing her in the Pacific Northwest for a decade, they purchased a 1978 Swan 39, Rocket J. Squirrel. They were aboard Rocket when she lost her rudder in the 1992 Victoria to Maui Race 600 miles west of San Francisco. She was rescued by a 200-foot Coast Guard cutter, which towed her back to Sausalito. After Carl Schumacher’s new rudder design was fabricated, Rocket was trucked to Newport. Over the years, Rocket has successfully cruised and raced in New England as well as in three Newport Bermuda Races, Key West Race Week, and Antigua Race Week. Rocket is tucked away for the winter at the Jamestown Boatyard. From 1995–1998 Chris and Shawn owned a Swan 51, Splash Tango, sailing her transatlantic in 1996 and cruising France, Italy, and Sardinia. They acquired a Swan 46, Aphrodite, in 1998 and cruised the Med for 15 summers and the Caribbean in the winter and raced her in the 2015 Transatlantic to the Lizard and Cowes, three Swan Cups, and the America’s Cup Jubilee in 2001.

They purchased a 1993 Swan 68 in 2018 and renamed her Aphrodite, thereby saving on embroidery expenses (ha!). She had been decommissioned a few years and was gathering marine dust in a shed in Roseneath, Scotland on the Clyde, when they found her. Launched and re-christened, Aphrodite is now back in the Caribbean for her fifth season and will be headed to the Med again next summer to be part of the Mallorca Cruise.

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A Portfolio of Dan Nerney’s Photography

t This photo marks both the start of the 1970 Newport Bermuda Race and the start of my photographic career. I called upon Bill Mussel, then an officer in charge of the Castle Hill Coast Guard Station, to put me with his son and another photographer on the Brenton Reef Light Tower, which had replaced the old lightship as the pin end of the line. There were 170 entries in six classes that year, so the classes were much larger than the 17 classes that started in 2022.

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p In the 1980 America’s Cup Race, Dennis Conner’s Freedom defeated challenger Australia, skippered by Jim Hardy. This was the New York Yacht Club’s last successful defense of the cup. pYachts participating in the annual 1978 Southern Ocean Racing Circuit are pictured in the Gulf of Mexico after sailing out of Tampa Bay. I miss the colorful spinnakers and bloopers that they flew in those days.

t America’s Cup challenge boat Kiwi Magic, aka “the plastic fantastic,” is seen on the wind in Gage Roads off Fremantle, Australia, during the Louis Vuitton Cup series in 1986. Constructed of fiberglass in New Zealand, Kiwi Magic was the first America’s Cup entry not built of wood or metal.

u Australia II crosses the bow of Liberty in the penultimate leg of the seventh and final race of the 1983 America’s Cup races off Newport. The cup has travelled the world since, and it may be some time before this event is held in these waters again.

q U.S. Coast Guard coxswains train on a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat in Peacock Spit at the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington. Classes to train coxswains are held at the National Motor Lifeboat School in Ilwaco, Washington, every January, when the seas are roughest.

Dr. Garry Fischer’s Tempo sails past a half-mile-long iceberg north of Newfoundland. The photo was taken from his dinghy. Helmsman Dick Goennel.
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t The late Jim McHutchison (BOS) and family sail their Concordia yawl Wizard in Bras d’Or Lake. Jim’s daughter Heather, now a Boston Station member herself, is at the helm. pCruising near Paihia Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

u Top: The closest racing in the 1986 Louis Vuitton Cup was in the finals between Kiwi Magic and Stars & Stripes. Skippered by Dennis Conner, Stars and Stripes won the series 4-1. Conner and his crew benefited from the heavier air. The Kiwi boat was designed for lighter winds.

Bottom: Ranger, the only white hull in the 2017 J Class World Championship fleet, crosses ahead of Topaz and Hanuman as they approach the finish line.

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p The Nourjian family cruises Buzzards Bay on their CAL 36 Impromptu. Bruce on the helm, and son Gregg, far right, are members of the Boston Station. pJJ Fetter, on the helm, and Amy Iverson on a 470 in San Francisco Bay. t The USCG Barque Eagle, an entry in the 1984 Tall Ships Race from Bermuda to Halifax, sails in a 25-knot breeze east of Kitchen Shoals. Five of the six entries in the 2017 J Class World Championship run to a mark just north of the Pell Bridge in Narragansett Bay.

p The Russian ship Kruzenshtern departs Boston for Halifax in 1986. This 375-foot, four-masted barque, built in Germany in 1926, was one of shipping company F. Laeisz’s famous Flying P-Liners. Originally named Padua after the Italian city, the boat was given to Russia as war reparation in 1946 and used as a fisheries training vessel in 1976.

t A cadet swabs the deck of the Russian ship Kruzenshtern enroute to the July 4, 1976, New York Tall Ships Parade.

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t The bowman appears to get ready to drop the kite in light air. The number 1 jiptop sail is already hoisted and the head sail is flying to windward, set off a pole, as they approach the leeward mark.

q The fore-topmast man assists the topsail and main staysail through the rigging while tacking upwind. Both sails remain aloft during the maneuver.

Competitors in the 2006 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship scream for room as they near the first weather mark.

White Crusader was a British entry in the Louis Vuitton Cup, shown here, tacking on a typical day off the coast of Fremantle, Western Australia.

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This photo, shot from a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from about 75 feet, captures the dangerous conditions the ”Coasties” endure on one of their training sessions in a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat.

The United States Coast Guard’s National Motor Lifeboat School in Ilwaco, Washington, uses the waters of Cape Disappointment to train coxswains. The cape’s name is credited to early explorers whose efforts to find a bay in the area where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific were met with disappointment. The area is also called the Graveyard of the Pacific because of the number of shipwrecks there. Coast Guard training takes place in the winter when the surf is roughest and predictably constant for training rescuers. “Coasties” earn respect when they finish a course at “Cape D.”

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PHOTOGRAPHER DAN NERNEY refuses to call what he does glamorous and maintains a modest attitude about success, yet his work has set an enviable example within the small, competitive circle of top marine photographers and beyond, especially among those captivated by the beauty of boats.

In his early years, his artistic talent earned him a place at the Rhode Island School of Design, arguably the country’s premier art school. There he specialized in graphic design, which included a course in photography under the famous Harry Callahan. During summers in Woods Hole, he worked as a darkroom technician and projectionist and spent his free time in a Cape Cod Knockabout. Nerney graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree and what might seem to have been custom training for his future profession.

He served five years in the Coast Guard, three as an officer of the deck and two as a public information officer in Boston. Among his more enviable responsibilities was that of press officer for the 1967 America’s Cup races. He then went to work as a graphic designer in Cambridge and formed a partnership for audiovisual work. In 1973, he took a break to sail the Southern Ocean Racing Conference and upon his return became art director of the magazine now named Sailing World. He began to focus his energy solely on the camera in 1976.

Nerney’s marine work has graced many of the world’s yachting publications, major newspapers, weekly news magazines, and books. He hesitates to claim a definable photographic style, but believes that his art and graphic design background has had a pronounced influence on his work. He has photographed one Olympiad and 12 America’s Cup challenges for Time and Sports Illustrated and many sail and motor racing events for Rolex Watch USA. He is the official photographer of the New York Yacht Club. He also shoots powerboats, baseball, and motorsport racing. When not behind the camera or in front of a computer, he enjoys painting landscapes.

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A Non-stop Transatlantic Voyage During COVID

In February 2020, I locked the companionway hatch of our Nordic 40 Juanona at her winter slip at Real Club Náutico Portosin in Galicia, Spain, expecting to be back in a few short weeks to sail her home to Maine. Lynnie and I had enjoyed six remarkable summers cruising in Scandinavia and wintering in either England or the Netherlands. When I left the boat that day, I never imagined it would take 15 months before we were able to return due to the global pandemic. But on May 1, 2021, our temporary Dutch residency enabled us to return to Spain, and within a week we had Juanona ready to sail back across the Atlantic.

We hoped that our 26-year-old nephew, Rudy, could join us for what would be his second offshore voyage, but did not expect he would be allowed into Spain. But, Rudy holds a USCG Ordinary Seaman license, which potentially qualifies him for a Seafarer’s Exemption mentioned in the EU’s COVID travel regulations. Armed with that knowledge, he talked his way through three airport checkpoints and was able to make the voyage with us.

Our voyage covered 3,900 nautical miles and took 30 days. We carried an Iridium satellite phone for weather and emergency communications, and a Garmin InReach as a communications backup and to affordably stay in touch with friends and family back home.

Ken McKinley, a professional weather router based in Camden, Maine, helped guide us along the south side of the Azores and Bermuda Highs. He steered us clear of Tropical

Storm Bill, for which we turned around and backtracked 35 miles before heaving to in order to let it pass.

Following are excerpts from the every-other-day updates we took turns writing to send home to family and friends during our nonstop sail from Spain to our home on Orr’s Island, Maine.

May 19, The day before departure | Max

Having followed the May–June weather pattern for the North Atlantic for the past three years, we have been assuming we would sail southwest down to the trade winds, which typically gravitate north as spring turns to summer, and cross the Atlantic at something like 26–28 degrees north latitude before curving north to Maine. Possible bail-out stops could be the Canary Islands, Antigua, or Bermuda.

We received a preliminary weather outlook from our professional weather router that we may have an unusual opportunity to start our crossing tomorrow by sailing first towards the Azores — far farther north than anticipated and consequently far fewer miles to sail than the southerly route (where the earth is much ‘fatter’).

Day 2 | Rudy

Our first two days at sea have been excellent, with a fairly steady wind out of the northwest.

We have had a smattering of dolphin and whale sightings, with Max catching a large dolphin pod swarming around

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Preparing storm sails for tropical storm Bill.

Juanona on our first day, and he and Lynnie seeing a series of whales surfacing yesterday.

Lynnie has concocted a series of activities to keep us entertained, including memorizing a new Shakespearean curse every day. So, if you hear me later this summer mutter under my breath “Peace, ye fat guts!”, don’t take it personally. Or maybe do, but blame Lynnie too.

Day 4 | Lynnie

After contemplating a stop-over in São Miguel, we decided to continue on. If necessary, we’ll land in Bermuda to avoid a weather system and/or to top up our fuel. But our preference is nonstop Spain to Maine.

The crew are happily adjusting to living quarters. With some gymnastic and ballet moves, the three of us have managed to avoid bodily mishaps. The use of travel trivia and memorizing the best Shakespearean curses keeps us intellectually stimulated, and origami fish will soon be added to satisfy our arts-and-crafts skill set.

Day 6 | Max

We explored the possibility of motoring for a couple days, then stopping in Ponta Delgada to replace the burned fuel. We confirmed with the marina there that we could stop to refuel and immediately leave without having to go through their COVID quarantine protocol. The overall point was to have full or nearly full fuel tanks before heading off on the long mid-Atlantic stretch coming up.

In the end, we decided to be patient in the light winds, knowing that a front will be coming through later this evening, followed by a strong high-pressure system. We expect this system will give us another long stretch of favorable winds along its southern side.

We carry 92 gallons of diesel, which gives us at least 130

hours at modest RPMs, or about 650 nautical miles range. We’ve used only five gallons to date. Our solar panels have been supplying all our electrical needs.

We also carry 150 gallons of water in three different tanks, plus two jugs — I am fortunate that Lynnie is deathly afraid of running out of water and uses it sparingly. Rudy is being similarly careful. That said, we do take brief cockpit showers every five days. We have an on-demand propane water heater set to 100 degrees and can get clean with minimal use of water.

This evening will mark a week with neither political news nor alcohol. Perhaps indulging the first leads to the second. Instead, we’ve started to be reminded of the magnificence of the oceans and the heavens and have become a little more attuned to the rhythms of nature. It’s nice to be out here after such a strange and disconcerting year back home.

Day 8 | Rudy

Two days ago, we changed our course to the northwest in order to meet up with a storm front that promised good northeasterly winds in its wake. Lo and behold, this was a nearly perfect

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Galicia’s nutrient-rich waters left their mark during Juanona’s Covid isolation. The synoptic chart shows the large, stable High as we crossed the central part of the Atlantic. Our noon position each day with the path of tropical storm Bill indicated by red dots.

bearing for the island of São Miguel! For the next several hours, Max and Lynnie talked enthusiastically about their time in the Azores in past crossings.

With a poetic sense of irony, we were within 20 miles of the eastern islands when we passed through the storm front and turned to the southwest with a strong following breeze. I contented myself with my Azorean adventure of drinking decaf coffee at 3 a.m. and watching the lights of São Miguel and Santa Maria on the horizon as we passed between the two.

Day 10 | Lynnie

Just up from post-morning-watch nap and Captain Max announces a flying fish sighting. Trust me, this is big news because anything hopping out of the ocean becomes major excitement after 10 days at sea. To date we’ve seen dolphins, a school of fish, and whale spouts. Oh, and little squid plastered on deck.

Floating on a boat in the middle of the ocean for 240 hours offers points of reflection. I wish I could claim erudite or poetic moments, but no, not my forté. Rather, my mind roams the practical: how many cockpit shower days are in our future ... how many miles ’til we reach 32 degrees lat ... what if we hit a whale, or, what I worried about more last night, what if a whale

hits us... . All these thoughts and questions tumble around as Juanona runs, and stumbles on a southwest heading at speeds of high 4 to low 6 knots with the 7-to-12-knot wind.

Day 12 | Max

A front came through Monday evening and brought with it some much-appreciated breezes in the 14–18-knot range that we expect to last for a couple days. Later in the week, a highpressure system will settle in north of 31 degrees latitude. We are trying to get south of that high pressure in order to keep some reasonable breezes later in the week.

As the sailors reading this know, sailing downwind in light air can be tedious, and that was our lot for the previous few days. All Sunday night, the breeze was especially fickle, shifting from east-northeast to northeast and back again, all night long. Lynnie and Rudy did an excellent job on their watches, adjusting our course accordingly to keep the sails full. It made the difference between going, say, 3.5 knots and 4.5 knots in the gentle breeze. Unfortunately, when the breeze is unsteady, we are precluded from our preferred pastimes during night watches — reading or listening to music!

All is well aboard Juanona. The crew is extremely conscientious about keeping harnesses clipped to the boat anytime we are on deck — even if the seas are gentle and we are playing Oh Hell in the cockpit.

And yesterday, the crew completed their celestial calculations with good results. Both felt relief in realizing their plotted positions were close to the GPS latitude and longitude. Surprisingly, they refrained from celebrating with a coveted Snickers bar.

Day 13 | Rudy

With an inhuman groan, I plodded out of the aft berth this morning into the well-after-dawn sunlight to see the cabin of Juanona decorated with brightly colored streamers. A cry of

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(L to R) Rudy, Max and Lynnie clipped in 100% of the time when on deck. (Below) Rudy learned to make Sushi Rolls, one of Juanona’s boat meals.

celebration from the captain and first mate heralded my appearance. My mortal consciousness still returning, I looked around in confusion.

“We’re halfway!” Max explained, “in terms of longitude anyways! We passed 40 degrees west earlier this morning.”

Max completed our short celebration by producing a piñata, which is currently hanging from the central hatch. He also wrote up a message to put in an empty Linie bottle, an appropriately named Norwegian sherry saved for this purpose.

Day 15 | Lynnie

Gentle easterlies of 8–12 knots and rolling seas maintain a lullaby rock as Juanona sleds down hills of sapphire blue. Every now and then, she gives herself a shake, ensuring the humans aboard remain alert, then settles back down to 5–6 knots. As Max informed Rudy and me, this is typical trade-wind sailing. Fine by me, although I wouldn’t mind a bit more giddyupping — which we may soon enjoy when we reach 29 degrees lat and 15 knots of wind.

Since hitting our longitude halfway mark exactly two weeks out, we’ve slipped into a rather languorous existence. Other than repairing the ripped hem of our jib with sail tape on Wednesday, life has slowed waaaay down — which means each of us retreats into our own world of reading, crosswords, napping, snacking, and, the most exciting, origami fish.

Another main attraction is ship-spotting, several ships having not transmitted their location until within seven or so

miles from us. We average one a day now, and, if the mood hits us, we’ll radio the unsuspecting vessel and ask if they see us on AIS. Since one replied, “Yes, but you go in and out” over a week ago, this may not be as paranoid as it sounds. Of course, what I really want to ask is if they could drop off a spare head or two of lettuce. After 15 days, “green supplies” will soon describe both moldy and fresh.

Day 17 | Max

We’ve all been fascinated by what we think is a roseate tern that we see from time to time. One distinguishing feature is its remarkably long tail.

In recent days, I’ve found myself settling into a timeless dimension whereby I no longer calculate how long we’ve been out or how much farther to go. I can barely remember what day it is, and only our daily check-in with the weather expert gives any semblance of routine. In many ways, it feels we’re enjoying the surroundings and living in the moment, something hard to achieve in everyday life at home. I remember last feeling much this same way in 1985, on a long (52-day) sail across the Southern Ocean with my pal Rob Andrews.

Day 19 | Rudy

Good day, gentle reader!

It pleases me to have you join us again. Pull up a seat, help yourself to a warm (or cold) beverage, and please silence your cell phones.

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Mid-Atlantic sunset.

When we last left our noble heroes, they were westbound with good wind, easy following seas, and clear sunny skies. The breeze, however, has diminished in recent days. “Betrayal!” you cry. “You have been undone!” Rather not, Friend, for we can hardly complain about the performance of the wind thus far. It has only lessened to a small degree, even allowing us to fly the spinnaker yesterday afternoon. Its shifts and temporary gusts leave us with the impression of a tired steed, having served us along well and still seeking to carry us on tired legs and empty stomach. Take rest, Our Gentle Servant! Our engine can help us along for a time.

Instead, we reserve our enmity for the plague of sargasso weed. It never fails to ensnare our fishing lure and has thus far confounded all our attempts to deflect or avoid the passing swarms. We will continue to act as paragons of resilience, fortitude, and humility.

Wishing the best to you all, and thanks for humoring me.

— Second Mate Rudolph, Scribe Extraordinaire

Day 21 | Lynnie

To follow fellow crewmate Rudy in his lyrical Shakespearean riff: To go or not to go, that is the question ... regarding a landing in Bermuda. If the former, then Rudy and Max may venture to the spot where a wily ancestor got tossed onto the shores. If the

latter, then yet another sail-by for second mate.

Activities are attractions and distractions from boredom, whether folding yet another origami fish or answering the strategic query, “What’s for dinner?” Most meals now involve a load of tins. And because only disintegrating paper flows overboard, Juanona proudly struts aft a near-full meshed bag of said cans, along with two, soon three, small bags of garbage.

Meanwhile, back to cockpit cruising and cabin-berth surfing as Juanona pulls ahead with a flying spinnaker, bare puffs of wind, and fairly even seas. Only a startle now and then when the puff becomes more of a brief exhale, causing the spinnaker to drape and the watcher to jump, but it’s a small price to pay for eking out an extra half-knot of speed in the morning while the afternoon’s wind earned us up to a knot-and-a-half faster.

That was glorious yesterday, while today I begin my morning watch waking to the drumming of our engine, but a magical world rapidly replaced the mechanical vibrations under my feet with a tiara of stars above and rivers of phosphorus below. As I clipped in and tuned up my music, I danced to the call of sirens accompanied by Juanona’s swaying and the theme from Chariots of Fire. A solitary streak of a falling star added the final pixie dust. Heaven!

Day 23 | Max

We are grateful to Ken, our Camden, Maine, weather guru, for getting us from 009 to 059 west longitude (around 2,800 nautical miles) on five gallons of fuel.

Thursday afternoon we spotted a sailboat heading east. Lynnie hailed them on the radio, and they changed course to come say hi. They were French, bound for the Azores. It was a fleeting but heartwarming moment of smiles, waves, and picturetaking from a chance meeting of kindred spirits on the high seas.

We decided to forego a stop at Bermuda. We don’t need any fuel, and a serious weather system has brought rough winds and seas from Bermuda northward. Even if we’d wanted to stop, we would have struggled to get into Bermuda in the strong winds.

As Lynnie alluded, there is a Shakespearean overtone in these waters. The channel into Bermuda goes right past Sea Venture Shoals. In 1609 a British expedition was sent to relieve

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Solar Corona. Max surprised the crew with a Piñata at the halfway mark of the voyage.

the Jamestown Colony. The flagship, named Sea Venture, ran into a hurricane. After five difficult days, they spotted land and ran the sinking ship onto a reef. Everyone on board was saved, but they found themselves shipwrecked on a deserted island. The admiral ordered the men to build two ships so they could carry on to Virginia. But an ancestor of Rudy and me, Stephen Hopkins, fomented a mutiny, asserting that the fact of the shipwreck negated the contracts they had signed, and no one had authority over them. Going against the church and crown and their feudal system that had ruled Europe for centuries was cause for execution, and only Hopkins’ dire pleas for his life avoided that fate. Word of the shipwreck filtered back to England and was an impetus for Shakespeare to write The Tempest. Some historians believe the freedom-loving (albeit drunken) character Stephano was the persona of Stephen Hopkins.

Eleven years later, Hopkins found himself on the Mayflower when they were blown off course and anchored in Provincetown Harbor — not in the Virginia territory, where their contracts specified they would be awarded land in return for seven years’ labor. In a rebellion eerily similar to that on Bermuda, some of the Mayflower passengers threatened mutiny. After a 65-day voyage, before anyone was allowed ashore, the Pilgrim fathers (including another ancestor, William Brewster) hashed out a compromise granting a voice to all members in the running of their affairs — the “Civil Body Politic” established by the Mayflower Compact.

(Clockwise from top left) Bouncy conditions leave their mark. A new leak discovered during Tropical Storm Bill. Our V-berth became the laundry basket as we only hand-washed a few essentials over the 4-week passage.

Back to the present, where we have patiently waited out our own Bermudian tempest. We are confident Juanona will have a better fate than the Sea Venture. I am keeping a weather eye on my wonderful, but strong-minded crew for signs of mutiny, however. Fortunately I know what motivates them, and it emanates from the cacao tree.

Day 25 | Rudy

“Robust sailing” has been the term we have been throwing around since turning northwest towards Bermuda before the weekend. We have had consistent winds above 20 knots out of the southwest and rolling, crashing swells between six and eight feet. Riding in the cockpit has been a little wet, between water crashing on the foredeck and occasional rain squalls, and Juanona’s pitching has brought us all to wearing scopolamine patches. The conditions gave us some great boat speed, however, even flying only a twice-reefed main and the small staysail.

Currently, we have temporarily stopped our northward progress to allow a storm front to pass north of us and will

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return to our course as soon as it goes by.

I had originally thought of making a joke about Poseidon, the god of the sea, forgetting that we were out here for the last three weeks and deciding to hit us with several days’ worth of heavy wind and seas, but I didn’t think it was that funny. We had a reminder of the power of the ocean on Saturday, when Bermuda Radio reached out to us to help them get in contact with a singlehanded 32-foot boat named Ginny. She was last seen that morning drifting north of the reefs off Bermuda. We made hourly calls over VHF, but before long we had passed too far north of both the range of Bermuda Radio and Ginny’s likely coordinates. We hope the best for the captain.

Day 27 | Lynnie

Tuesday, I crammed myself behind the nav desk to start the update. This requires my left leg maintaining a precarious toehold with the floor while the right foot presses against the galley counter. All thanks to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bill, which we learned was roaring west to east this past Monday on a course uncomfortably close to us.

To avoid that piece of nasty weather, we performed a u-ey mid-morning Monday and headed south to get farther away from its projected path. That maneuver cost us all the progress we’d made in the previous eight hours.

As evening approached, Captain Max created a different sail configuration to accommodate being hove-to in a serious amount of wind: the main sail was lowered and tied down, a trysail hoisted on the mast instead, and a storm staysail replaced the stay sail. Perfect for remaining in place through the night until we felt comfortable continuing our course to the Gulf Stream — which we did Tuesday morning by unrolling a bit of the jib, giving us good speeds between 6–8 knots.

Now Wednesday morning has arrived and I’ve completed this update. As I head up to the cockpit, my 4:45-a.m.-alarmwakened-momma-bear grouchiness fades. I won’t allow myself to dwell on the partially wet, partially dry mountain of dirty clothes ... the number of days I’ve lived in those same clothes ... the issue of no fresh water pump working ... and how I’d trade a whole passel of Snickers for one crisp leaf of lettuce.

On that glorious note, I’ll sign off, but will leave you with a visual of the three of us sitting below, enjoying our one-pot meal last night. That is until King Neptune decided to up our winds. As forecasted, the wind accelerated from low 20s to over 35 knots before any of us could complete “what the——?!” as we abandoned our dinner and started stuffing our bodies into rain gear.

Just another reminder of who’s really in charge out here.

Day 29 | Max

On Tuesday we were able to sail across the Gulf Stream and noticed the striking change in water color from the deep, cobalt blue to cold green as we exited the stream. For the first time in seven years, it felt like we were back in home waters.

With 135 miles to go and favorable winds forecast, it feels

safe to say we will arrive back home at Orr’s Island tomorrow, and this will be our last update.

Our journey took 30 days and will have covered about 3,900 miles. We were fortunate to have strong high-pressure systems and a great weather router to help keep us in favorable winds most of the way — and out of harm’s way in the case of Tropical Storm Bill.

I’d like to acknowledge Lynnie and Rudy — they have been excellent shipmates on a long sail in close quarters. We have maintained a sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and fun, despite the many small annoyances that could creep in on a journey such as this. Also Juanona — she carried us home admirably despite having been neglected for a year and a half. I have a few to-do items, but overall she has been as reliable as ever.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to sail across the Atlantic with (my late father) Abbot’s grandsons, Christopher and Rudy, as well as with Lynnie (four times!).

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to utterly tune out from the noise of news and politics for a month and appreciate some of the wonders of the world. It’s a healthy thing to do now and then. Max,

Max Fletcher grew up racing and cruising in Maine. He has sailed extensively in New England and the Canadian Maritimes, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Ocean. On Christopher Robin, his Westsail 32, he sailed from Maine to New Zealand, across the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn.

Lynnie Bruce grew up in Virginia, where she sailed with her family before moving to Maine. Max and Lynnie were married in 2001. When not out cruising on Juanona, their Nordic 40, they live on Orr’s Island in Casco Bay, Maine. Together they have sailed from Maine to the western Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

Rudy Guliani grew up in Maine, where he taught sailing for many summers at a sailing school named for his grandfather, Abbot Fletcher. He was a member of the University of Toronto sailing team, and made his first offshore passage from Portland, Maine to the British Virgin Islands aboard Alida with Derek Ratteray (BDA) prior to joining Max and Lynnie to sail Juanona home from Spain. Rudy lives in Lisbon, Connecticut and works for Cross Sound Ferry.

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Lynnie and Rudy


A Legendary Shipmate Takes a Bow

ON WATCH ALONE at night is ripe with blind alleys and boogeymen. As my 90-year-old wooden ketch Dog Star works her way up a fickle wind through a dark restless sea, any mental gymnastics enlisted to pass the time on deck are seldom sedate or predictable. If you are tracking offshore, traveling after dark, and bound “far Down East” in Maine, the high odds of trouble in the wings always favor toxic anxiety driving your thoughts to the darker side of an active imagination. I embrace my familiar demons as old friends and trusted allies.

On this star-bright night, miles offshore of Petit Manan Light and the bell off Schoodic to avoid the pesky playing fields of inshore lobster traps, I sit alone in Dog Star’s cockpit with M. just settling into her bunk below. It is my turn to keep watch, and I struggle to wake up and fully relax in the cockpit while constantly checking

When you sail a boat older than you are, you are never alone, even when you are the only one on board.

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off the 20 or so important small telltales assuring my pathological pessimism that we are doing everything we need in this moment to keep the boat safe and on course. I try to blindside the nagging worry of the usual night terrors with past voyages, recalling other night watches over the last five decades. I firmly reject the cold, wet, and scary episodes while maneuvering my mulish brain to the highlight reel of what makes any lonely watch stand out from the rest.

Snippets and images from a salty memory and dated logbooks are especially vivid in the wee hours after midnight. Historic fragments are fueled by a potent chowder of congenial shipmates, their shared stories, the boats we sailed, and the

over-the-horizon destinations little known by our land-bound friends. Writers of sailing books are responsible for providing the excuses the rest of us use often to justify our strange passion for traveling by boat from port to port in the most dangerous, most expensive, and, by far, most likely the way to encourage disastrous outcomes. Our addiction to cruising is a common malady and has a long colorful history of serial practitioners.

I never met G. Peabody Gardner. He was born in 1888, blue-blooded, old money, St. Marks and Ivy League; my backstory is more plebeian. That doesn’t mean I don’t count Peabo as my dear friend and valued shipmate. Our voyaging legacies are joined together as fellow members of the Cruising Club of

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Roque Island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy is a magical and mythical challenge for all sailors. Landing at Great Beach is a potent rite of passage.

America, although his tenure was closer to the beginnings of our club’s first 100 years, while I am honored to still be around for the centennial festivities. This consummate sailor left behind a treasure trove of writings and adventures that supports the unquestionable tenants of what our venerable club holds dear: no place is too far, and the folks you choose to sail with are just as important to a cruiser’s bucket list as where you drop the anchor.

I only wish I could have sailed aboard Rose, Glide, or Aegean under Captain Gardner’s orders. Regrets are the wasteful fodder of a lazy mind, so I often choose Peabo above all others as my loyal watchmate when on deck alone offshore. Especially so when I am on my way to his beloved Roque Island. The archipelago of islands of which Roque is the largest were acquired in 1805 by Peabo’s great-great-grandfather, Joseph Peabody, one of Salem’s outstanding shipowners and merchants in the China trade. Ever since, except for a period of about 10 years, the islands have been in the possession of John Lowell Gardner’s descendants. Peabo was a rake, a scholar, and a gifted athlete. While at Harvard he won 10 varsity letters in four sports, was chairman of the student senate, cum laude graduate, and president of the Hasty Pudding Club. A born showman, he often played the lead in the Pudding’s productions. He died in 1976. We became shipmates shortly after that.

The ancient art of campfire storytelling is a witch’s cauldron of possible pitfalls and editorial calamities. In a cockpit at sea, although a captive audience is guaranteed, you do your shipmates a favor by learning to get to the point of the fable quickly and lead your ditty by deftly describing an exotic far-off place or a colorful sailor in a pickle. An important ingredient of any forgivable sea story begins with a self-effacing admission of stupidity or ignorance, followed quickly by a dramatic escalating dilemma of hardship and, inevitably, the episode peaks with the usual neardeath experience. Critical to the narrative’s successful delivery is the ability to share the pivotal facts with drama and decisive action; to always repeat the lesson learned at least three times; and to strive to be forthcoming with embarrassing lowbrow humor, both slapstick and gallows inserted whenever possible. Most importantly, the storyteller is obliged to craft a supremely satisfying ending with boat and crew finding safe harbor while enjoying a critical life lesson tucked under their belt.

Peabo Gardner was a fine writer with an impressive collection of celebrated nautical books to his credit concerning his far-flung sailing adventures. He could do a hair-raising sea story poetic justice. As I look up from the compass rose to check for ship lights, I’m startled. Tucked right there, lounging back under the dodger with his sou’wester hat crushed on his head, heavy rubber boots pointing aft, is Peabo himself. The stoic weathered face folds around a familiar friendly smile, and I return the favor. He winks hello. When you sail a boat older than you are, you are never truly alone, even when you are the only one on board. My watchmate speaks up in just a whisper above the workings of wind and gear.

Above: Red, the star of the show. Opposite page clockwise from top left: M. with a bucket of mussels; RJR approaching Roque’s Beach, moving past Double Shot Island; sign at Mistake Island; Moose Peak Light, Mistake Island.

“Generation after generation, Roque Island has exerted an almost mystical charm on all who go there. Children, when they first stumble and fall on its shores, clutch the sand in their hands like William the Conqueror and claim the very soil as their own … In the green sloping pastureland surrounding the houses, you begin to distinguish whitish patches that look like outcropping of rock. As the boat draws nearer, some of these white patches seem to move, proving themselves to be not rocks but sheep, a fact made doubly clear by the bleats and baas borne bayward on an offshore wind … I can hear in my memory now the loud, ringing hail from our boat as we neared the shore in the darkness. And then the mysterious thrill of seeing a lantern appear outside the farmhouse and come flickering down to the dock to meet us … To the east is Great Head, a perpetual source of joy to us who live on the opposite shore because of the fascinating, ever-changing play of light on it — especially at the cocktail hour, when it is hard to take one’s eyes away long enough to propel the glass to its proper place and angle.” (Gardner, Ready About, 1959)

I first experienced Roque Island the old-fashioned way: wet, cold, lost in fog, and trying to be brave in front of my wife and two young children. These were those distant dark days long before chart plotters, digital communications, and any possible emergency assistance, beyond divine intervention, within 50 miles of Jonesport. Our navigational tools were a depth sounder, a compass, a paper chart, and a bottomless pool of insecurity regarding my competence in the arena of sound judgement. If you haven’t sailed fog-blind, riding the entrance to the Bay of Fundy’s tidal maelstrom searching for the clanging buoy marking the Seahorse Ledges off Great Wass Island, using nothing but dead reckoning in a brick of fog for the final 20 miles, you probably don’t have white hair. Peabo and his crews of like-minded sailors were also seldom privileged to have a dot on any chart they could rely on as true unless they were

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anchored. His all-male companions, invited aboard for their entertainment value on his far-ranging cruises, were the icons of the international yachting world and provided the posh private club atmosphere in vogue during his many epic offshore escapades. Jim Minot was a constant shipmate, a business associate, and a valued partner in scores of Peabo’s noteworthy cruises.

“One of the things I like best about Jim is that he never pretends to have a good time, he just has it: and the setting doesn’t need to be elaborate. He never pretends that he doesn’t mind being cold or wet, either; he guards against the elements by putting on layer after layer of strange and wonderful apparel, but if the elements outwit him, there are no complaints. His laugh is no more restrained than his telephone voice…There are few dull moments when Jim is aboard; cozy chuckles and hearty laughs are either present or in the wind.” (Gardner, Ready About, 1959)

Those we choose to sail with are the gold in the vein of cruising. The danger and uncertain challenges we face in blue water under sail brings out the very best and the worst in all aboard. Those special shipmates who can routinely practice the graceful art of employing candor, humor, and empathy as the perfect tools to fill in the gaps between opposing viewpoints are the team you want aboard when things get dicey. I am often asked about my worst storm, the biggest wave, the most dangerous port, or the biggest boneheaded mistake I have ever made aboard boats. Looking back, the very worst personal and voyage disasters I have encountered offshore revolve around a random crewmember or two and their discordant lack of understanding and enthusiasm for the ship’s 24/7 workload, spoiling the experience for everyone involved.

Peabo sailed big boats with big crews, all his afterguard were old-school committed yachtsmen with big personalities. My watchmate nods his head at my sudden perp lineup of the gallery of aristocratic misfits from his own generation strolling through his books and stories. One was Horace “Hod” Fuller, a WWII war hero who parachuted into Europe before D-Day to soften up the opposition for the invasion, and later, for an encore, stormed enemy beaches in the Pacific. Hod retired a marine brigadier general, and he invited Peabo aboard his creative series of boats and charters for seven epic cruises that Peabo enjoyed and chronicled in “Grecian waters.”

“Full of charm, Hod is above all a sailorman, having gained early experience with sail and engine in a cruise around the world as an engineer and hand on a friend’s boat. On board his own yachts, he takes skillful care of his ship, fixing the engine or even the head when necessary. He is always willing to try out new anchorages, but with careful approach; eager to rely on sail whenever possible, but again a believer in not taking unnecessary risks — which after all is the mark of a good seaman … He is looked upon by his friends with admiration and affection. To them he is both loyal and tender, and I am proud to feel that I am one of them.” (Gardner, Hard Alee: Cruising Foreign, 1977)

My family’s nearly annual visits to the Roque Island archipelago began 40 years ago. Seldom has the trip between

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We soon anchor off the white sand beach. I take it all in, and a part of me fills up, then the cup spills over with what I call belonging.

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Roque and the ample amenities of Mount Desert Island been a piece of cake. The mischiefs of wind, tide, fog, pots, and boat maladies are constant companions for the nearly 50-nauticalmile, mostly open-ocean passage. If any captain plowing this trail is not fighting to control a growing anxiety, then they are not paying close enough attention to the facts slapping her or him in the face.

I share with Peabo my own encounter with a purely magic moment on awaking at anchor after a memorable Roque Island night 15 years ago. Two very extreme thunderstorms had come calling in the wee hours like snout-to-tail circus elephants. Dog Star was tethered securely in the dark lee of the Great Beach and, while I fretted, she safely danced a jig until dawn. Following the strong frontal passage, the thinning light fog finally gave way to wisps, the sun peaked over the outer islands of Double Shot and Anguilla. I climbed awestruck into Dog Star’s cockpit and Abaco jumped into my new morning with a jolt, unexpected, out of context, and drop-dead gorgeous. The Concordia yawl was squatting in the mists as a mirror image of us, holding fast to the bottom in her own spot only 50 yards down the beach. She hadn’t been there the night before, and no other boats had since tangled the perfect scene. We met Jon and Dorothy Goldweitz (BOS) that morning and spent the next month cruising up the Bay of Fundy and the St. John River in tandem. We have remained close friends ever since. That is just one of the many surprising and unexpected gifts this wonderful island has offered to us gratis. This chance collision of friendships aligns perfectly with my belief that spending time sailing to beautiful places you love with those you admire and care about makes a lot of sense.

The exception to this high calling is when foul weather conspires to spread the misery of uncomfortable survival to all onboard. Peabo agrees with a sage nod and shares his own slice of the going-to-weather experience easily appreciated by all true

I first experienced Roque Island the old fashioned way; wet, cold, lost in fog and trying to be brave in front of my wife and children.

sailors. Glide was a well-found wooden ketch, 50 feet overall, lovingly built, expertly managed, and ready for anything. She was tested often on her annual voyages way Down East. Peabo shared this tale:

“There is little ease or tranquility aboard the Glide the first few days of this voyage, for almost as soon as we had taken departure from Newcomb Ledge Whistler near Marblehead, we ran into trouble. We were proceeding under full sail, with a 15-knot south-southwest breeze, but the wind freshened so much that before dark we took down the jib, and by 3 in the morning it had increased to such an extent that I called all hands on deck to take in the mainsail. From then on, for about 44 hours, under only staysail and mizzen, we were making 7 knots or better. It was not a comfortable situation. Everyone was somewhat nauseated, and everyone was soaking wet. Seas kept slapping over the rail, at one time completely filling the cockpit. Everything that could go adrift, above deck or below, did

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so. Below, clothing and towels — anything hanging from hooks — swung about drunkenly ... An hour’s trick provided ample exercise for the helmsman; he had to spin the wheel constantly to try to avoid the combers that came slopping in great dollops over the side … Why, do you ask, should anyone who has reached maturity, or a bit beyond, be fool enough to subject himself in the name of pleasure to such hideous discomforts? I remember asking myself the question at the time. There is no logical answer. Miserable as I was, I nevertheless knew that when the experience was over, I should look back on it with curious enjoyment. Had I been offered at that moment an opportunity to be set ashore miraculously in the midst of all the comforts of land, I should not have accepted.” (Gardner, Ready About, 1959)

Coincidence is often fate giving you a poke in the chest and demanding you pay attention. Two pivotal targets on the chart that have shaped my own lifelong dreams and goals around cruising share the same exact degree of longitude and are located precisely 100 degrees of latitude apart. Braiding these two divergent points a world away from one another into one personal Greek saga has consumed a huge chunk of my sailing life. The Morris 51 HOMEFREE’s 16,000-mile voyage to Cape Horn began and finished on my watch right here at Roque Island. I shared Peabo’s company on many of those cold and tumultuous night stints at the helm as we slalomed around two pear-shaped continents, climbing through the Panama locks over the spine of the Americas, and finally reaching our turn-around point at 56 degrees south in the Drake Channel.

Peabo and I agree that all voyages toward far-off locales are best explained to family, absent shipmates, and pesky professional obligations in a repentant and disarming manner. I found that explanations for the long months I spent sailing away from my shore-bound obligations are much easier when viewed after the fact. Entertaining and honest narratives of any voyage must be long on self-effacing, hilarious confessions, require repeated references to the noble intent of the voyage, and express untethered fawning gratitude to those who had the power and largess to let it all happen, including the fickle gods of good luck and fortune.

“From then to Roque Island we had one of those sails it is worth waiting a whole season for — bright sun, no big sea, but dancing waves with white crests; all sails set and nearly close hauled. It would be impossible to not be in good spirits under such circumstances — not even a grumble by my crew when I set them to work polishing brass. Whatever you did — whether you steered, sat in the cockpit, lay on the deck, or stood in the pulpit to watch the sails pulling and the bow gaily tossing the waves aside — the day was perfection. We did not need daiquiris before our lobster luncheon on deck; but we had them, and nobody objected. It was early afternoon when we reached Roque Island. For the first time I was not wholly sure I was glad to get there.” (Gardner, Ready About, 1959)

As dawn seeps below through the open ports, M. is rustling around in the galley with the kettle and stove. I suspect morning coffee will soon be brewing. With the long slow ebb of the brightest morning stars, I can just see the razor wire of the horizon

far to the east in the Bay of Fundy on that long path to Nova Scotia. I marvel at a huge slab-sided beige fog bank holding fast a mile or so offshore to starboard and the outline of Head Harbor’s dark opening against the granite and wooded point of Black Head standing tall to port. I only need steer between them to find Chandler Bay, Mark Island, and the Thorofare’s twisted entrance to the Great Beach at Roque. I hide the satisfied smile from Peabo, but he sees it anyway. It is hard to get away with any secret twitch or a subtle tell from another storyteller. He puts his index finger to the side of his nose as a sailor’s goodbye salute and, as M. pops her head out the companionway with a hot cup of coffee, he is gone. That is Peabo’s way.

We soon anchor off the curving white sand beach. I take it all in through my pores in my skin and a part of me fills up and spills over the brim of a cup I call belonging. M. and I reheat the coffee pot and sit in the cockpit admiring the day in whispers so that we don’t spoil the stage or spook the players. No boats mar the milelong beach this early in the season, but a curious seal pup and a pair of ospreys on the hunt have already established their roles in this perfect morning. Peabo and I have pondered often about the strange breed of sailors who find their way to Roque Island. They come in all manner of craft from kayaks to mega-yachts. No one sails away the same sailor they were when they dropped anchor. This nearly mythical destination welcomes all those who are stubborn, resourceful, determined, and willing to shoulder the litany of challenges concerning tides, wind, fog, and weather on their own boat. Bring to the island your very best efforts as a navigator, self-sufficient cruiser, and explorer. Leave nothing behind but wonderment that such a place still exists today, and build yourself a legacy of embarrassing, bold, worthwhile memories around this life-changing experience. 2

R. J. Rubadeau (BOS/GMP) is an awardwinning author, columnist, journalist, and poet. His career and adventures as a professional blue-water sailor have been chronicled for over four decades in the world’s leading sailing periodicals. Bound For Roque Island: Sailing Maine and the World and Bound for Cape Horn: Skills for Expedition Cruising have won numerous awards for nonfiction books and nautical memoir. The author has honed his writing skills in various shoreside occupations: university lecturer, grant writer, newspaper columnist, elected politician, and speech writer for an Alaska governor (no, not that one!), plus 30 years as a professional political strategist and policy wonk. Rubadeau lives with his wife, Mary, and a posse of grandkids, dogs, and horses near Durango, Colorado. Each summer, Dog Star, the family’s 90-year-old Phil Rhodes-designed ketch, plies the cold, clear waters of New England and beyond, crewed by cherished hardcore friends and four generations of this seafaring family.

49 issue 65  2023

Memories of Sailing to Ukraine

Entrance to the Odessa yacht harbor basin.
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In early March 2022, PBS Newshour featured a report about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was filmed in the Black Sea harbor of Odessa. My husband, Jim, and I were flooded with memories of the summer of 1989 when we were able to cruise into that harbor with Ping, our Freedom 44. The irony of the make of our boat was not lost on anyone we met during that hopeful summer and would be even less likely today. In the news report, the harbor looked very much unchanged. The cement-block perimeter still appeared to be lined with old ships used for public housing. But the beach outside the wall that we remembered being crowded with sunbathers was now packed with citizens filling sandbags to be used as protection against the anticipated shelling from offshore Russian warships.

We spent a month in the then-Soviet harbor, able to explore the city of Odessa unsupervised but not permitted to sail to any other Soviet ports around the Black Sea. It was a time of glasnost; the Iron Curtain was starting to part, and the Berlin Wall would soon fall. The Soviets allowed approximately a dozen western yachts to visit Odessa that summer. Several Soviet boats sailed out into the Mediterranean. At the time, the words Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian were synonyms to me, but

the Ukrainians we met showed us otherwise. Sailors flew the Ukrainian flag as well as Soviet. They identified themselves as Ukrainians and spoke their own language, not Russian. Street signs were bilingual (being printed in the Cyrillic alphabet, however, they looked the same to us). Ukrainian national pride was obvious.

We were moored in the only harbor that permitted visiting yachts. It was manmade, constructed of cement walls jutting off the sandy shore near the Bolshoi Fontana Park, a few miles southwest of the city center. Like the Port of Odessa, which connects to the elevated city via the iconic Potemkin Steps, our harbor sat at the bottom of a wide staircase — 220 steps as I remember. The long climb to street level was a small price to pay to explore this beautiful city. We never saw a loose baby carriage careening down the stairs as one does in The Battleship Potemkin, the classic 1925 movie about the Russian Revolution, but the possibility of warships off that shore is quite real now.

Our original plan was to cruise the Black Sea, visiting Bulgaria, Romania, the USSR, and the north coast of Turkey. Jim had grown up hearing his grandmother’s stories about her youth in Moldova along the Dnieper River, which separates

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Moldova from Ukraine. After two summers cruising the eastern Mediterranean, we hoped to see some of Grandma Finn’s storied heritage. We had easily obtained visas to enter Bulgaria, where we’d visit Varna on the way north to Odessa, and Romania, where we’d stop in Constanta on the way south. Obtaining a Soviet visa for independent travel, however, had been the biggest challenge of the trip.

We’d heard of various ways to travel to the USSR. IBM president Thomas J. Watson Jr. gave a talk about sailing Palawan to Leningrad, in which he advocated “just go,” but boats that “just went” in 1989 were escorted away by the Soviet navy without being able to take on fuel or water. Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines was flying to the USSR and advertising tours. Susan Eisenhower, who was a member of our Rochester Yacht Club, often traveled there. We’d contacted these people, but no one could tell us how to get a visa. A chance meeting in Turkey with Reese Palley, the inveterate skipper of Unlikely VII, the first western yacht to enter Odessa in that era, gave us the key: We needed to be invited by a Soviet organization. Reese happened to have a form from the Odessa Yacht Club that could be replicated and used again. With that copied paper, magic occurred at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul — we got a visa. We did not understand at the time that the visa didn’t give us permission to travel throughout the Soviet Union; it gave us permission to be in a certain place, and that place was Odessa. We would not be able to visit Yalta, Sochi, and other ports as we’d planned.

Armed with those visas, we had set out from Istanbul. After motoring up the Bosporus, we anchored in Poyraz, a lovely Turkish harbor at the northeast end of the Straits. The next morning, we set off into the Black Sea. There were two U.S. DMA charts available, one showing the eastern half of the Black Sea, the other the western half. The British Admiralty had a few more charts, but no real detail of the harbors. There was no RCC Pilotage cruising guide to the Black Sea, although there is a good one available now. We had a lat/long position for the yacht harbor in Odessa and vague instructions about keeping distance off a military island near the entrance to the area. Never had we cruised without redundant charts, harbor guides, and solid information about where we were going and what we would find there. This was the Satnav/Loran era. One plotted one’s position faithfully on a paper chart. And we had little weather information. With Ham radio, we were able to copy various English-language weather forecasts from France and Greece, but they only covered specific local areas. The U.S. airbase in Rota, Spain, broadcast a forecast for the entire European basin in very fast Morse code. One long-range forecast was all we took with us at each departure. Looking back, it seems adventurous, this lack of information.

During our time in Istanbul dealing with consulates and visas, we thought we had heard about all of the yachts planning to visit the USSR that summer. Two other U.S. yachts were on the list — Reese Palley’s Unlikely VII

and the Katie II skippered by Alan Logan, a retired U.S. State Department official who spoke Russian. Imagine our surprise when we sailed into the Odessa harbor and were directed to moor alongside a large motor yacht from Palm Beach, Florida, with newscaster Hugh Downs aboard. He was traveling with a friend from New York whose mother had been born in Odessa in the late 19th century during the glory days of the free port. Like Jim, they made this trip to revisit that heritage. Hugh Downs was a sailor himself, having crossed the Pacific on his own yacht. He was very interested in us and the other U.S. boats. When a fuel truck came to the harbor to refuel his yacht, Downs arranged for the other sailboats to take on the truck’s remaining fuel. It saved us many dollars and many trips carrying jerry cans.

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Jim climbs the steps from the harbor to the street. Ping and Astraea moored on the Odessa yacht harbor wall.

So, what did we do for a month moored on the wall in Odessa? Filtered through the fog of 33 years, I have some specific memories, such as boiling a lot of drinking water for the two St. Mary’s College of Maryland sailing teams that had come to the yacht club to race quarter tonners in the Black Sea Regatta (a third American team, skippered by Ted Turner Jr., also raced). Their participation was part of a reciprocal arrangement that had found a Soviet crew sailing in New York’s Liberty Cup races in June. We had learned that bottled drinks, including water, were not available locally when we offered a Coke to a man who had helped us take on fuel. Apparently, he had never seen a canned drink and refused to take it. I boiled our water from the one tap on the quay as no one could attest to its safety. When the St. Mary’s crews were about to go off on an overnight

race, I offered to make them jugs of iced tea with boiled water. They were very grateful, but this started a daily routine of supplying them with water for each day’s racing.

During the regatta, it became clear that the host Black Sea Yacht Club wanted some of the visiting yachts to participate. Having been racers before we reformed and became cruisers, we did not like the odds: we were heavily laden with gear after cruising for several years in the Mediterranean, there was no handicap system, the Soviets wanted to place local sailors aboard our boat, the race might be overnight, et cetera. But the club had welcomed us enthusiastically, so we decided to participate by joining some of the other foreign cruising yachts in a day race, a 30-mile triangle that sounded good for our cat-ketch rig. We took on a couple of young guys who were eager to sail

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with the Americans. The race, however, was a big surprise. Our class became a match race with just two boats on our start — a 40-foot trimaran and us. The 30-mile course turned out to be six laps around a triangle of 1½-mile legs, not the long reaches we had looked forward to. We led off the start and to the first weather mark, but the trimaran soon zoomed past. Our biggest challenge became counting off the laps. It turned out that the “rating” consisted of overall length rather than any calculated or predicted speed projection. My assertion of their 120 feet of hull length was not appreciated. But it was a lovely day, and we enjoyed our local crew. Participating earned us an invite to the regatta party and friendships with the collegiate and Odessa sailors. Sometimes while cruising, we felt more like ambassadors than adventurers.

I fondly remember a day spent sailing with a group of women who had been invited to race in the September 1989 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship in Newport, Rhode Island. The regatta was to be sailed in J/24s, and they had never seen one, much less sailed one. I showed them a photo of our J/24, a previous Ping, and they invited me to go out with them to practice. They were sailing Polish-built imitations of the Peterson Quarter Tons, which sailed differently from a J but were analogous in rig and crew positions. I am not sure how much they learned about J/24s from me, but I was able to solve one of their big problems. Boats were available in Newport for them to sail the regatta, but they would have to bring their own sails. Finding a suit of J/24 sails was not going to be possible in the USSR. I contacted a friend on the Rolex committee, explained their situation, and sails were found. Now the crew thought I was able to pull strings, so they came to me with a request for top-of-the-line foul-weather gear. I sadly informed them that I had no connections in the sailing-gear

industry. The experience was informative, characteristic of the situation in the USSR at the time. Nothing was advertised for sale, but everything was up for finding, bartering, and negotiating. Asking directly was the only way to find out how to get something.

Ping was moored stern to a large cement wall that was part of a park area. A constant stream of seaside pedestrians stopped to comment on our U.S. ensign and photograph themselves standing next to it. Anyone who spoke English would pepper us with questions about where we were from and why and how we got there. They’d often offer us something — food, drink, an invitation to their summer cottage, or dacha. Our best contact was a woman who taught English and helped us translate when necessary. Her son was a merchant mariner for the Black Sea Shipping Company, which ran the yacht harbor as a recreational facility for its employees. He had access to western currencies while he was in foreign ports and thus could buy items like VCRs, cameras, and blue jeans. Western goods and information about them were highly valued. Books and magazines that we had aboard made great gifts.

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Cloockwise from left: Jim and Margy at the entrance to the Black Sea Yacht Club, founded in 1875. Margy in the cockpit of Ping with the Soviet team headed to the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. Jim and Margy with their Black Sea Regatta racing crew aboard Ping.

For about a penny, it was possible to take a trolley car into downtown Odessa. The most famous sight, the replica of the La Scala opera house, is featured on current news footage as a sign that Odessa has not been demolished yet. In perfect condition with abundant gleaming gold leaf, it reminds us that Odessa was an international city during the pre-Soviet years. Free trade with the Mediterranean and Near East thrived. The city was built with Italianate architecture, wide boulevards, and an elegant marketplace. We tried to see and do everything we could. We attended the opera, ballet, circus, dinner cabaret, and several museums and often shopped at the large covered market, Privoz.

Ihad provisioned for the entire summer, believing there would be nothing available to buy that we would want to eat. I was wrong — Odessa is in the center of a rich agricultural area, and bread, eggs, fruit, and vegetables — not to mention, smetana, an ultra-rich crème fraiche to be slathered on everything savory or sweet — were delicious and plentiful. Cheese was limited to one type of white cheese, like feta. Meat was unappealing. An order of beef would be “butchered” from an unrefrigerated hanging side of beef, not in any defined cut, but next off the carcass in a hunk the size you ordered. Chickens were sold feathered and warm just after having had their necks wrung.

We received many wonderful invitations to people’s homes and dachas. Most would tell us that they had never imagined speaking to an American, let alone having one in their home. We were not authorized to go outside of Odessa, but a couple we had befriended in the harbor invited us on an illicit daytrip to Kishinev, Moldova. They wanted to show us the area where Jim had imagined his grandmother living. To go off traveling with them was foolish on our part and certainly on theirs, but it made for a very memorable day of driving through the countryside, eating a picnic lunch on a collective farm near the Dnieper River, and looking at life outside the city.

We struggled with how to pay all these people back. Eventually Jim’s birthday came around, and we hosted a party on board Ping. We served American foods, such as hamburgers, potato salad, and brownies. Our big mistake was in letting it be known that it was a birthday party. Our friends came laden with gifts, so we hardly felt as though we had reciprocated their kindnesses. But we could tell that an all-day, all-night affair on board an American yacht was an appreciated first for many of them.

While cruising, I often find one souvenir from each place we visit that will evoke memories later. Living aboard means that it must be small and durable. Late in our stay in Odessa, we came upon a market where I found a collection of Russian and Ukrainian folktales for children, published in English with exquisite illustrations. I wondered who bought those books other than me. Perhaps they were meant to teach English to the young. Now I think of the children who read those stories and of their children and wonder where they are during this war and

whether they will survive it. And where are our sailing friends? We have lost track of the people we met there. The fact there is now war between Russia and Ukraine is tragic.

Our voyage to the USSR seems like fantasy now. It wasn’t about explorations, epic voyages, or conquering new seas. Which begs the question, why? Why “cruise” to the Soviet Union? Not for the scenery, although I believe that every place wants to be seen. Not for a sailing challenge, although the sailing was pleasant, with nice winds and passages to and from Odessa. Not for high adventure — the only truly adventurous part of the trip was motoring up the Bosporus through Istanbul into the Black Sea. That passage pits you against several knots of current, a 20-knot breeze, supertankers, cargo ships, naval vessels, a steady stream of car ferries crossing between Asia and Europe, fishing trawlers, small rowing dories, and no evident traffic control. In 1989, the buzz in the cruising community was that visiting the USSR could be done, and so it was. There was a sense that our world was opening to new vistas and that people would be in easier circumstances, have a better understanding of each other, and have more communication. We were just one American couple experiencing this new freedom to cruise to places and meet people heretofore closed off to us. 2


Marjorie Robfogel (CHE) grew up racing small boats on the Chesapeake. During graduate school in Rochester, New York, she joined the Rochester Yacht Club, where she met her future husband, Jim (CHE). They raced their Heritage One Ton Ping in the Great Lakes races then cruised on the deliveries to and from the races, a thousand miles from Rochester to Chicago. Margy and Jim discovered the joys of ocean sailing when invited to sail from Antigua to Newport on a 1981 delivery. They liked the Freedom 44 and realized it was easy to double-hand. They ultimately bought one, named her Ping, and began to dream of cruising afar. After a Marion Bermuda Race and a Daytona Bermuda race that were used as shakedown races, they sailed to Europe and cruised the Mediterranean, Black, North, and Baltic seas during the 1980s and 90s. Today, they continue to cruise aboard their sixth Ping, a Legacy 40, in which they have completed the Great Loop and explored the Great Lakes, U.S. East Coast, and the Chesapeake. They are members of Tred Avon Yacht Club, Rochester Yacht Club, and several cruising organizations. Margy is the past rear commodore of the Chesapeake Station.

An article about this Black Sea cruise was published in Cruising World in September 1991.

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Rock Collecting

The majestic Raudfjorden.

on Svalbard

You are never too old to learn — again. When taking Vinson of Antarctica, our brand-new Pelagic 77 expedition vessel, out of the River Hamble and into Southampton Water on a sea trial in March 2021, I had to think quickly on my feet and figure out the direction of those black triangles on west and east cardinal marks. I hadn’t sailed in UK waters in decades.

I had a further shock on the maiden voyage while steaming up the English Channel, through the Dover Straits at night, and into the North Sea: traffic separation schemes, buoys lit and unlit, wind farms and oil rigs to dodge, endless “heads-ups” advisories, Sécurités, and general chatter on the VHF channels. The Admiralty paper chart of the southern North Sea was indecipherable due to the amount of information on a scale of 1:750,000.

For inshore sailors accustomed to the importance of attention spans when on watch, I have to draw a comparison. It is a pleasure leaving Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, my usual stomping ground. There is a shoal to clear when you are abeam of the Pembroke Light House, and that’s it. Then it’s onward to South Georgia through the Southern Ocean with your feet up on the pilot house console, a Tintin adventure in one hand, and a “cuppa” in the other.

The reader will be thinking, “Surely this guy must know about this basic navigational stuff.” I do, sort of, but much has been lost to memory due to lack of use while sailing in the far south environs for the last 35 years. Rest assured I got back in the frame quickly and became comfortably competent by the time we sailed by the East Goodwin Lightvessel at the southern end of the North Sea.

It might appear to be cavalier to take a vessel straight out of the builder’s box and then head for Svalbard a few months later. This was our first project with Vinson and the culmination of seven months of negotiation with the German government’s Department of Natural Resources, officially the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe. We were supporting a team of geologists in their long-term study of the geophysical structures of the arctic basin. This season was Svalbard’s turn in a three-year cycle between arctic Canada and Siberia. Measuring “strike and dip” of geological strata was fundamental, as was

the collection of samples for content and age analysis. This “rock collection” turned out to be over 1.5 tons of rocks in bags nestled in the forepeak, destined for the laboratory in Hanover to be sliced, ground up, and isotopes coaxed out — not bad going, our crew was told, after 30 days in the field.

We happily went from the sea-trial stage in the UK straight into a demanding polar environment with no showstoppers, a testament to our design and project management team and to KM Yachts in the Netherlands, the builder. We did generate 130 items on the first of several “snag lists,” some warranty, but most modifications to be made when Vinson returned to the builder that September — all par for the course for a new custom-build and not in any way excessive.

In July 2021, COVID-19 was still in force. The big question was whether we could enter Norway at all. This became clear after we presented ourselves in Tromsø, where we had to be tested for COVID in order to get permission to proceed north. Likewise, the German team, which was scheduled to meet us in Longyearbyen, didn’t know whether they would be allowed into Oslo until the day they checked in at the airport. Unlike the UK, which had published dates for opening up, Norway would do so only when COVID data gave a green light. We were all working with this uncertainty right up to the day — acceptable for small-scale projects like ours, but it blew

When we passed 80 degrees in the fog along the north coast of Spitsbergen, all our instrumentation went down — a total blackout. No speed, no wind, no GPS, but more to the point, no radar or sounder. It was as if the clever young programmers of these increasingly complex integrated navigational suites thought no one would be going that far north or south, so why bother extending the algorithm beyond that convenient arbitrary figure.

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First mate Jose briefing the team on deck operations in Longyearbyen.
” “

the arctic cruise-ship sector right out of the water for the season, much to our advantage.

After yet another “nose-mining” session in Tromsø (a painful 9 on a 1-10 scale), we sailed north through the Barents Sea, got a glimpse through the fog of Bear Island’s south cape and its cliffs alive with guillemots, kittiwakes, gulls, and fulmars, and made it to Isfjord on Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago, on July 5, well ahead of schedule. The 10 days spent in the port of Longyearbyen prepping and waiting for the geologists was like going back in time to 1983 when I first visited on the 61-foot sloop War Baby, skippered by Bermudian CCA member Warren Brown. Back then, there were few people in this frontier mining town and no tourism whatsoever. Now, there’s a proliferation of cafés, restaurants, museums, and gift shops, but, because of the pandemic, they were largely empty

Daily Rhythms

of trade but for the few locals who had hung in. We enjoyed roaming with abandon and going to restaurants without making reservations.

The last time I was in this region was 2004 with Pelagic Australis , and although cruise ships were certainly a feature, they were not excessive in number. Over 55,000 tourists visited in 2019, most arriving by ship, and we were told that if it weren’t for the pandemic we would hardly ever be left alone in any of the fjords. Sadly, I’m afraid Svalbard has gone the way of the Antarctic Peninsula in terms of tourist pressure — overloaded and not sustainable, with more expedition ships under construction.

A strange thing happened on that 2004 cruise with friends from New Zealand. When we passed 80 degrees in the fog along the north coast of Spitsbergen, all our instrumentation

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Jose and skipper Kenneth, serving the catch of the day. Karsten, team leader, on the daily debrief. All things Latino on Vinson Cod hot spot for Jose, Joanna, and Guillermo. It doesn’t come any fresher.

went down — a total blackout. No speed, no wind, no GPS, but more to the point, no radar or sounder. It was as if the clever young programmers of these increasingly complex integrated navigational suites thought no one would be going that far north or south, so why bother extending the algorithm beyond that convenient arbitrary figure. After many reboots and a few anxious Iridium calls to the navigation system’s technical support (who were perplexed), the system came to life below 80 degrees just as miraculously as it had gone down. Strange but true. In those days, we were on paper charts, which were

mainly unsounded, but without the fundamentals of radar and a sounder, we were playing a risky game, sort of like Dutch Arctic explorer Willem Barentsz, who first sighted Spitsbergen in 1596, but became stranded in ice on Novaya Zemlya and died during the return voyage a year later.

On Vinson, the electronic chart plotter worked meticulously until about 79˚ 45', but the folio does end about there. So, it was no surprise when we were once again in the fog in relatively shallow, uncharted waters and back to 1983 techniques of taking transits, getting back bearings, and using the

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Demonstration of recovering the anchor chain in case of windless failure. Fuel depot at the abandoned research station, Kinnvika cove in Murchisonfjorden.

fundamentals of radar for distance off. All this requires a level of concentration not found when using a chart plotter, at least in well-surveyed areas where you can bring a boat into a quay “blind.”

Readers will be now reassured that I was not fazed by this transition into the past, nor was Kenneth, my understudy skipper and an RYA instructor. One wonders (and I am reminded of celestial navigation in the same context) that although you have to learn these first principles on paper at some point in your training, how often will you actually use them if the chart plotter works, which it seems to do all of the time?

Of course, the geologists were dumbfounded by the technical navigational banter as Kenneth and I continuously plotted our course. Likewise, I was at sea during their daily de-briefs, when they pored over colored maps on the salon table. And I did wonder why the German government, not a university, was more than adequately funding this multi-year programme of geological history. One immediately suspects mineral exploration followed by exploitation, but I was assured by Karsten, the team leader, that the purpose was purely to acquire knowledge of the earth’s origins.

Many previous Pelagic projects hosted biological research in these polar areas, including censusing, tracking for feeding ranges, and DNA sampling, that did inform governments that manage fisheries competing with the wildlife. I can normally hold my own and grasp about 90 percent of what, say, two penguinologists (yes that is a bona fide term) are on about. They discuss practical outcomes that our sailing crew can easily engage with. Less so with the geologists, although they were a delightful and dedicated team.

Their principal area of interest was the north coast of Spitsbergen and the west and north coast of Nordauslandet, the big icecap island out to the east that is not always accessible due to pack ice, even late in the season. This summer we were early for sure, so while watching the daily ice reports to the east, we were nosing around in the deep fjords of north Spitsbergen in extremely settled weather. After breakfast, we’d drop the rockhound team of four and two gun-bearing guides ashore, and they would roam the higher ground above the beaches and into the interior until just before dinner. Exhausted and laden with bags of sandstones, granites, and metamorphic specimens, they seemed to be on a roll.

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Catrin and Nikola chipping away for samples. A day’s haul, labelled three times over.

Chris and Misha, the two polar guides, had the hardest job though, as they did basically nothing all day but watch the others from a vantage point where they could see an approaching polar bear from all directions. Armed with Remington tactical pump shotguns with slugs, plus flare pistols with reporting shot, they had an unenviable job. Separated from each other on the wings, there was no sitting down, no earphones playing music, no nothing except watching — right by the book — for eight to 10 hours a day, while the scientists happily chipped away with their hammers and discussed their finds. I’d imagine observing this dynamic would make a science student think again before contemplating dropping out of university and taking a real job.

Meanwhile, the Vinson crew of three had ample time to investigate and sort out various minor problems on board, mainly dealing with the systems in the engine room. Those working 10 hours ashore in a cold climate expect hot showers and a functioning heating system when they return — that’s why we have two independent heating systems on board!

This was the routine for 30 straight days, with the sea ice retreating as we advanced into the fjords on the north coast of Nordauslandet, ticking off the geologists’ target areas of interest. On some days we would make three or four stops for quick sample-taking along a line of strata, island to island or headland to headland. Other times they would spend 10 hours on one small location, obviously agonizing over a probable geophysical conundrum.

Although our ultimate goal was to continue along the north coast of Nordauslandet and possibly circumnavigate that island, our ulitma thule was Nordkapp at 80º 32' N. On August 7, while the rock team investigated the spectacularly colourful boulders on Chermsideøya Island, Joanna and I climbed to the top to get a clear view out to the east. The sea ice was extensive and packed against the shore still. If we had more weeks in hand, we would have seen this clear out. Our schedule was two weeks premature, a calculation difficult to predict in any given year, and this uncertainty was corroborated by looking back over 20 years of historical ice charts. Some years the entire north coast is open at this time, others not at all until the fall freeze-up.

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Joanna high above Hornbaekpollen.

Chris and Misha, the two polar guides, had the hardest job though, as they did basically nothing all day but watch the others from a vantage point where they could see an approaching polar bear from all directions.

In fact the bear did show up just after we fixed that camera trap. We had a lucky escape as the bear surfaced right next to the boat when we got back on board. Then he swam ashore and went right to the camera trap to check things out, but luckily left it in place. ”

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Chris, lead polar guide, discusses weapons training with Guillermo and Jose.
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Credit: Kenneth Perdigon.

I have to admit that we were a motorboat on this voyage. It happens often in the high arctic, where the weather stays stable for weeks on end — or even a month, which was what happened to us. This was fortuitous for the scientists as they never lost a day of work ashore due to the weather. But the crew was hankering to get some sail up, which happened for a few hours on the way back to Longyearbyen while ghosting alongside Moffen

Island in a fog. There was just enough wind to put up full sail as we closed on what is essentially a small spit of sand where the largest colony of walrus makes its breeding grounds.

At once, a maelstrom erupted around the boat as hundreds of walrus spy hopped, following us for a mile before disappearing below the surface as quickly as they appeared.

Those few unforgettable magical hours under sail (and the thought that if we had been under engine we might not have had that welcome), reinforced my choice of sail over power on these expeditions. You can make a case for power, but for me, it is sail every time.

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Pelagic at rest in Hornbaekpollen, Woodfjorden.


Skip Novak is perhaps best known for his participation in four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races since 1977. But he is also a mountaineer, and, wishing to combine his mountaineering with sailing, he built the expedition yacht Pelagic in Southampton, England, in 1987. He has since spent every season in Antarctic waters. In 2002- 03, Skip managed the construction in South Africa of his new Pelagic Australis, a 23-meter, purpose-built expedition vessel for high-latitude sailing in order to augment the charter operations of the original Pelagic Launched in September of 2003, she is the flag ship of Pelagic Expeditions.

In March 2015, Skip was awarded the club’s prestigious Blue Water Medal in recognition of his many years of voyaging to high latitudes. In January 2016, the Royal Cruising Club awarded Skip the Tilman Medal, named after Bill Tilman, famous mountaineer and exploratory yachtsman, for a lifetime of leading sailing-to-climb expeditions in high latitudes.

Skip sits on the panel of experts that vets expeditions to South Georgia on behalf of the South Georgia government. From 2012 to 2017, he served on the executive committee of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.

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Jose and Skip changing a camera trap for a collaborator from Oxford University. The camera was damaged by a polar bear.


d’Or Station

Fallen trees block the trail and need to be cut up and discarded. This part of the trail is underwater at high tide.



It is late September in southeast Alaska, and the weather has already taken a turn towards winter. Rain is blowing sideways, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and one low is closely followed by the next. The team and I have loaded up Bagheera with 10 days’ worth of food, pickaxes, shovels, sledgehammers, chainsaws, a portable generator, a gas-powered drill, 2,000 pounds of ground-treated lumber, 20 lengths of rebar, lots of other tools, and gas. Something different, you say? Well, yes. We’re setting off for the Sea Lion Cove Trail at the north end of Kruzof Island, about 30 miles from Sitka. The trail has not had any maintenance since 2006 and is in a dire shape. Through a state grant, Sitka Trail Works has hired a crew of five, including me, to get the worst parts of the trail repaired.

The Sea Lion Cove trail is 2.5 miles long and goes through an estuary, up a hillside, across a muskeg, along a lake, down the hill, through another muskeg, and ends on a spectacular twomile-long white sandy beach. There aren’t many sandy beaches in Alaska that give you a tropical feeling. This one is a true surfer’s paradise, and the only way you can get there is by boat or floatplane to well-protected Kalanin Bay, followed by a hike to the beach at Sea Lion Cove.

The original schedule had our crew of five departing before the end of September, but the weather decided otherwise. While Bagheera can safely move in strong winds and heavy rain,

the regional flood warnings meant that there was a high probability of landslides. We postponed a day, then another day, and then another day. Finally, as we approached October, the rain subsided enough to minimize the landslide risk.

The first half-mile of the trail is up an estuary that floods at high tide. Since most of the work is past the estuary, we decide to use the high tide to dinghy over 3,000 pounds of materials and tools closer to the worksite. While driving the dinghy in the shallow water, I shift briefly into reverse to slow down, but nothing happens. As soon as I realize that the prop is gone, Padraig, one of the trail crew, spots the propeller 20 feet behind us. Without hesitating, he takes off his clothes and jumps in the water to retrieve it. After paddling the half-mile to the trailhead and unloading the tools, we paddle back to Bagheera to get another load of tools and grab a lock nut to use in place of the missing prop nut.

Once the tide is too low to make a third run up the estuary, we turn our energy to assessing the trail. It’s in rough shape with fallen trees, bear-chewed boards, and wash-outs. Our main logistical dilemma is how to transport the lumber for the boardwalk near the beach. These boards weigh about 110 pounds when dry, but in this climate they are wet. Realistically that means that two people need to carry one board for a little over 1.5 miles, then walk back and get another one. There had been talks of the Coast Guard sending a helicopter to assist us with

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Hiking home at the end of a work day. All tools that are no longer needed are returned to Bagherra. Credit: Ben Hughy.

Above: At the highest of tides, the estuary floods enough that we can take the dinghy with only a couple of inches of draft all the way up to the trail head to get lumber, tools and rebar as close to the workplace as possible without having to carry it all. The motor cannot be used in such shallow places, but using the paddles on the bottom to push ourselves forward works very well.

Right: The descent on the far side of the hill is steep and the trail is mostly made of strategically placed boulders as steps. Fallen trees and mud slides have dislodged a fair number of them and it takes tackles, ropes and a lot of manpower to get them in some resemblance of order again.

Above: Because southeast Alaska is a temperate rain forest, algae and moss thrive and the boards will almost never dry. We staple old fishnets on the boards and stair treads to make them less slippery. Left: Using tree roots as natural steps is a very common thing in Alaskan wilderness trails.

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Credit: Ben Hughy.

Bagheera at anchor in a typical southern Alaskan anchorage. Sandy beaches are not very common in this area, and it is normal that there are still patches of snow in the mountains at the end of the summer.

Everything must be transported by boat to a place where there is no dock or any other form of infrastructure and put ashore by dinghy, piece by piece, tool by tool.

moving lumber and gravel, but the authorization had not come through before we left Sitka.

Jack, one of the crew members, is an avid surfer and rescue swimmer. I ask him if he is comfortable swimming through the surf and pulling a long rope with him onto the beach. Jack and I could take Bagheera around and anchor outside the breaking swell. With the boards tied together in bundles, we could lift them overboard with a halyard and then swim them ashore. From the beach, it is only one-third of a mile to where the boards need to be placed.

The next day a couple of volunteers show up to help. They have a large powerboat that can get the boards to the far beach way faster than Bagheera. Even better, they can just push them out of the transom door to get them in the water. Just a few hours later, all the lumber is high and dry on the beach.

That same evening, we get an email from the Coast Guard commander that they will do a reconnaissance at 10 a.m., followed by the actual flight mission at noon, if the weather holds. The forecast is for 30-plus knots of wind later in the day, and we are skeptical that the flight will happen. To our surprise, we hear the helicopter in the distance a few minutes after they are scheduled to leave the airbase. After they make a couple of passes through the valley to get the lay of the land, they agree to return in two hours.

We have three volunteers, so there are eight of us in total. Four hike across to the beach to pack the lumber in two equal

stacks and attach lifting slings. The other four, including me, head back to the estuary to quickly load large helicopter bags full of local river gravel. By the time the helicopter is done with the lumber transfer and heads to the estuary, there is only a small patch of grass left to land on as the tide continues to rise. Once the ground crew and lifting material are dropped off, the helicopter moves to the beach at the other end of the bay to conserve fuel while we sort out the lifting slings and attach them to the first load of gravel. With the slings in place, the helicopter returns and hovers about 6 feet above the bag — close enough for the ground crew to attach the slings. It only takes the helicopter a few minutes to move the first bag of gravel and return

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Left: A section of new boardwalk in the making; the boards will keep hikers from sinking in the mud. Above: Sitka Trail Works crew at the head of the trail. Left to right: Bhargavi Pochi, Patrick “Padraig’” Hardy, Erik de Jong (author), and Jack Arpert. Credit: Ben Hughy. Credit:

for the second bag. I have to move fast; the tide has come up and surrounded the second bag, and I need to use the dinghy to get the ground crew to it. I barely have time to get the dingy out of the way of the helicopter downwash as I drop them off. As soon as the second bag is in the air, I head back to pick up the ground crew and dinghy them across the bay to the last piece of remaining beach that’s large enough for the helicopter to land on and reload their gear and crew before returning to base. Thanks to the USCG crew, we manage to get much more work done than we would have with just our backpacks.

By evening it is gusting in excess of 50 knots, and Bagheera is dancing and bucking behind her anchor while we do our best to get some sleep. In the morning, I drop off the crew at the head of the estuary so that they can get to work while I go back to the boat to fix some tools. When I finally leave the boat to head up the mountain, I see a big brown bear standing where I need to land the dingy. Since we’ve seen a lot of bears while working on the trail, I don’t think too much of it as they have all been skittish. I shift the motor out of gear and rev the throttle a few times, but this guy does not seem to care. I stand up in the dinghy and yell at him while waving my arms above my head. After about 10 minutes, he turns and waddles away. I give him some time and then start the 1.5-mile hike to where I will be working that day.

My 70-pound backpack with tools and materials slows me down as I trek through the estuary mud. When I’m about halfway to the trailhead, I hear huffing and splashing behind me. I turn and see the bear running straight for me. Reflexes kick in. I make myself big, swing my arms above my head, and start yelling at the bear in Dutch. I have bear spray in one hand and a .44 revolver in the other. I don’t keep a bullet in the first chamber for safety reasons, so while I have the gun above my head, I pull the trigger to make the gun ready to fire. Luckily it is not necessary. The bear stops his charge with 15 feet between us. He’s still huffing and jumping up and down with his front paws in the water, moving from left to right, challenging me and telling me that this is his territory. I yell some more and take two steps closer to him — so close I can smell his breath. He backs off and walks away, still huffing and keeping a close eye on me. With a pounding heart, I stay there for a bit to see him off. When I think he is at a safe distance, I turn around and walk the rest of the estuary, continuing to look over my shoulders to make sure that he is not following. In about 10 minutes, I make it to the head of the trail.

A couple hundred feet ahead are two other crew members. I tell them about my bear encounter and all three of us walk back to the estuary to see if he is still there. Sure enough, he is strolling through the riverbed, trailing me at a distance. The three of us yell and wave to make an impression, and he disappears into the woods. At that moment, we decide that nobody will hike alone in the river area until we are sure this big guy is no longer a problem. In the days that follow, we don’t see him again, but we encounter about 14 bears, including sows with cubs.

Our work progresses through days of heavy rain, which takes a high toll on our energy levels. Luckily the occasional sunny day comes along and makes us forget all about the rain. One day is so nice that we decide to take the afternoon off and spend a few hours on the sandy beach, enjoying the sun.

I volunteer to work on my own in the far muskeg so that the rest of the team can continue working in pairs. I spend two days pounding in long nails, replacing boards that are too damaged to repair, looking for boards that floated away, and finding sand deposits to make new foundations in the mud. Once I have drained all puddles and reestablished the foundation, I anchor the entire boardwalk to prevent it from floating away in the next flood.

Over the years, I have used Alaskan trails extensively, but I never really appreciated how intense the work and logistics are to maintain them, let alone build them. This is my second project of this kind in the Alaskan wilderness, and in both cases, the logistics of just getting the required materials in the right place is mind-boggling. Every piece of lumber, every bolt, every screw, every nail needs to be carried along an eroded trail in unfavorable weather while keeping an eye out for bears and other hazards. On top of that, large, heavy tools are required to get all the materials in place. Everything must be transported by boat to a place where there is no dock or any other form of infrastructure and put ashore by dinghy, piece by piece, tool by tool.

Usually, the trail crews do this work in the summer months, sleeping in tents and camping on the trail with no bathroom, no shower, and no chance of drying anything if it rains. By using Bagheera as our basecamp, we could dry our clothes, cook decent meals in a well-equipped galley, and sleep in a nice warm bed. It was a luxury that the trail crew members had never experienced before, but that they could get used to very quickly. 2


Erik grew up in the Netherlands and started blue-water cruising as an infant onboard his parents’ boat. When he was 16, he designed Bagheera and built her in his 20s with the help of his father. Since the launch of the boat, she has been sailing all over Canada, Greenland, and Alaska, including a transit of the Northwest Passage and a voyage as the first sailboat in history to visit the Central Arctic Ocean. When he is not sailing, Eric can be found in Sitka, Alaska, where he lives with his wife, Krystina, and their adventure pup, Fukimi. Krystina and Erik are usually sailing together, however, for this trail maintenance trip, Krystina stayed home in Sitka.

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B ike and B oat

Shimshal arrived in Labrador in 2018, and our intention was to continue to the western Caribbean and New Zealand the following year, but as all sailors know, plans frequently change. The scenery and the Newfie welcome detained us for a season, and when we eventually crossed the Cabot Strait in 2019, we fell in love with Cape Breton and decided to linger. A head-on encounter with Hurricane Dorian didn’t deter us, and we found Shimshal a winter home in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, where she stayed for the duration of the pandemic.

Finally, in the spring of 2022, we were able to resume our passage south. We were itching to get underway as early as possible, but Darrin, the Gold River Marina manager, advised against an April launch and was dubious about a May one too. Snow, powerful northeasterlies, and lobster pots apparently make early-season cruising nightmarish in Nova Scotia. We compromised and booked our launch for May 7, 2022.

We then faced a conundrum. As the commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), I was up for re-election and had to be in Annapolis in early April for the annual general

meeting. As we are based in the United Kingdom, we didn’t want to be making repeated transatlantic flights for financial and environmental reasons. We needed a slow way to travel from Annapolis to Nova Scotia during the month of April to retrieve our boat. I knew we could easily average 50 miles a day on our bicycles, and a long bike ride through New England and the Canadian Maritimes was feasible. Once back in Canada, we could then dismantle and stow our bikes on board Shimshal and sail back to Annapolis. Furthermore, we could use the bike and boat trip to acquaint ourselves with our burgeoning contact list that has emerged from our OCC and CCA memberships.

Sally is more pragmatic than me and immediately focused on the flaws in the plan. We had been warned about boisterous and frigid northeasterlies in April. Could we pedal against such strong headwinds? Where would we stay? How would we cope with city traffic, crime, and cold, and what would happen if we ran out of puff?

Slowly a plan came together once we discovered the East Coast Greenway, which is a fledgling cycle route running

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We were itching to get underway as early as possible, but Darrin, the Gold River Marina manager, advised against an April launch and was dubious about a May one too. Snow, powerful northeasterlies, and lobster pots apparently make early-season cruising nightmarish in Nova Scotia.

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Cold sailing in early May, Nova Scotia. Map by David Pratt.

from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine. Its halfway point is Annapolis, which meant that we could jump on our bikes immediately after the OCC meeting and ride it the whole way north to Canada. We knew that we could then take the ferry across the Bay of Fundy from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Digby, Nova Scotia.

The East Coast Greenway is still being developed but aims to link bike tracks on disused railways, purpose-built cycle trails, and roads with bike lanes along its 2,000-mile course. We joined a charitable organisation called Warmshowers whose members, all of whom are cyclists, offer free accommodation to those arriving on two pedal-powered wheels. That would take care of some of our needs.

The most enchanting benefit of being OCC commodore is the ongoing email dialogue I have with the 3,409 members who are scattered around the globe. Some 40 percent of OCC members are from the U.S. and most of those live between Chesapeake and Nova Scotia. The next step in our planning was to write to the OCC membership

informing them of our hare-brained plan and see if any of them might take us in along the way. I pressed “send” to the email with some trepidation as I had no idea how it would be received. Within minutes, generous offers of beds, suppers, and showers flooded in, just as would be expected from the cruising community. Some members wanted to cycle part of the way with us, others were keen to gather other cruisers together for a gam along our way. The response was overwhelming, but having gone public with our little plan, we were now committed!

A couple of months later, we manoeuvred bags filled with boat bits and two bicycles through a frenetic Manchester, U.K., airport bound for the annual meeting and dinner in the graceful setting of the Annapolis Yacht Club. As soon as the formalities were over, we swapped posh clothes for cycle attire and filled up John van S’s suitcases with “essential” boat bits that he then flew home with and would return to us in Halifax a month later. The cruising community’s resourcefulness and willingness were now becoming mind-boggling!

What we hadn’t bargained on was COVID. In late February we both came down with Omicron, having managed to avoid it whilst working on the frontline of Britain’s National Health Service. Though neither of us was very ill, Sally had a longer recovery and in early April was still functioning on fewer cylinders than normal. Not a great start to a monthlong bike ride. COVID too struck some of the households we planned to visit along the way, forcing late changes of plan.

Once in the saddle and pedalling along the disused Annapolis-to-Baltimore railway, Sally’s energy returned, and her

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Day two in Aberdeen. East Coast Greenway at Manchester. Wet ride into Wilmington.

Liberty Park.

recovery was complete. In Baltimore, we took the bikes in the elevator to the seventh floor of the Comfort Inn when disaster struck. Sally is a numbers person and loves to monitor speed, miles, and much more. Her beloved bicycle computer fell from the handlebars and found the crack between lift and door that led to the shaft. We never saw the computer again, but having been robbed of her data, Sally was freed to concentrate on Baltimore’s rush-hour traffic and the cherry-blossom-lined roads.

Biking through Baltimore was not a great introduction to the East Coast Greenway and crossing the bridge over the Susquehanna River was the most terrifying. There’s no bike lane, and the concrete walls constrain and concentrate the noise of the massive trucks as they thunder past. We were glad to arrive in Delaware and took selfies at every state border after that.

Our first northeasterlies hit us in Wilmington with driving rain and frigid gusts. We tried desperately to hire a

car to skip a few miles, but COVID had demolished the car rental business, and no vehicles were available. Soaked to the skin, it was with great relief that we discovered the Joe Biden Railway Station and boarded the Amtrak service for two stops to shorten our route and maintain our schedule whilst the gale blew through.

Clear blue skies and freezing temperatures followed the passage of the front, giving us perfect cycling conditions for our long ride through New Jersey to the Goethals Bridge, where we got our first-ever glimpse of the Manhattan skyline glinting in the morning sun. We hurried on through docks, factories, and endless warehouses to the Bayonne Bridge and another, nearer, view of skyscrapers. Then came a ride around Liberty Park and more selfies before pedalling past the slips of the Liberty Park Marina, trying in vain to spy CCA and OCC burgees.

We had fretted about New York traffic, but the city has embraced cyclists and spent a fortune keeping bikes and cars

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Anchored near Eastport, Maine, after checking in to the U.S. A warm welcome in Maine courtesy of Doug and Dale Bruce. Cycling on disused rail tracks in Connecticut. Panoramic view of Mount Desert Island. Back country cycling off-road in Maine.

apart. From the Staten Island Ferry at Battery Park, we joined the crowds of scooters, skaters, bikers, and joggers on the purpose-built road that hugs the shoreline of the Hudson River northbound before cutting east to Central Park. A one-way system in the park allowed us to safely navigate to our first Warmshowers destination in Harlem, where a keen cycling couple shared their home and swapped long-distance cycling stories — just as cruisers do.

That night a Sherpa friend from Nepal picked us up in his taxi and swept us off to Queens for a meal of momos in his favourite Tibetan restaurant. Tenji, whom we had last seen

in the Himalayas, had emigrated and built a new life for his family in the hustle and bustle of New York.

The suburbs of New York seemed to go on forever, but gradually they gave way to Connecticut mansions with white picket fences, manicured lawns, and plumes of yellow forsythia promising the arrival of spring.

In Stamford, David Tunick was one of the CCA members who gave us the full cruiser welcome before we pedalled on to Norwalk to a rendezvous with the legendary double circumnavigators, Scott and Kitty Kuhner. At New Haven, our route

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took us inland through Yale and then along the course of a filled-in canal that linked with the disused Airline Railway between New York and Boston. Gorgeous cycling through rural Connecticut with overnights in Hartford and Putnam before the old train line led us into the heart of Boston and a lunch with CCA members at Ernie Godshalk’s city centre apartment.

We re-joined the coast north of Marblehead, where we had to cancel a planned rendezvous because our host had come down with COVID. More selfies on the New Hampshire and Maine borders and then another northeasterly enforced a rest day at a beachside motel in Ogunquit.

The hospitality of Maine cruisers is a legend on this side of the Atlantic, and we weren’t disappointed in Portland and Boothbay, where warm beds restored us after cold days in the saddle. Most days we were fuelled by Dunkin Donuts, but for some reason, we chose to forgo a calorific detour in Thomaston and instead pedalled past the boatyard where we were confronted by a boat we knew well when we sailed on her to the Antarctic in 2006. Pelagic, Skip Novak’s aging Southern Ocean workhorse, was hauled out and having a substantial refit in Maine.

As we neared Camden, texts started pinging in from Doug and Dale Bruce, who were anxious for us to avoid pedalling up their long hill to their lovely house on Bald Mountain.

At the dock, my odometer clicked 850 miles pedalled from Annapolis, and we took a celebratory selfie before the Bruce truck arrived and bundled our bikes in the back for the 1,000foot ascent to luxury, gams, rest, and respite from yet another cold northeasterly.

We liked it so much at the Bruces that we stayed for five days, which blew a hole in our schedule, but Doug and Dale

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Bike storage. Reunited with boat in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

had a plan. The truck was loaded with the bikes again, and a few hours later we waved our farewells to our hosts at the Canadian border where the snow was blowing horizontally, and the cherry blossoms of Maryland seemed like a century ago. We had outrun the spring and were now in the lingering Canadian winter with yet more weather on the way.

In Saint John, New Brunswick, the CCA’s rear commodore, Ernest Hamilton, politely suggested a motel upgrade as he didn’t think the one that we had booked was suitable for gullible Brits on bikes. Having rescued us from our own thrift, he bundled us into his wonderful old Lincoln for a fascinating tour of Saint John and its yacht clubs.

When we finally got to Halifax, we were royally entertained by John and Heather van S who reunited us with the “essential” boat kit that he had flown home with. John had arranged a dinner at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, and he presented us with a framed photo he had taken of us with our bikes a month earlier when he waved us off in Annapolis. Now we are owners of a John van S original photo, which is certainly worth pedalling 850 miles!

Our boat was soon launched in Mahone Bay, and yes, we should have heeded the warnings about Nova Scotian sailing before the lobster season ends on May 31. Our keel caught three pot lines rounding Cape Sable because of the curious practice of allowing 100 feet of floating line to stream in the strong currents around the cape. And it was cold sailing so early in the season, but we were privileged to have the glorious coast of Maine to ourselves with little fog and few pots once we left Nova Scotia in our wake.

Our sailing cruise back to Annapolis took us down Long Island Sound, New York’s East River, and finally through the C&D Canal and a late June haul-out and flight home (with bikes) to escape the gathering Chesapeake heat.

Looping our way around New England by bike and boat enabled us to get to know North America’s cruisers both in their homes and on their boats and gave us a great workout along the way!


Having recently retired, Sally and Simon spend half their time cruising aboard Shimshal and the rest of the year dabbling in land-based adventures, mainly in Europe. They sailed from Scotland in 2015 and, utilizing vacations, took the high-latitude route to the Americas via Iceland and Greenland, where they enjoyed three seasons dodging icebergs. Since 2018 they have been meandering down the coasts of Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New England. They are currently cruising the Chesapeake, bound for Panama and the Pacific.

They have been active in the Ocean Cruising Club for many years, with Sally as treasurer between 2011 and 2016 and Simon as commodore since 2019. They joined the CCA in 2020 and have been delighted with the warm reception they have received from members of both clubs during their time cycling and sailing in North America.

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Photo: John van S.

May 2014

Gazing into the woods from my home office in Kent, Connecticut, I took personal inventory. Fifty-five years of age, in good health; happily married for 30 years; two well-adjusted, employed, college-grad kids; my own 12-year-old small but successful financial services business and partners with whom I got along well; two golf-club memberships and a low single-digit handicap; great friends and neighbors — all in all, very happy and content. But something felt missing. Looking forward, not much was going to change. I needed a substantial new challenge. A transatlantic sail jumped into my imagination.

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High Cotton under COVID protocol quarantine in Horta Harbor the morning after arrival.

High Cotton atlantiC islands undertakes an ndertakes

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The Bristol-to-Horta crew celebrating a safe and smooth passage after clearing mandatory COVID testing.

During my formative years and early adulthood, my parents had been sailboat owners and avid coastal cruisers, first out of Newport Beach, California, with a Columbia 28 and later, back home in Minnesota on Lake Superior with a C&C 35. Though a sailor of sorts, I had zero offshore experience — and no sailboat! I hatched my plan: Find a suitable boat, buy it, develop my offshore skills, and aim toward some sort of circumnavigation of the North Atlantic, including an eastbound and westbound transatlantic, beginning late spring 2020 and ending with a return to the East Coast one year later.

All that and keep a happy marriage happy despite a spouse with no interest in offshore passages, maintain a business that required my active involvement, and get my partners’ consent. I would have to platoon home between passages and leave the boat in foreign harbors for extended periods of time. After a summer of research, I felt ready to start boat shopping in earnest.

Fall 2014

I first boarded a Little Harbor 54 with my dad at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis. We spent three hours on Chasseur with owners Greg and Lisa Smith, and from then on, I could not get the Ted Hood design off my mind. I went home thinking Chasseur might be the boat for me. But I had much studying to do before making an offer.

February 2015

While on a bareboat charter in St. Martin, I contacted the Smiths, who were cruising Chasseur in the Caribbean, and inquired if they were in the area. They were and invited us to come aboard for a drink so I could show my wife and kids the boat. Two weeks later, I contacted Greg again and offered to crew for him on his May passage to Newport so I could get to know the boat intimately, acquire some offshore experience, and perhaps learn enough to make an offer. He agreed.

M ay 2015

We made a six-day passage from Nanny Cay to St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda. After five days at anchor and one crew change, we made the five-day passage to Newport. I was hooked on offshore sailing and learned a ton from Captain Greg. Twenty-six-year-old Dan Brown, also on his first offshore sail, was my bunkmate — and destined to become my frequent crew. Though convinced a Little Harbor 52 or 54 was my boat of choice, Chasseur’s complex systems (due in part to its seven-owner history) seemed beyond my ability to master while still working for a living. The problem was that there were precious few other Little Harbors on the market.

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High Cotton Atlantic Circle Track 2021-22.


July 2015

A Little Harbor 52 called Nijinsky was shipped from Venice to Annapolis, and we immediately went down to see her. I was sold at first sight, as was another potential buyer. Four days later I was the cover bid and still without a boat. Disheartened but determined, I decided to seek out the winning bidder and explore the possibility of shared ownership.

July 2015–June 2016

After months of repeated but friendly rejection, Ted and Cheryl Huffman finally agreed to sell us a 50 percent interest in the boat, now renamed High Cotton and based in Newport, Rhode Island. The arrangement was quite simple: We would maintain the boat to a high standard and refit for blue-water comfort and safety. The Huffmans would have priority use mid-June to midAugust in every season of the next seven but one. During the exception year, I would have the right to dictate where the boat would be and have priority use for the entire year. That would become my Atlantic Island Circle year.

august 2016–septeMber 2019

The next three years involved an intensive effort to gain competency in offshore sailing and skippering High Cotton. In addition to coastal cruising, I undertook training trips to and from Maine,

Nova Scotia, and Bermuda with crews of two to four people. A key objective was cultivation of a coterie of offshore crew.

noveMber 2019

A goal of Memorial Day 2020 was set for departing Bristol, Rhode Island, for Horta, Azores. There would be subsequent sails to Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verdes, Caribbean islands, Bermuda, and back home to Rhode Island. I recruited crew for all legs within a month, including my 23-year-old nephew Paul Youngblood, a senior in college who signed on as full-time liveaboard first mate for the entire year.

early May 2020

COVID forced postponement of the trip for one year. Disappointing, but the right decision. Nearly all crew members agreed to stay committed to their chosen passages, including Paul, whose plan to live aboard full time gave me comfort about leaving the boat for weeks in foreign harbors.

May 2021

Though pandemic restrictions were still a consideration, it was go time. We set our departure date for Saturday, May 29, weather permitting. On May 4, one of two experienced crew

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the following breeze went below 9-10 knots apparent, we would douse the main on the leeward side and go wing on wing with the asymmetrical chute.

was forced to pull out due to a work emergency. I scrambled to find an able replacement — we needed two watch captain-level crew to ensure a safe passage. After two busy but unsuccessful days working my own network, I turned to Hank Schmitt and Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO). My appeal was sent to the OPO membership on the evening of May 6 and by the next morning I had messages from 10 interested parties. A quick review reduced the candidates to six, and I held Zoom interviews that afternoon. Of the six, one emerged as preferred, and after mutual reference checks and another long phone conversation, Joe Cain, a 74-year-old retired dentist from Los Angeles,

became fellow crew member to Paul, experienced offshore sailor Chuck Pinkerton, inexperienced but intrepid Ian Moraino, and me.

May 31–June 13, 2021, bristol, rhode island–horta, azores

A nor’easter forced a two-day delay in our departure, but at 1230 hours on Memorial Day, we were bound for the storied harbor of Horta on the island of Faial Azores. By sunset we were south of Nantucket and would not see land again for the next 11 days. Wind went very light on us in the wake of the nor’easter, and we motored/motor-sailed at low RPMs from the morning of June 1 until sunrise on June 3, when the wind freshened and clocked to our port. For the next eight days, we would enjoy strong wind and following seas, mostly staying well north of the rhumb line to ride the bottom of a low tracking its way across the north Atlantic. I had employed Commanders Weather to supplement my Predict Wind forecasting; their guidance had called for a more southerly path due to rough seas above 41 degrees north. But High Cotton was handling the sea state quite well, and we decided that more wind, cold, and a rougher sea state were just fine. I run a tight ship safety-wise. We are a dry boat when offshore. PFDs are on, and we always clip in, both on deck and in the cockpit. An exception to the dry boat rule is

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The High Cotton contribution to the famed wall of Horta Marina. High Cotton with Lunulata in tow at sunrise with the islands of Faial and Pico in sight.

a skål toast of Linie acquavit at shift change, day or night, just after passing the halfway point on each passage — a nice High Cotton tradition.

We got as far north as 42°55’ N 44°27’ W before pointing our bow toward the westernmost Azorean Island of Flores. The care my wife and I had taken in provisioning was worthwhile. Good food really does translate into a happy and agreeable crew. At 1800 on June 11, we spotted Flores 25 nautical miles to our east and charted a course around the north end of the island. Going ashore was not an option due to COVID restrictions, but we decided to anchor off Porto dos Lajes to catch up on some sleep and make a daytime arrival in Horta more likely.

The next morning, we set sail for Horta with smooth seas, clear skies, and light but sufficient wind. As the wind began to die in the early afternoon, and with a forecast of nearly dead calm for the next three days, I received an email on my Iridium Go from Mid-Atlantic Yacht Services in Horta asking if we could slightly divert our heading to intercept a vessel with engine failure and in possible need of a tow. At 2000 hours on June 12, we intercepted the UK-flagged Najad 57 Lunulata After carefully rigging a bridle and towline, we got underway with our companion, motoring under low RPMs to preserve fuel and minimize stress on our own engine. The sun rose

with Horta and the conical peak of Pico in sight. At 1300 we turned Lunulata over to the harbormaster and were soon safely at anchor, extremely gratified.

COVID protocols called for us to stay aboard until we could be taken ashore and tested, then we had to wait on the hook until clearance. Forty-eight hours after arriving, we were sprung, and the legendary Peter Café Sport and a cold beer became our first priority. We had 2,098 nautical miles under our keel since our departure from Bristol.

august 14–28, 2021, horta–terceira–ponta delgada–Madeira–lanzarote, canary islands

After seven weeks at home catching up on work, I returned to High Cotton and Paul at the Horta Marina to prep for the next passage. Following tradition, we added a boat painting to the marina wall and set off for the day sail to Angra do Heroismo on the island of Terceira, where we were joined by Dan Brown for the passages down to the Canaries. The Azores are spectacular and arriving by boat feels so right. We had some great land time in both Terceira and Sao Miguel, and then on August 19 we were off to Madeira.

Our four-day sail was a blissful reach in ideal weather. Solo shifts were possible due to conditions and capable crew, so ample

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Some of the breathtaking Madeira coastline.

sleep for all. Wind calmed at one point to permit a welcome mid-ocean swim with a dive off the boom. In lovely Funchal, Madeira, we had a nice spot on the quay and a couple of days to tour before setting off for Lanzarote with one more crew member — my friend Melissa Carnathan, a single mother of five living in London and keen to get out of the house and experience her first offshore sailing adventure. We made another wonderful, if short (286 nautical miles), reaching sail down to the Canaries and arrived at the very nice Puerto Calero on the island of Lanzarote on August 28.

noveMber 7–deceMber 5, 2021, las palMas–Mindelo–st. georges harbor grenada

After another seven weeks at home, I flew back to Puerto Calero in late October to begin prep for our westbound transatlantic. My brother Mike and sister-in-law Mary Ellen joined us in Lanzarote for some touring of the stunning but desiccated landscape of this northeasternmost island in the Canaries archipelago. Imagine being on the moon but with good food and wine available. We had a wonderful overnight sail to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and joined the COVID-hampered festivities in the marina with the World Cruising Club ARC+ fleet (68 vessels in total). I had decided to join the rally for three primary reasons. First, it locked me into a firm fall schedule, which simplified crew recruitment and decision-making around the logistics of the trip. Second, the WCC takes care of many details related to marina reservations, passport control, and COVID-related protocols — all worth the entry fee. And third, the social aspect of the rally was a nice feature, especially for Paul as he might get to know a few fellow sailors while living solo in Grenada for the winter.

On November 7 at noon, the first leg of the rally was underway in very sporty conditions — heavy following seas and wind from the northeast gusting to Force Six. Watching some of the smaller, lighter displacement boats, we were happy to be aboard our 25-ton Little Harbor. The forecast for the 900-mile journey was not clearcut, and we opted to stick much closer to the African coast than most of the fleet. On about day four, we spent a few hours in the doldrums with sails flapping and nearly fired up the engine in frustration, but thanks to the impassioned insistence of crew member Jeremy Onysko, an experienced J/24 racer, we gutted it out and made it to Mindelo with zero engine hours, one of the very few boats in the fleet to do so. On day five, the autopilot malfunctioned, and the next 5,000 nautical miles were hand-steering. My crew and I can claim to be good helmers as a result. On corrected time we ended up fourth in our class of 17. Respectable. The other two crew members on this leg were my brother Mike and a 26-year-old South African named Josh Pons, whom Paul had befriended in Horta. Josh had little sailing experience but is an adventurer and proved to be a great addition to the two ARC+ legs.

Mindelo was a pleasant six-day stop. It is an interesting blend of Europe (a former Portuguese colony) and West Africa. Standing on African soil, having arrived there as skipper of my own boat thousands of miles from home, was quite a feeling. Like Lanzarote, the island of Sao Vicente is arid and nearly devoid of flora of any kind. But as with most of the volcanic Atlantic Islands, the topography is dramatic and the scenery jaw-dropping. Fueled by the shared experience of the rally from the Canaries, the social scene picked up and budding friendships emerged among many of the vessels and crew members. We were the only U.S.-flagged monohull in the fleet and one of only four U.S.-flagged vessels in the harbor. It was quite fun to be among all these European sailors on a very traditional New England-style sailboat with the Stars and Stripes proudly waving off our stern.

Forty-eight hours before the start of the 2,200-mile leg to Grenada, we learned that our dad, who had a stroke in mid-summer, had taken a turn for the worse and was unlikely to live much longer. Mike decided to abandon the westbound transatlantic and fly home. While sorry to lose him as crew, we understood, and four of us could manage the passage. On November 19 we were underway. Within 24 hours the fleet dispersed, and we would go nearly across the Atlantic before seeing any other boat. I learned of Dad’s

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Nice Sargasso Sea supplement to our food inventory.

passing via Iridium Go text on Saturday the 20th. Very sad, but I could rest comfortably with the knowledge that he had been aware of our journey and that he had been my sailing mentor. Mike made it to his bedside in Minnesota 30 hours after leaving Mindelo and just 30 minutes before he passed.

dinner, living aboard with three Yankee crewmates, and hearing the soundtrack of Hamilton a few times, our crewmate Josh earned honorary American credentials. In turn, he schooled us on life in and around the South African bush.

Conditions, fickle and frustrating for the first week, began to improve, and for the second half of the 15-day trip we enjoyed great downwind sailing spiked by sudden squalls, usually at night when least detectable. Our favored sail plan was a poled-out genoa on the windward side and preventer-rigged main to the lee. The leech hem of our mainsail developed two footlong tears, and we had to send Paul up the mast in very rolling seas to do a tape repair and stave us over until Grenada.

A highlight of the passage was our daily shortwave radio calls with the Tibboel family on Dutch vessel Morgane of Sark Paul was our man on the mic and eldest daughter Mila on theirs. Though the daily conversations were technically boat to boat, Paul clearly had a developing crush on 24-year-old Mila. Fast forward to November 2022 — they are living together in Aruba where Mila is training to become a physician. Courtship that germinates via shortwave radio must be uncommon, but it proved hearty.

The rum punch that welcomed us upon our arrival in St. Georges at 0430, December 5, was tasty, as was the beer that followed soon after. It was another satisfying landfall. Finishing third in class and 17th overall felt pretty good as well.

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Thanksgiving was chicken dinner followed by freshly baked pumpkin pie, and it hit the spot. Between a first Thanksgiving First Mate Paul’s short wave radio courtship of Morgane of Sark’s Mila Tibboels was in full swing by week two of our westbound Atlantic crossing. The traditional High Cotton acquavit skål toast at passage halfway point.

april 3–5, 2022, grenada–st. thoMas; april 30–May 6, st. thoMas–berMuda

During the winter at Port Louis Marina, I was home in Connecticut and New York City, but the time was lightly punctuated by two weeklong trips back south. High Cotton needed maintenance oversight, and I spent a week cruising Grenada with wife Jennifer, Paul, Mike, and Mary Ellen. And Paul and Mila were officially an item. Grenada is a lush, scenic island, and Port Louis is a wonderful marina.

Ian, veteran crew from our opening leg to Horta, flew down with his partner, Suzie West, for the 400-mile north-northeast rhumb line reach from Grenada to St. Thomas. Conditions were perfect. I went home for three weeks and then back to St. Thomas, where we were joined by my cousin and prior High Cotton crew Brooks Gray and his longtime Maine friend (and decorated International One Design racer) John Henry, for the 840-mile leg to Bermuda. On day two, I was resting below when I heard a very loud ping from the deck above. We had sustained a snapped shroud on the starboard side. All sail was quickly doused, engine fired, and we set about assessing damage and jury-rigging. The mast had a distinct disturbing bend at the upper spreader, and we fashioned a running backstay as a shroud substitute. Paul was sent up the mast to secure the upper part of the broken shroud, which was wildly flaying about in the rough sea state, unsafe and threatening further damage. By sunset we were settled into our destiny of low rpm motoring for the remaining 550 nautical miles to Bermuda, grateful for the 240 gallons of fuel tank capacity.

The Claiborne Pell Bridge upon our arrival in Narragansett Bay, 12 months to the day after our departure for Horta.

May 25–May 31, 2022, berMuda–bristol, rhode island

The shroud was replaced during our three weeks in St. George’s Harbor, thanks to Ocean Sails. With brothers Mike and Steve, we set sail for home on the afternoon of the 25th – my 63rd birthday. Rowdy, squally conditions impacted the first three days. Steve had a nasty fall in the companionway and got a concussion. Retired physician Chuck, who had sailed with us to Horta, answered our urgent sat phone call and quelled our concern about Steve’s condition. The crew altered our watch rotation in order to let Steve rest as much as possible, as he had no recollection of his first days and nights at sea due to shortterm memory loss. Blessedly, he recovered with no lasting effects.

As we crossed 38˚35’ N, Paul and I dusted Dad’s ashes into the Gulf Stream in homage to his love of sailing. We entered Narragansett Bay on May 31 at 0230 on a moonless, calm, and peaceful night and reached Bristol Marine by sunrise, exactly 12 months to the day since our departure for Horta. We opened beers to toast our arrival. We had traveled 8,525 nautical miles, with Paul aboard the entire journey and 13 others who joined us for 11 individual passages. With help from a wonderful crew, a great boat, eight years of planning and training, and a very understanding and supportive wife, mission accomplished.

It’s time to start planning the next adventure.

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John Youngblood (BOS) became a CCA member in September 2022. He began sailing as a kid on his dad’s Columbia 28 in Newport Beach, California. During his college years and throughout his 20s, John sailed with his parents aboard a C&C 35 out of Bayfield, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior. After many years of bareboat chartering with his own family, John finally became a cruising sailboat owner when he bought a half interest in High Cotton , a 1995 Little Harbor 52. Still working full-time as a founding partner of a New York City-based financial services firm, John does passage-making and coastal cruising aboard High Cotton out of her home port of Newport, Rhode Island. In the coming years, he looks forward to augmenting his 2021-22 Atlantic Island Circle experience with more ocean crossings.

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High Cotton bound for the Azores on a cooperative day in the North Atlantic.


Abundant marine life compensates for a rough trip between French Polynesia and Hawaii

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Photographs by Ellen and Seth Leonard, Boston Station, Gulf of Maine Post
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747” is, in my opinion, one of the most amusing aphorisms about ocean sailing.

I happen to have taken a 747 upwind; the flight retraced my earlier downwind sailing route across the Pacific. I’ve also done a considerable amount of upwind ocean sailing. The 747 was a lot more comfortable. But then again, comfort and security aren’t why we sail, are they?

Towards the end of 2020, Seth and I found ourselves making what proved to be a close-hauled passage of 2,400 nautical miles. Like most upwind passages, it was fun in retrospect but not so much at the time. It was a rough three weeks, pounding into confused head seas with never much less than 20 knots of wind. Looking back on it, though, it was one of the richest passages we’ve ever made, thanks to the abundance of the rare and beautiful marine life we were lucky enough to see.


By November 2020, our cold-molded wooden cutter Celeste had been in French Polynesia for almost 2½ years. We had kept up with her most-needed maintenance but had deferred certain larger projects for our eventual return to the States, where parts and supplies would be cheaper and easier to obtain. Due to a combination of work obligations and the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, the time had come to sail Celeste to Hawaii.

It was going to be an upwind passage, though, with all the forecasts calling for strong headwinds. Had we been able to wait until April or May, we would likely have encountered much easier conditions than we did. The same would have been true had we been able to set off from the Marquesas (about 500 miles farther east from where we were anchored in the Tuamotu archipelago). But neither was possible, so we just had to stow our whining and sail.

November in the southern hemisphere is late spring, early summer. The weather patterns are markedly different from the winter weather patterns. To begin with, it is the start of cyclone season, although cyclones in French Polynesia are uncommon and become even less likely the farther east you are. Summer brings more heat and humidity and calmer, shiftier winds. Most importantly for Seth and me is that the southern trade winds shift from the southeast into the northeast. This makes sailing north a whole lot tougher.

Knowing that we would soon be leaving French Polynesia for the indefinite future, we spent our last few months there on our favorite islands, the Tuamotu. These islands are atolls, flat rings of uplifted coral surrounding lagoons. They’re not the lush mountains abounding with tropical fruit that one thinks of as quintessentially South Pacific. Still, beneath the surface, they’re staggering: sheer walls of coral plunging to a bottomless abyss, canyons teeming with fish finding refuge from the ripping currents, and phalanxes of sharks patrolling the passes into the lagoons, looking for their next meal.

By October, the summer pattern of northeast winds had

established itself in the Tuamotu. Although we stayed alert to any weather window that might allow us to sail northeast to the Marquesas in search of a better wind angle, there was nothing. So we cleared out of the country with the gendarmerie in Rangiroa, situated at the northern end of the Tuamotu chain and the only island in that archipelago that is an official port of entry. Thus began our 2,400 miles of upwind sailing.


Before leaving and throughout the passage, we consulted weather forecasts from OCENS WeatherNet. We receive these GRIB files over a satellite phone and an OCENS Sidekick Wifi router/firewall (the latter is designed to only accept compressed files to ensure you don’t accidentally chew up a lot of expensive sat phone minutes). The forecasts showed the northeast winds gradually veering into the east near the equator and then finally southeast just below the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) around 6 degrees north. Winds in the ITCZ were predictably shifty and light. North of the ITCZ, beginning around 10 degrees north, the winter trade winds of the North Pacific were blowing strong from the northeast.

The rhumb line route from Rangiroa to the Big Island of

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Celeste at anchor in the Tuamotus.

Hawaii is only slightly west of north. The trick is to stay as far east as possible, or even to make some additional easting, before reaching the strong northeast trade winds, thus ensuring a better angle on the wind. This adds mileage, but one hopes the extra time at sea is worth it for better sailing. This strategy would be difficult for us, as the wind was from the northeast right at the start. We decided to point as close to the wind as possible without it becoming intolerable or too slow; slamming into steep seas while sailing close-hauled can kill Celeste’s boat speed, as she is relatively light displacement for a cruising vessel. We decided that any easting we lost we would make up again just below the ITCZ in the more favorable winds. If possible, we wanted to cross the ITCZ at around 145 degrees west, about 2 degrees east of our departure point, thus allowing us to fall off onto a decent reach for Hawaii once we entered the northeast trades.


Rangiroa’s beautiful bottlenose dolphins gave us a superb sendoff as we sailed out of the lagoon through Tiputa pass. We felt we knew these dolphins well after a few weeks of snorkeling and scuba diving with them. Watching them as we sailed away from a place so special to us lifted our spirits. We wondered if they were the same dolphins who had given us a send-off over a dozen years before when we’d first visited Rangiroa on our circumnavigation. And we hoped we might see them again someday, on another voyage.

Then we were out in the ocean swell and wind. Celeste heeled right over, and Seth and I decided we should cook something easy for dinner that night while we found our sea legs.

After a day and a half of shipping spray over the bow, the wind moderated and we could shake out a reef. Soon thereafter, we were visited by a big pod of dolphins jumping clean out of the water. We could tell they weren’t spinner dolphins, which we’re familiar with from both French Polynesia and Hawaii. They were longer and darker and didn’t spin when they jumped. We didn’t think they were bottlenose dolphins, as they looked more slender. We spent considerable time looking through our marine mammal book until we thought we had identified our cheerful visitors as rough-toothed dolphins. That was a first for us. We’ve seen common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spinners, pilot whales, different porpoise species, and several species of whales, but not these sleek creatures. Between our new dolphins and the beautiful weather, it was the kind of day that reminds us why we love sailing. Our pleasant day soon ended,

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Above: Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa at slack tide. The current is very strong on ebb and flood Right: Grey reef shark seen while scuba diving in the Tuamotus

unfortunately, and by nightfall, we were back to a double reef and then a triple reef, with the rail under and spray soaking the dodger. Spaghetti for dinner again.

The wind was veering, however, and we were able to make some easting by remaining close-hauled. Although we had sailed a little west of Rangiroa’s longitude at the beginning, we gradually headed farther east, and by the time we were ten days into the passage, we’d sailed the 2 degrees east that we’d hoped for. Around that time, we also got another reprieve of lighter wind and mellow sea state, letting us get out the camera and photograph the remarkable bird life that stayed with us throughout the voyage: petrels, storm petrels, shearwaters, and tropicbirds. One shearwater we spotted that day had just caught a squid.

More marine mammals came to visit. They were a small pod of dark-colored creatures, about 8 feet long, with distinctive rounded foreheads and dorsal fins set fairly far back on their bodies. They swam slowly. They approached Celeste, and that seemed to satisfy their curiosity because they went off again without bow-riding like so many dolphins do. We could see them distinctly through the clear pelagic water, unusually calm for this passage, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get a good

photo of them as they never fully lifted their faces above the water. Seth and I were both captivated. There was something magical about these animals: they seemed so peaceful and calm. After sailing through buffeting wind and waves for the last week, it was wonderful to observe such serenity. Watching their unhurried pace calmed us both and reminded us how rich and beautiful the natural world is. That’s one reason we sail, after all, to find a deeper connection with our watery planet than is otherwise possible.

Seth and I have a quick reference poster for marine mammals taped up in the companionway, and with this, we came to the immediate and definite conclusion that these were pygmy orcas, also called pygmy killer whales. The melon-headed whale and the false killer whale also have that rounded head, but from looking at the poster (which includes all three of these species) and then looking at our cetacean visitors, we were sure they were pygmy orcas. Once we arrived in Hawaii, however, we began to second-guess ourselves. Pygmy orcas are rare or at least rarely seen. The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species has them as “data deficient.” According to NOAA, “not much is known about

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Clockwise from top left: Bottlenose dolphins seen while snorkeling in Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa; rough-toothed dolphin jumps next to Celeste; petrel in flight; shearwater catches a squid

them, and they are considered naturally rare.” The first recorded sighting of a live animal did not occur until 1954; before then, pygmy orcas were only known from two skulls found in the 19th century. While more people have seen them in recent decades, sightings are still unusual. So had we really seen these elusive creatures? Further digging eventually confirmed that we had: they looked and behaved in a way consistent with other reports. So this difficult passage had rewarded us with an extraordinary sighting, both in its rarity and its magical quality as it happened.


We had another day of good weather, and that was it. For the rest of the passage, we were back to shipping waves over the bow. Down below, Celeste was full of all those creaks and groans that accompany small-boat sailing in steep seas: the mast straining with the pressure of the wind, the hull straining with all the forces of forward movement through the waves. Moving around the boat required keeping a hand on something almost all the time and staying clipped into the jack lines or other strong points whenever out on deck. We shortened sail to three reefs, then no mainsail at all. As we have many times before,

we felt thankful that Celeste is such a strongly built vessel. With all the pressure on the rig, we were also thankful we’d replaced her wire rigging three years previously before leaving for French Polynesia.

A day later, we reached the edge of the ITCZ. We’d managed to make quite a bit of easting, reaching 144° 45’ W. The forecasts had been showing a very shifty ITCZ: some days, it was fairly narrow, without much precipitation (a good indication of the density of squalls and thunderstorms), and then within a day, or even within hours, it would broaden out to

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Above: Spray on the dodger on a typical day on passage to Hawaii Right: Squall in the ITCZ

as much as 300 miles, thick with squalls. Unfortunately, we managed to time it just wrong.

As we approached, it broadened and got dense with squalls. We didn’t want to dive into that if we could help it: squalls are one thing, but the ITCZ is known for its thunderstorms. As all sailors know, lightning is frightening on a small boat whose mast is the tallest thing for hundreds of miles. Our mast is grounded, of course, but a lightning strike would still be devastating. It can ruin your electronics and also cause significant additional damage. The shock of it would be scary and could potentially cause injury. After a near miss in a big electrical storm several years ago, Seth and I have been extremely cautious when it comes to lightning. So we decided to wait it out. In three days, a gap in the precipitation and an appreciable narrowing of the low-pressure band was forecast at our longitude: we would cross the ITCZ then.

It was a tough decision. We both wanted to get home: the fatigue caused by the motion of sailing close on the wind, the constant heeling and pitching, was wearing on us. The wave action was doubly uncomfortable thanks to the swirling currents and countercurrents around the equator, sometimes setting directly against or at 90° to the wind. Waiting for three days meant that we would miss Thanksgiving in Hawaii. It also meant that we might not make our goal of a passage of 20 days or less. Yes, we’re mildly competitive and wanted to beat the elapsed times of all our friends who had made this passage in comparable boats. (The best time among them was 23 days, so we had a bit of a buffer). And finally, waiting around, tacking back and forth at 2 or 3 knots, is irritating in the extreme. One sails oceans to go places, not to sail in circles!

Our enervating wait finally ended, and it turned out to have been well worth it. We had only about a day of typical

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Sunset on a rare calm day
It was a tough decision. We both wanted to get home: the fatigue caused by the motion of sailing close on the wind, the constant heeling and pitching, was wearing on us. ”

ITCZ weather — squally, with that heavy, oppressive cloud cover that’s so common in low-pressure zones — and then we came out the other side into stiff winter trade winds. Our decision had paid off. We’d seen no thunderstorms at all and also no calms. We sailed all the way through, not having to motor once. We’d reached the trades in only a day. The cool northeast wind felt so familiar, so much like Hawaii, that it almost seemed we were there already. It was strong, though, and for the next couple of days, we were down to staysail alone.

The rain squalls hadn’t done with us, however. Three days out from Hawaii, more cloudy, squally weather descended, and we raced along under just the staysail once more. But neither had the marine mammals disappeared. The last to visit was an enormous pod of small, compact dolphins with distinctive pinkish-white lips. They played around Celeste for hours, taking turns riding the bow wave, then jetting off towards the horizon, then frolicking back and swimming beside us. We identified these as pan-tropical spotted dolphins, another new sighting for us.

While the abundant bird and mammal life was so heartening to see on this passage, we were disappointed to encounter two very big Asian longlines set — legally or not; we’re not sure — in the territorial waters of Kiribati when we sailed within 80 miles of Caroline Island. Longlines left unattended with Class B AIS transponders (that’s how we knew their names) and then later collected by the fishermen catch not only the

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Above: Lumpy seas on passage to Hawaii Right: Pantropical spotted dolphins

First morning in Hilo, Mauna Kea in the background Inset: Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest peak at nearly 14,000 feet Below: Waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii

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target fish species but countless others, known as bycatch. This includes rays, sharks, birds, and even dolphins. Fishermen have gotten so good at finding and killing fish that it’s a real problem for the ocean’s ecosystems’ health. There’s no consequence to creating all the bycatch, either, and frankly, there won’t be until consumers everywhere refuse to buy fish that’s caught in unsustainable ways. I doubt any fish on those longlines were intended for the North American market. But I can’t help bringing it up as a sad reminder of what’s happening in what would otherwise be such a beautifully abundant ocean.


Seth and I reached Hilo, Hawaii, around an hour past midnight a few days after Thanksgiving. We’d squeaked in just under 20 days at sea, despite our three days waiting for better ITCZ conditions. It was raining heavily as we rounded the breakwater and lowered and furled our sails, and the air was full of that wonderful smell of wet, warm, tropical earth. It felt surreal to look over at the town’s waterfront, sleepy and placid under its amber streetlights. It was a different world than the

About the Author and Photographers

heaving seas and high winds we’d just come from. Arrival after a long ocean passage is always a strange feeling: there’s a disconnect between the elemental life you have been living and the shore life you fall into so quickly. You feel so distant from the people ashore, so marked by your experiences at sea, that it feels strange to realize that outwardly you look no different than when you left your home months or years previously. No matter how many times you make an ocean crossing, this feeling never seems to go away.

We had a slight mix-up about where to drop anchor in these post-COVID days, but once that was sorted out, we bathed in fresh water for the first time in three weeks, changed the sheets on the bunks, and fell into luxuriously clean beds on our luxuriously still and quiet boat.

We woke at dawn, accustomed to a short sleep cycle on the passage. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and there, immediately before us, rose the great dome of Mauna Kea, towering 14,000 feet, its red cinder flanks glowing rose in the sunrise. For a sight like that, almost any amount of upwind sailing is worth it. © Ellen Massey Leonard, 2022, all rights reserved.

Ellen and Seth Leonard were the 2018 Young Voyager Awardees and Ellen has also been honored to receive the Charles H. Vilas Literary Award. They have sailed almost 60,000 miles on rudimentary classic boats, including a global circumnavigation in their early 20s, a voyage to the Alaskan Arctic reaching the polar pack ice, and a second crossing of the Pacific to the South Seas Islands. In November 2020, after three seasons in French Polynesia, they made a 20-day passage from the Tuamotu archipelago to Hawaii. They spent the following year working on upgrades and repairs to Celeste, with one cruise among the Hawaiian Islands. Seth and Ellen are currently enjoying weekend sailing while they focus on their shore-based careers. Seth works remotely as a data scientist for a New York City-based consultancy. Ellen recently earned her pilot’s certificate and is now training for further ratings. She still writes for magazines as time allows.

Celeste is a 1985 custom cold-molded wooden cutter designed by Francis Kinney and built by Bent Jespersen in British Columbia. She’s 40 feet overall and 28 feet on the waterline.

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“ You feel so distant from the people ashore, so marked by your experiences at sea, that it feels strange to realize that outwardly you look no different than when you left your home months or years previously. ”

Preparing Mini Transat for the

after two seasons, i have qualified for the 2023 solo ocean race.

By the evening of the 12th day at sea in August 2022, I was beyond exhausted. With almost no direct sunlight for the previous week, my boat’s batteries were run down. The most difficult portion of this 1,300-nautical-mile solo race from the Azores to France was the final 300 miles into the Bay of Biscay. Without power, there was no autopilot, and with my automatic identification system (AIS) transponder shut off, I was playing frogger with giant ships crossing between the mouth of the English Channel and Cape Finisterre, Spain. Reaching speeds of up to 15 knots, I was surfing down waves with a large asymmetric spinnaker and flying it for days at a time. The two handheld VHF radios were dead, and all that remained was a little handheld GPS and a flashlight to shine on my mainsail. For the first time ever in a race, I hove to that final night at sea for a brief threehour nap before I hurt myself or the boat. I had hallucinated in a previous race and did not want to put myself in that compromising position again. All this while racing alone on a 21-foot, high-performance boat in foreign seas.

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What brought an Annapolis sailor to the legendary world of French solo ocean racing? Well, after 7,484 nautical miles in my Classe Mini 6.50 and two successful seasons based out of France, I am ready to share my story in Voyages. It spans the Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea, and parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

My ultimate mission is to compete in the Mini Transat. This extreme solo and unassisted ocean race in a 21-foot (6.5meter) sailboat takes place every other year from France, with the next race starting in late September 2023. Over 4,000 nautical miles long, it is a two-stage race. The first leg departs the iconic Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, from the same pontoon as the Vendée Globe, the ultimate solo nonstop race around

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Terminal Leave in choppy seas at the start of the 2022 (2,600 nm) Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables Race. Credit: Manon Le Guen. Major Peter Gibbons-Neff, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

the world. This 1,350-mile leg to the Canary Islands is well known for rough weather and big seas. The second leg is 2,700 miles long starting in late October with a finish in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. This route comprises endless days of reaching in the trade winds — exactly the conditions this type of boat was designed for. To qualify, each participant must compete in sanctioned Mini class races for a minimum of 1,500 miles in the boat they plan to race in the Mini Transat. He or she also needs to complete a qualifying course of at least 1,000 miles solo.

My motivation for competing in the Mini Transat is to help raise awareness for a nonprofit organization called U.S. Patriot Sailing, which supports military veterans through the sport of sailing with a focus on racing. With teams based out of Annapolis and Solomons, Maryland, San Diego, California, and most recently Seattle, Washington, it is a national organization that continues to expand its reach. Through a team of dedicated volunteers and donated boats, both veterans and active-duty service members are welcomed onto a team. These veterans range from those with no sailing experience to highly proficient racers, and

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The team gave me purpose and a reason to get outside and enjoy life once again. I did not fully realize it at the time, but I needed both the sailing and the teammates in my life.
Departing Les Sables d'Olonne, France in July 2022 for the 1,300-nautical-mile solo race to the Azores.

they help each other succeed every day while on the water. U.S. Patriot Sailing supports veterans navigating the transition to civilian life, rehabilitation after injury, and the complex life challenges associated with combat deployments. This all-volunteer organization provides camaraderie, a sense of mission accomplishment, and new dynamic experiences. Everything is provided at each event, including life jackets, foul-weather gear, and instruction. I have seen the positive results firsthand and hope to see this organization continue to grow across the country.

My start with the team is important to this story. A few years ago, I was on active duty as an officer in the Marine Corps. After returning from a deployment, I was going through a divorce and needed a hard reset on my personal life. Professionally everything appeared great, but my free time away from work was difficult.

On a cold winter day, I agreed to help the U.S. Patriot Sailing team with boat work on its Farr 30 in Annapolis in preparation for the upcoming season. One day of frozen fingers turned into two days, and soon I was spending as much time as I could out on the water. The team gave me purpose and a reason to get outside and enjoy life once again. I did not fully realize it at the time, but I needed both the sailing and the teammates in my life.

As I approached 10 years on active duty in the Marine Corps, my final duty station was the Pentagon. This allowed me the opportunity to live near the team in Annapolis. The team

was there for me throughout my divorce and during my transition into the reserves — two major life changes over the span of two years.

During this time, the world was mostly shut down from the pandemic. One of the first areas of professional sailing to re-emerge was solo ocean racing in France. Skippers training for the Vendée Globe got back on their boats and successfully started their race in November 2020. This sparked my initial interest in solo sailing, and the Classe Mini was within my financial reach and offered the possibility of competing in the Mini Transat the following year.

Miraculously, the best-looking Mini for sale happened to be located not in France, but in Annapolis! It had raced in the Bermuda One-Two twice and was ready to sail. I walked over to a local yacht club, and from the first time I saw the boat I was committed to solo ocean racing.

In the military we call our final time off “terminal leave.” This leave is used for the concluding time in service where we are paid for those days while not wearing the uniform. It was only fitting to name my boat Terminal Leave since I had about three months of leave saved up and this would be my transition project off active duty.

After my quick decision to buy the Classe Mini, the fall was spent learning how to sail this new-to-me type of boat. My

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Peter trims the jib on Terminal Leave off Douarnenez, France, during the Trophée Marie-Agnès Péron race in June 2022. Credit: Manon Le Guen.

work list included making the boat class-legal and ready to safely race across the Atlantic Ocean. That winter, with help from friends and U.S. Patriot teammates, I started knocking off items from the to-do list, such as dropping the rig, rewiring all the electronics, and repairing the boat trailer.

Looking back, it is easy to forget about all the initial preparations and just focus on the sailing, but this was a crucial and challenging time. Working full time at the Pentagon while completing the requirements to transition off active duty, I was also taking night classes for a master’s degree in strategic intelligence and writing papers — all while trying to start a serious solo ocean-racing campaign.

In the spring of 2021, I drove the boat to Baltimore to load onto a car-carrying ship bound for Europe. After months of trying to get a visa, I was finally allowed into France on May 24, 2021, and got to work immediately. La Trinité-sur-Mer would be my home base when not out racing. It is an incredible location, teeming with Class 40s and multiple large 100-foot Ultim trimarans designed to race around the world.

By June I was back offshore for the first time in almost a decade. I grew up racing both dinghies and keel boats, including many offshore races and deliveries on my parents’ Farr 395 Upgrade and skippering the U.S. Naval Academy’s TP52 Invictus in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race. With over 8,000 nautical miles of blue-water experience, I knew I had the foundational skills to safely jump back into offshore sailing.

My first two races that season were double-handed and took me from the Bay of Biscay through the English Channel to Deauville in Normandy, France. My first solo sail was the delivery from Normandy back to La Trinité-sur-Mer, 360 nautical miles through one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world along with Brittany’s notoriously strong tidal currents. The next race was solo from Port Bourgenay, France, to Getxo, Spain, and back over two stages. This is where I first experienced the raw power of the Bay of Biscay as a deep low-pressure system moved across the area. With almost 40 knots of wind and steep seas in the southern part of the bay, it was an important test.

By the end of July 2021, and after discussions with the class, it was clear there was no way for me to qualify in time for that year’s Mini Transat. The focus shifted to preparing for the next Mini Transat in 2023. Before heading home, I completed my required 1,000-nautical-mile solo sail from Ireland to La Rochelle, France, and back. After 10 days at sea alone and in light air, the final stretch along the Irish coast proved the most challenging. Wind speeds consistently averaged above 30 knots in a pitch-black night, and steep waves buffeted me from two different directions. Terminal Leave was bounced around but survived another serious test. I finished the 2021 season having sailed 3,406 nautical miles, including over 2,000 miles solo — a solid basis to build on.

In April 2022, I returned to La Trinité-sur-Mer for a second season of Mini racing. The objective was to complete my qualifications for the Mini Transat and improve my performance on

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Terminal Leave sails fast downwind in heavy air reaching speeds of 15 knots off the coast of Spain while racing from the Azores back to France in August 2022.

the race course. The first race of the season was a 500-mile solo race conveniently starting in La Trinité-sur-Mer. With 100 Minis competing, it was a long starting line! Light winds made it challenging, and the course was shortened by almost 90 miles. My autopilot malfunctioned, forcing me to hand-steer for the final three days while dodging the large fleet of fishing boats operating in the Bay of Biscay. The severe sleep deprivation caused exhaustion and even hallucinations, but I never quit.

The next race consisted of a 220-mile solo race out of Douarnenez in northwest France, again shortened due to light winds. This felt more like a sprint and was my best performance of the season. The boat performed well, and I was able to focus more on the tactical situation compared to the previous race.

In June, I competed in a 600-mile race called the Mini Fastnet. This double-handed race departed from Douarnenez and took us across the English Channel to the Celtic Sea and back. The fleet was supposed to round the famous Fastnet Rock, but once again the course was shortened due to light winds. Short-tacking just a few boat lengths off the rocky shores of Land’s End, England, was slightly terrifying as a boat owner, but worth the risk to avoid the strong currents. After 470 nautical miles of racing, the fleet compressed to just 10 miles as we entered the Bay of Douarnenez. I have yet to see a closer finish in any of the other races. Unfortunately for me, as the wind dropped across the fleet, it filled in sporadically for the final few miles at about 0300. The back half of the fleet ended up passing me as I continued to drift and watch helplessly. It was a frustrating finish to a solid race, but I carried forward the lessons learned.

The final race of the 2022 season was a 2,600-nauticalmile two-stage solo race with a 60-boat fleet. Departing Les Sables-d’Olonne, we headed southwest 1,300 miles to Horta in the Azores. With its famous high-pressure system sitting over the islands, the fleet struggled over the final half of the course. After 12 days of fierce racing, we only had about three days to rest and recover until we were back out on the starting line for the return leg. As we prepared to depart the Azores, the weather models were not consistent and provided an interesting navigational dilemma: do you sail a shorter distance closer to the rhumb line but with more time upwind, or do you sail much farther north and gamble on more favorable reaching conditions?

Unlike most offshore races, we have an additional challenge within the Mini fleet: we are not allowed to have any form of satellite communications, which precludes downloading weather data. Instead, for these longer races the race organizers broadcast an audio weather forecast once a day (in both French and English) over single side-band (SSB). We have small SSB radio receivers and tune into this race-specific forecast each afternoon. They provide the general location of

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Solar panels were my only method of power and normally would be more than sufficient, but the weather would not cooperate. With 600 miles left in the race and just enough power to run the autopilot for two hours a day, I thought, “Who would be crazy enough to start a Newport Bermuda Race with dead batteries?!

pressure systems, fronts, and wind data for large areas of the ocean. Skippers must write everything down and transfer the data onto paper charts since we are not authorized to use chart plotters or laptops.

Since Terminal Leave does not have the newer scow bow, she cannot capitalize as much on heavy-air reaching conditions, so I chose to sail less distance and stayed just north of the rhumb line. By the halfway point of the race, the fleet had about a 500-mile lateral spread from the coast of Portugal almost to the coast of Ireland. The separation was unprecedented in the history of the race. Since we do not have internet access to the race-tracking website, the rankings are provided after each forecast. Due to the separation, one day I would be in the top third, followed by the bottom third, then back in the top third the next day. We did not know how it would all play out until the final few days of the race.

The downside to my more direct southern route, besides heavy-air upwind conditions, was a lack of sunlight. For a week straight I had almost no direct sunlight to charge my batteries. Solar panels were my only method of power and normally would be more than sufficient, but the weather would not cooperate. With 600 miles left in the race and just enough power to run the autopilot for two hours a day, I thought, “Who would be crazy enough to start a Newport Bermuda Race with dead batteries?!”

By the 10th day, my batteries were completely dead. I was forced to hand-steer as much as possible because we were running downwind with the spinnaker up and surfing down waves. Hitting speeds up to 15 knots, these boats are easily overpowered and lashing down the tiller rarely works in those conditions. We do not carry wind vanes because there is simply not enough room. As mentioned earlier, I finished the race with just a handheld GPS and a flashlight, dodging numerous ships and small fishing boats moving in all directions.

Terminal Leave and I finished the Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables (SAS) race on August 16 with an elapsed time of just over 24 days. Despite the exhaustion, I was proud to have finished the most difficult race of the Classe Mini that year. Completing this race was the best test of the boat and me for the off year and guaranteed me entry in the upcoming Mini Transat race. Over this second season, I sailed over 4,000 miles. Each mile feels much longer on such a small boat. This brings my total on Terminal Leave to 7,484 miles, with almost 6,000 miles of it solo.

The 2023 Mini Transat starts on September 24 from the same Les Sables-d’Olonne pontoon. Now that I am back in Annapolis for the winter, I have started preparations for my final season in France. The major upgrades still required for the big race are two new solar panels, the addition of a hydro generator, and replacing some of the sails. The hydro generator has a small propeller attached to the stern that will be lowered

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” “
As we prepared to depart the Azores, the weather models were not consistent and provided an interesting navigational dilemma: do you sail a shorter distance closer to the rhumb line but with more time upwind, or do you sail much farther north and gamble on more favorable reaching conditions?
A 1,000-natutical-mile solo sail is required to compete in the Mini Transat. Celestial navigation skills and proper log-book keeping are inspected by the Classe Mini organization.

into the water to convert the movement of water into useable power. This new system should prevent me from losing power again if the sun does not cooperate on the Mini Transat.

I welcome interested sailors and CCA members to follow my progress at After each race I write an after-action report describing the event and my thought process along the way. And please check out U.S. Patriot Sailing at

Thank you for your interest and for following my mission to compete in the 2023 Mini Transat!


Peter Gibbons-Neff Jr. is a lifelong sailor from Villanova, Pennsylvania, but grew up racing in Annapolis, Maryland. After studying oceanography at the U.S. Naval Academy and graduating in 2011, he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Peter served on active duty for ten years as an intelligence officer and is currently a major in the Marine Corps Reserves. In addition to the Mini Transat campaign, volunteering with U.S. Patriot Sailing, and completing his military reserve drill obligation, Peter is finishing an master’s degree in strategic intelligence at the National Intelligence University in Bethesda, Maryland. Peter currently lives in Annapolis and is a member of the CCA Chesapeake Station.

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Light winds in the English Channel and Celtic Sea made for a slow Mini-Fastnet Race in June 2022. Credit: Manon Le Guen.

Reunion at Cape Horn

Forty years ago, in February 1982, I stood on a pier in Punta Arenas, Chile, with a dream of rounding Cape Horn. In an article I’d written for  Voyages titled “What the Tarot Cards Said,” I explained how tarot cards had dealt me the good fortune of meeting a group of young sailors on their way around the Horn. After several enjoyable days bonding, I was invited to join them on  Anna Christine, a Camper Nicholson 40 that had sailed from Norway to New Zealand and was now on her way home. It didn’t matter to me that, at 36, I was a half-generation

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Anna Christine crew, 1982: Clockwise from upper left: Wollert, Howard, Tapio, Rags, and Bryn. (This photo previously appeared in 2014 Voyages). Statsraad Lehmkuhl alongside the Ushuaia pier.

older than the 21-year-old captain, Wollert Hvide, and his Norwegian school friends, Bryn and Rags. The other young crew were Tapio, a Finn, and Howard, a New Zealander. That first trip through the Chilean Channels to and around Cape Horn and then to the Falkland Islands remains one of my life’s most opportune and meaningful experiences. Over the years, I stayed in touch with Wollert and some with Tapio. Wollert and I met several times in Norway, at my home in New Hampshire, and on a random surprise sailing encounter at Fair Isle between Orkney and Shetland in 2000.

In the fall of 2020, Wollert got in touch with me about a plan he’d made with two other Norwegian sailing friends to secure berths on  Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a 100-meter-long Norwegian training ship planning to round Cape Horn. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is currently on a world circumnavigation with a goal “to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for sustainable development in a global perspective.” COVID and other obstacles kept our dream at bay, but we

were committed. At the last minute, Tapio decided to join us. A second gathering of we three was in the cards.

As my Aerolínas Argentinas flight dropped through the cloud cover into Ushuaia, I saw, to my considerable delight, Statsraad Lehmkuhl making her way into port. I met up with Wollert and Tapio in Ushuaia over several meals and a halfday hike that included Wollert’s daughter, who was four years older than Wollert was when he led our original adventure, and her friend. Three negative COVID tests before leaving home made it possible to cross the Statsraad Lehmkuhl gangplank on March 31, 2022, ready for adventure.

The passage was expected to take six days, ultimately making a final heading for Cape Horn at the Diego Ramírez archipelago. Statsraad Lehmkuhl generally carries 20 permanent crew, 10 apprentices and volunteers, and 150 Norwegian cadet trainees, the latter of whom had departed upon our arrival. We were designated “trainees” like the

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Statsraad Lehmkuhl is currently on a world circumnavigation with a goal ‘to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for sustainable development in a global perspective.’
“ ”
My first view of Statsraad Lehmkuhl approaching Ushuaia.

others — yet we were twice as old! Because we were a considerably older crew, the use of sails (Statsraad Lehmkuhl has 22) was understandably conservative. At 76, I may have been the oldest aboard, although there was a 75-year-old American from Norfolk, Virginia, who impressed me one chilly, windy morning by volunteering to go to the first yard for furling, which took close to an hour.

As crew in training, we had various duties and watches. Watches were divided up into blue (0800–1200, 2000–2400), red (0000–0400, 1200–1600), and white (0400–0800, 1600–2000), which was mine. There was a bow watch (lookout), man-overboard or buoy watch (safety at the stern), helm watch, and my favorite, fire watch, which involved visiting various points above and below deck looking for smoke, fire, or other abnormalities, as well as marking the ship’s time within each watch-keeping period by striking the ship’s bell. Our white watch would muster around 0355 on the mid-deck, which was usually dry and sheltered from the wind. Those who weren’t on

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All hands sleep in hammocks. Tapio on bow watch.

Trainees aloft reefing.

watch would discuss sail nomenclature and rigging, navigation, and even the ship’s history and the organization by our watch leader, the ship’s bosun. A writing board was mounted on the bulkhead, and the red glow of deck lights provided lighting. We had other instruction in skills like hands-on splicing with samples of thick, stiff lines and below-deck classroom discussions of microplastics and pertinent microbiology.

We were given hammocks and lockers. The hammock berthing was without regard to gender, and our quarters were divided according to watch, with about 25 people per watch. I’d had significant back surgery two years before this trip and likely was the only one to do a workaround that avoided the hammock.

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Cerro Fitzroy in cloud, El Chaltén, Argentina. After departing Ushuaia, Bob drove north across the pampas and (fittingly) encountered Cerro Fitzroy, named after Robert Fitzroy, the captain of HMS Beagle.
In the past, song was important in such an otherwise barren and disciplined existence. We learned that ‘a good sea chantey was worth 10 men on a windlass.’
“ ”

The ship’s mess was excellent, and I shared the occasional meal with Wollert and Tapio, who were on different watch teams. On two protected-water evenings, we gathered in the mess area (which doubled as blue-watch sleeping quarters at non-mealtimes) for sea chantey sing-alongs led by one of the ship’s permanent crewmembers, an expert in sea-chantey history and good with the guitar. In the past, song was important in such an otherwise barren and disciplined existence. We learned that “a good sea chantey was worth 10 men on a windlass.” My watch team won the ship’s sea chantey contest, thanks to some creative mates who met and practiced their winning lines.

I had one bow watch that offered a starry sky (0400–0800), at least temporarily, and one shift at the helm, under a pitchblack, starless sky with hydraulic steering and just the compass.

I was positioned looking across the compass rose, eyes glued to it, 90 degrees from the ship’s course — very different from how it had played out on our 40-foot sailboat 40 years ago. The buoy watch was a stern watch and usually out of the wind. The watchkeeper was charged with throwing a buoy and spreading alarm for an unlikely sailor-overboard situation.

My journal states that on April 3 there was gale-strength wind as I came on deck for the 0400–0800 watch, the lower deck occasionally awash amid “black-on-black” visibility with only a few stars and a distant flashing light from the Diego Ramírez archipelago. “Hook in and hang on” was the operative order. Escalating conditions included a gust over 60 knots on the mid-watch with occasional hail showers. Experiencing this aboard a 330-foot sailing ship with a conservative sail plan was

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Wollert, author Bob Lux, and Tapio.
‘Hook in and hang on’ was the operative order.
Escalating conditions included a gust over 60 knots on the mid-watch with occasional hail showers.
Wollert preparing for watch.
Cape Horn in wind and hail.

an adventure without small-boat, small-crew anxiety. Nautical history has rendered that southernmost promontory so foreboding. Indeed it lived up to its reputation for us. One surmises going to windward “round the Horn” in a square rigger in winter 150 years ago was the stuff of reputation enhancement.

Seeing Beagle Channel from Ushuaia, a town backed by rugged, snow-rimmed mountains, brought forth a flood of memories. I had the 0400–0800 bow watch that night. It was pitch dark. I could see land reasonably close by where the arm narrows. We proceeded onward into Bahia Cook and then toward the Diego Ramírez islands. After Cape Horn, we returned to the Beagle, again moving to the appealing northwest arm in daylight, but the cloud cover was low. On our first

passage in 1982, we entered an unnamed fjord with spectacular views of Mount Darwin — standing at 8,000 feet — which I described then as the “wild heart” of Tierra del Fuego. Yet this April visit, at night and with low clouds, I could not be sure if we were passing the same fjord entrance, similar to driving by an old friend’s house and missing it.

And then it came to a close.  Statsraad Lehmkuhl docked in Ushuaia, and we had a farewell dinner and went our separate ways, just as we had done so many years ago, destined to sail with each other again. Wollert went with family and friends to Mendoza, Argentina, before returning to Norway. Tapio returned to Finland to prepare for the Golden Globe Race. Statsraad Lehmkuhl went on to see more of the world.

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White watch team photo 2022.

I boarded a plane for home. As I looked out of the plane window at the magnificent Beagle Channel, that remote land disappearing beneath the cloud, my mind was filled with vivid memories of arriving at the Strait of Magellan in February 1982 and looking south toward the snow-capped mountains that stood where I hoped to go — Cape Horn.


Bob Lux (BOS/GMP) learned to sail on Long Island Sound in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1980, he bought a Bermuda 40 to circumnavigate, which he did with his wife Beth, from 1984 to 1991. In 1996, they were awarded the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, in recognition of their seven-year, 53,000-mile circumnavigation. Most cruising over the subsequent years was on the Maine coast, with occasional visits to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Newfoundland. They sailed to Scotland and Norway 1999-2001 and Bermuda in 2015. Bob and Beth recently parted ways with Rhodora, after 42 years of ownership.

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A last look at Beagle Channel country, Ushuaia is right of center.


EuropE in

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Rock of Gibraltar.

Havingsailed Moon Shadow, our 2000 Aerodyne 47, to Lagos, Portugal, in 2019, John and I are eager to return, but COVID-19 intervenes. When can we go? Our reservations change — we have an April 2020 departure, then August 2020, then April 2021, and finally May 6, 2021. Two days before our flight, however, we receive an email from SATA (Azores Airlines) refusing passage. After many efforts to contact an overwhelmed customer service, we speak with Tonya, who says that while our negative PCR tests are acceptable for entry into the Azores, Portugal’s COVID restrictions prevent us from continuing to the mainland. After endless discussion, the Boston station manager authorizes our flight through to Lisbon, though we have to walk out of the terminal at Pointa Delgada Airport and re-enter for the “domestic flight.”

The boaT breaks

We meet Ricardo Salgado, our magnificent customer service representative at the Sopromar boatyard, on Saturday morning. Ricardo had called the day of our flight to tell us attempts to run our 2016 Yanmar JH57 engine had failed. Corrosion on the wiring harness caused electrical fittings to break off. He’d already found the replacement part and sourced it with threeday delivery. Now he apologizes for not catching the problem sooner and suggests we can keep our launch date. Have you met a yard that has given you such superb service? As John says, it’s worth sailing hundreds of miles out of our way to leave Moon Shadow in such good hands.

Lagos, PorTugaL

Between boat commissioning chores and provisioning, we slip in a few moments of relaxation at the Praia do Pinhão beach. Moon Shadow has been cleaned inside and out. At the end of our 2019 trip, a vast Sahara sandstorm had turned the sky brown all the way north to Lisbon and covered the boat’s exterior in ultra-fine wet caking sand. Then the carpenter we hired (who was later fired by the boatyard) to recover our galley countertop left sawdust on all visible surfaces — a

friend had sent us photos of the sight. Without prompting, Ricardo had sent two cleaning ladies to make the mess disappear before our arrival, a bill we gladly paid. We defer fixing the newly discovered broken jib track and launch on May 18 — the first week Portugal officially permits sailing in and out of the harbors. Back on the water just 12 days after a winter haul-out that became 18 months.

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Customs officials stopped working during COVID’s peak and had ignored our efforts to get a legal extension. Now, exceeding the 18-month limit, our yard manager suggested we quietly leave town. Morocco, the usual EU reset destination, is closed to all marine traffic due to COVID, so our destination is Gibraltar.
Alvor anchorage. Praia do Pinhão beach, Lagos, Portugal.


Our next challenge is to reset the boat’s VAT tax clock by leaving the EU for one night. Customs officials stopped working during COVID’s peak and had ignored our efforts to get a legal extension. We’re now exceeding the 18-month limit, and our yard manager suggests we quietly leave town. Morocco, the usual EU reset destination, is closed to all marine traffic due to COVID, so our destination is Gibraltar.

We depart two days later, motoring 4 miles to Alvor. Our small 2.5 HP Honda outboard runs well on a trip into town until we stop to talk to a surfer. After that, the outboard runs a few seconds and quits. Increasingly frustrated, John eventually rips the starter cord out of the engine. A German launches his dinghy and tows us into town. We have a magnificent lunch, then row our inflatable across a small bay against the wind, walk about a mile along the mudflats, then row downwind 75 yards to get home.

Two days later, we sail on to Faro, a 40-nautical-mile afternoon jaunt that tests our sails. They fly! We remember how to operate the lines. Small miracles. We count on 7 knots and get 8, even with the jib shortened by 2.5 rolls to protect our newly cracked jib track. Taped off and lashed down, the remaining track works well.

The next day, we sail 90 nautical miles to Cadiz, Spain. We don’t want to check in and risk boat VAT questions, so we fly the quarantine flag. It is so windy we defer our start to 10 a.m.’s relative calm. Eventually the wind returns, enabling a reefed Moon Shadow to reach at 8 to 10 knots while surfing down 6-foot waves. Approaching shallow waters off Cadiz at sunset, we average 8.7 knots hand-steering through breaking waves and anchor next to a beautiful bridge in the last of the twilight.

While the anchorage is beautiful, the communications are frustrating. We had promised to call home, but the Portuguese Vodaphone chip will not connect in Spain, contrary to the company’s promises.

Adding to the tension was a VHF distress call we’d heard on our sail to Cadiz. Orcas had attacked a sailing vessel in the Bay of Cadiz. Spain’s maritime rescue service advised stopping the boat, centering the rudder, and turning off all electronics that emit signals into the water, stating that the orcas will lose interest and move away. Ten minutes later, the orcas did leave, and the sailboat was advised to continue on her course. Orca attacks have been on the rise since July 2020 — 56 attacks in southwest Spain in 2021, with half the boats requiring towing due to rudder damage. The government created an exclusion zone of 2–9 nautical miles offshore for boats under 50 feet between Cabo de Trafalgar and Punta Paloma during the summer tuna migration season. Northwest Spain had had an exclusion zone earlier. In August 2022, orcas sank a 36-foot sailboat 6 miles off Sines, Portugal. All five onboard escaped in a life raft.

Attacks are reported throughout the tuna migration area — orca feeding grounds. Biologists currently believe this unusual behavior is mostly from juveniles in two pods. Some believe the attacks are retribution for a poacher’s orca harpoon strikes; others say it’s play.

sTrai T of gibraLTar

So exciting! With Europe to port and Africa to starboard, passing through the strait on our own boat is a wonderful milestone. Seven miles wide, 3,000-feet deep, and with vast shipping traffic, the strait impresses. At the western end, the

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Cadiz Bridge Anchorage. The 1,184’ Symphony of the Sea getting a refit in Cadiz.

Tarifa lighthouse records winds over 30 knots 300 days a year. The strait is an east/west wind tunnel between tall mountains. The wind and a constant 2–3-knot eastward current can create treacherous seas. We can see Africa!

Spanish officialdom in a speedboat tracks us for a number of miles and then bears off. The VHF is full of alerts — problems, people in the water, and so many languages. Spanish is familiar, but Arabic? All emergency traffic is conducted in both Spanish and English.

Birds float by picking on the flesh of enormous dead tuna. The Spanish set out convoluted fish mazes that catch and confuse the tuna, and then they try to kill them by spearing. All sizes of tuna are caught. Some escape to die at sea.


In lovely Queensway Quay Marina, surrounded by milliondollar condos and high-end restaurants, nothing works quite

right. The hosts are kind, but they insist on an on-board quarantine until we pass two COVID PCR tests spaced five days apart. We must pay a king’s ransom to be tested aboard. Subsequent to a nurse walking off with the day’s cash payments, the test organization now demands online payment, but our Portuguese Vodaphone chips don’t work here either, so we can’t get online.

We speak to a government official on the marina phone who says no one will know if we leave the boat (but never repeat this). So we escape the marina, visit Gibraltar Telecom, and get online, albeit slowly. Over lunch we notify the testing authority and pay via PayPal. They arrive at the boat before we do — they need to test us within 48 hours of arrival. Four hours and $775 later, two negative test results are delivered. Unbelievable! I am shocked to discover that 50–70 people a day take these exorbitantly expensive tests on boats, in hotels, wherever they happen to be.

The only good thing about the COVID PCR extortion is that everything else seems cheap by comparison. Our entire 10-day stay in Gibraltar, including tour guides, marina fees, restaurants and provisioning, are less expensive than our tests.

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Queens Way Marina.
In August 2022, orcas sank a 36-foot sailboat 6 miles off Sines, Portugal. All five onboard escaped in a life raft. ”
Posidonia police.

reLaTions wiTh sPain

Gibraltar has a Spanish problem, and has for centuries. Spain thinks it’s an affront to have a British colony on its doorstep. Never mind that Spain keeps similarly tiny “enclaves” on the northern Africa coast of Morocco, Ceuta, and Melilla, as well as the Canary Islands. Right next door with lovely local produce, Spain won’t export reliably. Somehow, the paperwork is never in order, so vegetable trucks sit on the side of the road for up to a week, their cargo rotting.

Consequentially, Gibraltar orders all its fresh produce from Holland. Dutch paperwork is perfect, and those trucks are not delayed. Efforts to build a containership import business similarly foundered.

Spain would not permit the trucks full of offloaded containers to cross the border, which is just 100 yards beyond Gilbratar’s airport runway with just one road in and out.

In addition, problems that existed pre-Brexit and preCOVID have gotten worse. The local grocery, Morrison’s, is about 60 percent stocked. Entire aisles of refrigerated shelving are empty with labels of what should be there marked “out of stock.” The staff doesn’t have any idea when a soughtafter item will appear. You want European boat parts? Order them from America. A recently published cruising guide from Imray in England? Local chandleries have ordered it, but don’t know when the book will be in stock because the publisher isn’t sure how to mail it. The publisher’s representative tells us the mail will deliver the book for a reasonable fee and places the order. She calls back after discovering delivery time will be somewhere between a week and 30 days. We cancel our order.

fun on The rock

We thoroughly enjoy our visit, in spite of the difficulties we encounter. People are friendly, the Brits appear relaxed. We’re amazed by the number of children. We can’t go down a street without dodging one or more strollers. For the most part, we

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Resting the brakes on the bicycle. Gibraltar’s border with Spain is 100 yards beyond the airport runway. Returning from the supermarket.

bike around town.

The official tour highlights are on top of the rock. Our guide shows us Saint Michael’s Cave, in happier times a performance space with spectacular lighting; the “wild” Barbary macaque monkeys begging for food; and a few of the 34 miles of tunnels the British military dug over 200 years — on a peninsula of only 2.6 square miles.

Posidonia Prairies, baLearic isLands

Departing Gibraltar with an overnight stop in La Linea to check back into the EU, we plan a 230-nautical-mile trip to Cartagena, Spain, using Navily. This wonderful European app rates anchorages by protection from forecast wind and swells on a given date and time, as well as by user reviews.

As the intervening anchorages are poor for the forecasted weather, we motor-sail overnight and then pick up a free mooring in a beautiful marine reserve, Calle Cerrada on Cabo Tinoso, just west of Cartagena. It is so lovely we stay three nights.

We sail overnight to the Balearic Islands. Upon arrival, our primary concern is not to anchor on the Posidonia. Posidonia oceanica is a seagrass unique to the Mediterranean, highly prized by the local population and practically pervasive in the anchorages. There is one 100,000-year-old colony south of Ibiza measuring 5 miles across. The grass cleans the water, contributing to great clarity, and provides habitat for a wonderful range of fish.

Constantina of the “Posidonia police” visits our boat. She checks our anchor, and, thankfully, we pass — police can levy fines up to 1,000 euros for letting one’s anchor or chain touch the seagrass.

PuerTo de soLLer

After six glorious weeks touring Formentera, Ibiza, and now Mallorca, we motor-sail from Port Andratx to Soller. The weather intrudes on our plans. While most of the mistrals’ winds come down on the French side of the Pyrenees, some divert to the west. Mistrals are difficult to forecast with significant variation in timing, intensity, wind direction, and exact area impacted.

Generally, Soller is a great harbor to shelter. Only 100 nautical miles from the Spanish mainland,

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Posidonia Sea Grass. Monkeys playing on the cars. Approaching Cartegena.

Soller offers the shortest sail and is well protected from the forecasted northeast winds. Indeed, protection is great from all wind angles except the northeast and north where the harbor opens to the sea.

We enjoy a long afternoon snorkel in the 89-degree heat, followed by dinner ashore. While waiting for the check at a harbor-side café, we review the Windy weather forecast once more. The relative strength of the wind coming down the eastern side of the Pyrenees has increased, driving the wind lull, created by the converging winds, 40 nautical miles eastward. This shift changes the Soller wind direction to northwest by tomorrow morning. The waves are now forecast to aim directly into the harbor and build to 7 feet!

nighT saiL in a gaLe

There are enough stories of dragging anchors and colliding boats in Soller that we don’t want to stay. We rush back aboard and set sail to Port Andratx in the growing dusk. Tonight’s forecast is 15 gusting to 20 knots from behind, permitting an excellent, comfortable sail. Having seen Port Andratx, we are confident we can anchor just outside the breakwater with protection from tonight’s northeast wind, so our predicted arrival time of 1:30 a.m. is fine.

We clear the harbor and find that a full main is far too much. We take in two reefs and set the jib to balance the helm. Our desired course is dead downwind — not ideal for gusty winds and building 4-foot seas. Occasionally Moon Shadow wants to round up. We decide to jibe downwind a few miles out to sea where the cliffs will have less impact on the wind and waves.

Harnesses deployed and clipped to the boat, we are set for a fast, comfortable sail. Then we go faster. Moon Shadow is now sailing steadily at 10-plus knots with faster bursts. The wind gradually climbs to 32–35 knots, gusting to 38 apparent. Moon

Shadow surfs at 13-plus knots. A few waves board the back of the boat, wetting our feet. We lock the lower hatch board into place. Spray now soaks us all over. I put on a fleece to stay warm. After we surf down one wave at 13.9 knots, we decide to wait for a lull and take in a third reef even though we’re just a few miles from jibing into the lee of the island.

Leisure furl reefing is a synchrony of motion in which every step, done perfectly, yields a smooth-as-silk maneuver that looks easy and works perfectly. First, we lock the jammer for our jib sheet and clear it off the port winch. We then raise the main’s topping lift to the 87-degree reefing position by aligning a mark on the topping lift with tape in the cockpit.

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Wind lull moving eastward.
Leisure furl reefing is a synchrony of motion in which every step, done perfectly, yields a smooth-as-silk maneuver that looks easy and works perfectly.
Sail from Puerto de Soller.

If the furling angle is off, the main jams when the luff tape hits the mast or rips when it rolls too far aft. Next, we luff the main and then simultaneously ease the main halyard and tighten the furling line on their respective electric winches. We can stop the reef at any of our six full mainsail battens, which help maintain foot tension.

Sailing across the Atlantic with our offshore crew, three of us can perform this maneuver downwind by hand-steering, centering the main to reduce pressure, and raising the boom a few extra degrees to accommodate the remaining leach pressure, with one person at the mast monitoring the furling angle.

With two of us operating in 6-plus-foot seas at midnight under a cloudy, moonless sky, we turn on the motor and head up into a tight reach to reef while luffing the main. This yields intense salt spray all over the boat and too much noise for us to hear each other — but no accidental jibes and no worries about the furling angle.

Now we are traveling at a comfortable 8 to 9 knots. Our original plan was to sail once again between the islands of Sa Dragonara and Mallorca. However, we remember the 1-knot northerly current that boosted our speed. How would it react to a strong opposing wind? The dredging ship ahead of us goes outside. We find the answer by greatly enlarging the electronic Navionics chart which reveals this message: “Quite often strong cross sea, and chaotic waves. And with mistral over France, you better go back and stay on the west coast.” (The worst aspect of Navionics is that you can miss important information such as this unless you zoom in on the charts.) We go around the island, adding another hour. We sail for Badalona the next day after the mistral clears.

Back in the U.S., the Nautor Swan boatyard replaces our jib track, creates a new stainless gooseneck fitting, and myriad other small projects. They too are a great yard. We are so appreciative of the workmen we have found.

Despite the many challenges, we had a wonderful taste of Europe. We look forward to sailing this fall and in future years. Crossing the Atlantic was a great choice.


Jil Westcott, a retired computer scientist, began sailing as a child at summer camp, raced Sunfish in high school, and continued racing dinghies at MIT. Jil and her husband, co-skipper John Bell (BOS/NBT), have sailed many miles on a series of vessels, from Solings in Boston Harbor to their current Aerodyne 47, Moon Shadow Jil enjoyed skippering “ladies’ cruises” from Rhode Island to Maine, which often included children. In 2017, Jil and John acquired Moon Shadow and spent the next few months doing a complete refit for the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race, where Jil skippered the boat. In 2019 they sailed Moon Shadow Trans-Atlantic and now cruise seasonally in the Mediterranean. In addition to being a skilled celestial navigator, certified American Sailing Association instructor, and charter captain for delivery and instruction, Jil has a 50-ton merchant mariner license.

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THINGS WORK OUT But not always according to plan

“I had a simple two-part plan.

Part 1: I’d sail Strummer, my Pilot 35, transatlantic from Connecticut to the Azores (see Voyages no. 61, 2019).

Part 2: I’d sail her home.”

IN JUNE 2018, I left Stonington, and 23 days later I arrived at Horta. A bit later, we sailed to Madeira, where I had Strummer hauled and stored on the hard in anticipation of a 2019 launch for the homeward leg. She seemed to be well taken care of, with all arrangements made and good people responsible for her.

Then Part 2 started to unravel. That summer, I got an official-looking email — in Portuguese. With Google Translate help, I learned I was being informed that the boatyard had lost its lease, I was now responsible for Strummer, and would I please remove her from the property? After many anxious emails and a few phone calls, I was reassured that the situation wasn’t quite that dire: She’d “probably” be safe if I left her in the yard, and there would “probably” be a new yard management team in place for my scheduled January launch. The plan was OK.

I spent the New Year’s holiday in Madeira with my wife, Iris, and two non-sailing friends. I had promised I wouldn’t even look at the boat; we’d just enjoy a nice vacation. We had a great time. On January 3, Iris and our friends flew home, and I went to the yard to schedule the launch.

“We’re sorry,” I was told. “A cable on the travel lift snapped yesterday. We’ve ordered a new one.”

“When do you think it’ll be fixed?”

“Maybe a month … maybe.”

I caught a flight home and waited to hear.

In April, the lift was fixed, and I was back in Madeira with my friend Scott Kraft (NYS), getting Strummer ready for the sail to Gran Canaria, then on to the Caribbean and home. Madeira’s a lot of fun in April; it’s Carnival time. There’s also a lot of wind. It was blowing 20-plus for the entire week it took us to get Strummer set up.

It was a 48-hour downwind romp sailing Strummer the 350 miles from Funchal to Las Palmas. Pretty quick for a 25-foot waterline boat.

Las Palmas is a big, busy port. Lots of ships and even oil platforms get towed in there for maintenance. It’s also got a modern 1,200-slip marina, but unfortunately for us, it was full. The tiny anchorage was also chock-full of boats waiting for slips. But the customs and immigration officers were helpful and let us keep Strummer at their dock for 48 hours, so we got to enjoy some more Carnival in Gran Canaria. Two days later, Scott headed home, and I headed south, planning to catch the trade winds and turn west towards the Caribbean islands.

The wind had not let up; it was still blowing 20-plus from the north, and the seas were 10–12 feet. But Strummer handled it well, and progress was quick. After 2½ days, I was about 400

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Strummer returns to Stonington.

“We’re sorry,” I was told. “A cable on the travel lift snapped yesterday. We’ve ordered a new one.”

“When do you think it’ll be fixed?”

“Maybe a month … maybe.”

I caught a flight home and waited to hear.

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Clockwise from upper left: Damaged mast; wrecked interior; Mike, the surveyor; Strummer in water immediately after arrival at Pasito Blanco.

miles south of the island as night fell. This is when Part 2 fell apart.

I had been sailing downwind on starboard tack with a double-reefed main and the working jib, making over 6.5 knots for 2½ days, and I’d been pushed a little to the east. I guess I was a bit tired, and I was about to make a bad call. I waited for a bit of a lull, and I managed a controlled jibe, but before I could set up the preventer on the new tack, a wave knocked the boat around, and the boom violently slammed back and forth. I managed to get things sorted out, and all seemed OK at first, but a closer inspection revealed that the stainless plate holding the gooseneck to the mast had completely sheared off the carbon spar. Not good.

I saw three options: continue to the Caribbean, sail to the Cape Verde islands, or beat back to Gran Canaria. I was too tired to decide. I heaved to and went to sleep.

Nothing had changed by morning: still blowing hard from the north, still big seas, still damaged rig. I contacted my son Todd on the Garmin inReach satellite communication device, and we discussed the options.

Carrying on under jury-rig seemed unwise — a long, slow trip looking for more problems. Sailing to Cape Verde was tempting — it was downwind for about 700 miles — but I wasn’t sure about the services available, and I wasn’t comfortable leaving the boat there. So, it was option three — beat back to Gran Canaria against 20-knot winds and the big seaway.

I got the main stowed, the boom secured, and the trysail up, and I headed north. It was slow going. Strummer got knocked around a lot. It often sounded and felt like we’d hit something solid, but it was just the water slamming into us. It was tiring,

but it was progress. Strummer is a wet boat with a low freeboard, and I didn’t notice the small amounts of water coming aboard until the electric bilge pump failed. Hand-pumping a few times a day handled that. Until it didn’t.

After beating north for 4½ days, we were within 40 miles of Gran Canaria’s south coast. It was late at night. It was dark. It was rough. I was tired. And now water was coming in faster than I could pump it out. A quick check of the usual suspects — the head, the through hulls, the exhaust, the stuffing box — didn’t reveal the problem. Pretty quickly, the water in the cabin was above my knees, and with the violent boat motion, it was chaos. The wooden drawers and berths were shaking loose and floating along with cushions, books, food, and everything else.

I grabbed the life raft and the abandon-ship bag and went to the cockpit. Maybe I was just too tired to be scared, but I was counting on being OK. I wasn’t injured. I had a raft and a life preserver. The water was warm. And I was in an area with lots of shipping. I felt bad about losing this boat, but we’d had a good run together.

I put out the mayday call, fired some flares, and set off the EPIRB. Within half an hour, I saw a white light. I fired more flares. Yes, it was a ship heading my way. We made radio contact, and he stood off a quarter-mile away. Then a helicopter from Salvamento Maritimo came. I couldn’t contact the copter, but the ship could. I was instructed to launch the life raft and get away from Strummer. It was more difficult than you’d think — the rubber raft was like a trampoline bouncing around in the seas, but the copter downdraft helped to calm

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“After beating north for 4½ days, we were within 40 miles of Gran Canaria’s south coast. It was late at night. It was dark. It was rough. I was tired. And now water was coming in faster than I could pump it out.”

things a bit. A rescue swimmer was lowered near the raft. He told me to get in the water, where he hooked me up to his harness and we were hoisted up. I was saved, but Strummer was abandoned and sinking. Rescue video: salvamentogob/status/1107650272824881152?s=12

The coast guard guys were great. They kept an eye on me at the airport for an hour or so. I got some coffee and toast, took a warm shower, and put on a dry sweatsuit. I called home to tell my family I was OK and hoped they hadn’t been disturbed by the call from SARSAT. I took a taxi into town and found a hotel.

Then the coast guard called to tell me that Strummer was at a slip at Pasito Blanco, an upscale resort/marina on the south coast. A salvage boat had managed to get pumps aboard. I headed over there, and she looked kind of fine — she was scraped and scratched, her stanchions were bent from the salvage operation, and her interior was wrecked, but she was floating on her lines. A few hours later, she wasn’t on her lines anymore: she was still sinking.

I found Chris, the one guy at the yard who spoke English, and explained that the boat needed to be hauled. They were busy with their regular customers and not interested in a sinking boat that had just showed up and might be abandoned, but they relented and put Strummer on the hard. She was safe for the time being.

I spent a few days reviewing things with Mike, the insurance adjuster. It turned out the manual bilge pump diaphragm had ruptured. I hadn’t seen it because it was in the bilge underwater.

At that point, I was delighted. This boat I’d owned for almost 30 years was going to be OK. We’d done nine trips to Bermuda, 15 or 20 to Maine, and now the transatlantic. We’d be sticking together. I’d get her all fixed up and sail her home next year. Mike and Chris liked the boat and wanted to be my crew.

Then the bills started coming in: hauling and storage, rig removal, engine removal, clean-ups.

Next came the estimates: new engine and electrical system, rig repair, salvage damage repair, interior carpentry, and lots more. I started to think it would’ve been better had she gone to the bottom.

Gran Canaria is a long way from Stonington, Connecticut. I realized this was too big a project for me and too far away.

It hurt, but I put Strummer up for sale.

Mike wound up buying her, fixing her up, and sailing her to the Caribbean with plans to cruise New England. Plans, again. Have you heard about COVID-19? That wrecked Mike’s sailing plans about as thoroughly as the bilge pump had wrecked mine. Strummer went to Grenada for hurricane season, and Mike put her up for sale.

In January 2022, I bought Strummer back, and in June and July, we sailed home to Stonington. Things work out.

About the Author

Louis Meyer started sailing shortly after moving to Connecticut in 1975, after finishing training as a general surgeon. The purchase of Strummer, a 1967 Hinckley Pilot 35, in 1994 allowed for the expansion of sailing horizons, and ultimately the realization of his dream to sail across an ocean.

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Left to right: Pasito Blanco Marina; Chris, the boatyard guy; Typical Canaries beach scene; Boardwalk for the evening paseo.

EXACTLY THIRTY-FIVE YEARS ago this September my boyfriend, David Masters, and I chartered a boat for a week in the San Juan Islands in Washington state. We’d already decided we were great together and that we’d like to invest in a steel boat for extended cruising in high latitudes. During that summer we looked at some unattractive steel designs, often sloops with hard chines and home-built interiors.

Just for fun, while I stowed the provisions, David walked to a boat broker’s office and asked if there were any steel boats in his listings. That day we fell in love with Endeavor.

Endeavor is a 1950s-era yawl with spruce spars and a classic sheer line. The owner greeted us looking like a circus clown in white-face makeup; he’d been sanding the hull in preparation to paint. He invited us to look around, so we came on board and went down below. Although everything was covered in a fine layer of dust, we saw her potential. “If only we could afford a boat like this,” I lamented, fearing our budget wouldn’t stretch to buy this beautiful centerboard yawl. “Well, what can you afford?” the seller asked. The survey should have discouraged us had we not already got stars in our eyes. “Needs a lot of steel work,” the surveyor said, but once Endeavor was back in the water, our new-to-us boat sailed fast with her big genoa and full main.

We sailed to Seattle and began what turned into a thirteen-year restoration as David honed his welding skills. After a year of bad news, we found space in a warehouse for Endeavor with her deck, interior and rig already removed. And so, the

(Or Dinghy-ing Back to the Prettiest Boat in the Anchorage)
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Pacific Northwest Station
High-latitude cruising in Chile, with secluded anchorages and a high level of competency among fellow sailors.

long process began.

Our friends thought we were crazy to take on such a huge project, but we were in our early 30s, fully employed, with a loan that needed to be paid. To scratch our sailing itch, we went on OPB (other people’s boats).

With the weaknesses in the hull resolved and the interior re-installed, the boat was virtually new with modern conveniences, high-tech lines and blocks, LED lights, a large electrical distribution panel, hydraulic steering, and a beefy windlass.

Our 2005 shakedown cruise took us north into British

Columbia, up the Inside Passage to the Alaskan border, with a return via the Queen Charlotte Islands and outside Vancouver Island. Over those 1,000 miles, we learned to trust our anchor, smooth out procedures for tacking and gybing with runningback stays, and got to know one another as we discussed our future plans. Mexico, Galapagos, Patagonia, the Atlantic, and Northern Europe were now within the realm of possibility.

We hatched a two-year plan to sail to Patagonia and into the Atlantic, beginning with six months in California for family visits, scuba lessons, and improvements to the chain locker in

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Above: Endeavor in the North Sea in 2017. A traditional yawl, she has had many upgrades for comfortable cruising.

Left: The two-year plan extended to seven years. Our summer cruise finished in London, October 2017.

order to accommodate the new dive compressor in the forepeak. The following year, we added solar panels and a wind generator in Mexico and made a leisurely visit to the three biggest Galapagos Islands. We spent six months in Ecuador while we built a hard dodger and then two years in southern Chile where the scenery and local hospitality was too good to rush off. Same for the Falklands, but we also had to wait for a new propeller due to some exploratory mistakes on our trip to West Falkland (oops!). The South Atlantic islands, Barbados, and Puerto Rico each had their own charms, nevertheless we managed the

10,000 nautical miles from Port Stanley to midcoast Maine in only four months.

Along the way we occasionally stopped to work for money so we could leave our retirement funds untouched. David’s skills in most aspects of boat maintenance earned us many bottles of rum, whiskey, and wine, and I helped out with sail and canvas repairs and cleaning boats. Naturally many of our friends were other cruisers, like-minded in their self-sufficiency and adventurousness and generous with their skills.

By 2016 we were ready for a trip across the pond. We hoped to head straight to St. John’s, Newfoundland, but our autopilot became disabled, and we were forced to duck into the Cape Cod Canal and then to Boston, Massachusetts, for a replacement. This is one of the only times we took on crew. They stuck it out through our visit to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton before jumping ship in St. John’s.

David and I continued alone to Iceland. As we celebrated our wedding anniversary, an unexpected present arrived in the form of surfing pilot whales that stayed with us for several hours. We had three lovely weeks mostly motor-sailing from one place to the next on the north side of Iceland and then on to the Faroes. We arrived in

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Shetland’s capitol, Lerwick, in September. It was late to be that far north, but our luck held as we waited for a calm night to motor to Inverness. After a two-week trip through the Caledonian Canal, a rowdy visit to the Crinan Canal, and a day sail from the Isle of Arran to Ardrossan, we were at our winter home at the Clyde Marina.

The following May, we began a 2,500-nautical-mile trip encompassing the Hebrides, the Orkneys, Fair Isle, a return to Lerwick, several places in Norway and Denmark, and the Standing Mast Route through the Netherlands. While in Amsterdam, we visited the yard where Endeavor was built, where we learned about her specs from a seventh-generation boatbuilder and visited a sister ship. To top it all off, we went to St Katherine Docks in the heart of London for six months.

It wasn’t until we started doing slideshows that we realized our experiences were quite extraordinary to friends and family back home. Living our dream seemed to inspire sailors on both sides of the Atlantic who seemed eager to hear more stories. During this time, Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) honored us with the coveted Seven Seas Award for excellence in

Left: Hull plate and frames rusted; all new material brought the steel back to full thickness. Two dreamers in year six of our project, 1995. Standing outside, looking inside - engine compartment.

Below: Maine and the Canadian Maritimes enticed us into late season sailing every summer.

seamanship. We were humbled. Many of the people we knew in and adjacent to the oceans of the world were collecting litter and doing their share to make our world better. How could we not “leave a clean wake”? It has never been more important than now!

Four years ago, David, the co-star of my story, passed away and sailed over the rainbow. Last spring, while preparing to sail Endeavor from England to the U.S., I realized this was not the year for that endeavor. The long hibernation of COVID had given me time to think. I will have to let go of the prettiest boat in the anchorage. 2


Candy Masters ran away to sea in 1980 and has been doing boaty things ever since. She lives aboard in England and looks forward to sailing OPB again after Endeavor finds a new home.

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Dreams Making Come True

It began innocently enough. All we wanted was a third stateroom and a walk-in engine room. Having just sold our Formosa 46, on which Rodney and I had cruised North America and the Caribbean half-time for the last 20 years, we were ready to move up from our Ocean Alexander to a larger powerboat. After a family expedition to view some DeFevers and Oceans, our younger son, Harker, showed us an ad for a Nordhavn 57. “This is my dream boat,” he said.

The ensuing search revealed there are only 37 in the world and only a handful in the U.S. Eventually we located a COVID orphan in England that had been left on the hard by its now disinterested Norwegian owner, who had moved on to politics and grandchildren. The boat was VAT unpaid, which put it out of range for any British or E.U. member. To further

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Arrival in La Coruña. From left: Harker, Andrew, Julie, and Roddy. Keewaydin in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.

As the expression goes, ‘getting there is half the fun.’

After we did mechanical upgrades and necessary maintenance, we exported the boat for tax reasons to Guernsey, where we were not allowed on the gas dock and they took our credit card with tongs.

the Balearics.
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complicate matters, it was not possible in May 2021 to fly into Great Britain without a two-week quarantine and an expensive testing package. Still, we were able to enter using our merchant mariner credentials to validate us as “essential workers.” Our son Rod (PNW), who has his 100T license, went first to give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

As the expression goes, “getting there is half the fun.” After we did mechanical upgrades and necessary maintenance, we exported the boat for tax reasons to Guernsey, where we were not allowed on the gas dock and they took our credit card with tongs. Later in St. Malo, we were warmly greeted at the understaffed port by local police. Ahead of our arrival in St. Malo, our French godson’s father, a merchant mariner, had called port captains around the country until he found one who agreed to let in an American boat.

A Nordhavn seemed like the logical next boat for the Seattle Yacht Club’s “Cruising Family of the Year.” We purchased hull number N5729, renamed it Keewaydin after Dr. Rodney B. Hearne’s first powerboat, a post-WWII Monk design, and are restoring it to Nordhavn (and Hearne family) standards. We’re now cruising in Europe with Rod and our other son, Harker, his wife, Julie, and their three boys. Eventually Keewaydin will return to the Pacific Northwest and our familiar waters of British Columbia and Alaska, where we’ll hang out in all our favorite anchorages in our old age!

With Rod, Harker, Julie, and 14-year-old grandson Andrew, we sailed across the Bay of Biscay to La Coruña, Spain, to begin the European chapter of family cruising. Fourthgeneration cruiser Andrew begged to stay up and stand watch with his Uncle Roddy on the three-night, four-day, 480-mile passage. Andrew had been taught SCAN (scan the horizon and sea, consult the chart, analyze, navigate) and spotted a contact before Roddy saw it on the radar!

On the Iberian Peninsula, we enjoyed overland sightseeing to Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela before resuming our voyage down the Portuguese coast with stops at Porto and Lisbon. In Cascais, Rod and I were joined by our Dutch godson, Erik Roscam Abbing, and his daughter Roos. Rounding the corner of the Iberian Peninsula was like flipping a switch. Once past Cabo de Saô Vincente, the seas laid down and the depth

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The 150-plus-mile crossing had lots of action due to passing cargo ships, fishing boats, and cruise ships. Never a dull moment on watch, bouncing around out there dodging all the traffic!
Renaming Keewaydin Jill getting off the stern to exercise at the Manoel Island boatyard. Andrew navigating with the SCAN mnemonic.
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sounder’s water temperature went up. We were approaching the Mediterranean Sea!

With the refreshed crew in the Algarve, Harker, Julie, and friends entered the Mediterranean. There had been documented reports of whales attacking and damaging sailboat rudders, so the Strait of Gibraltar was closed to vessels under 15 meters. At 18 meters, Keewaydin was not affected, so the crew made a brief stop in Gibraltar for fuel and to see the monkeys. Then it was off to Cartagena and Palma de Mallorca before the Harker crew gave the boat a rest in Barcelona and returned home for a few weeks.

Harker and Roddy returned to Barcelona in late September 2021 with a new crew member, Barry Barr, another longtime waterman who had captained his first commercial fishing boat at 16 in Alaska. Barry, the founder of the outdoor wear company KAVU, was thrilled to join the crew for passage-making. His KAVU motto, “Klear Above, Visibility Unlimited,” was a good metaphor for our ambitious trip from Southhampton to the shipyard in Malta, where Keewaydin, the former Goleen, had been well-tended to through most winter seasons. Barry’s formula for living and working is simple: Build fun into everything you do! As a seasoned navigator, he was the perfect addition to the final leg of the 2021 voyage.

Roddy, Harker, and Barry got busy provisioning and getting things ready for the 850-plus-mile crossing. The plan was to slide across the Mediterranean Sea to Sardinia, check out some of the small ports along the way, and spend a few days exploring, kiteboarding, diving.

Harker and Barry are well-seasoned boaters, with Roddy having the most extensive blue-water experience since he has sailed both ways across the pond. They cast the lines from

Barcelona just as the sun set and the seas were calm. Three days later, as the sun was coming up, they saw the mountains of Sardinia and Corsica rising from the sea. Since all were awake, they decided to do a sneaky passage through the Rada de Fornelli. As Barry tells it, “The rocks were jagged and ominous, and we throttled the boat back and picked our way through the shallows with the depths rising up to 4 feet under the hull. Next fun was picking a place to drop the hook and explore. There were so many choices. We settled on going around the tip of Sardinia, Capo Testa, that leads to the Maddalena Islands and the coast of Smeralda, and we picked Portu Pollo for our first anchorage.”

Little did they know that Portu Pollo is one of the meccas for kiting in Europe! They encountered an armada of windsurfers, kiteboarders, and wing-foilers as they dodged into the back bay to get out of the wind. After a swim, they dropped the tender and rushed Harker to his kiting lessons. They found it rewarding after the passage to walk the beach, watch the chaos of wind enthusiasts, and eat at the beach restaurants.

A large low-pressure system was coming down from Marseille, so the crew made a unanimous decision to depart at sunset to avoid the likelihood of the next crossing being uncomfortable and rough. They departed around 6 p.m. in a calm breeze with a great sunset and set course parallel down the coast of Sardinia, staying 10 to 15 miles offshore. They experienced a huge electrical storm off the port side over Italy that lasted all night, then turned southeast and set the course to the west tip of Sicily to Marsala. Crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea got a little lumpy, but the crew fell into their shifts and engine checks and had no mishaps.

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Family photo: Crew after successful crossing Bay of Biscay. From left: Roddy, Rod, Julie, Andrew, and Harker. Bay of Kotor, where the Nazis dug out caves to hide their submarines.

Reaching the coast of Sicily, they intended to check out some of the towns and harbors, but the weather had a different message! Barry wrote, “With the big weather system tracking us down and Roddy having a departure date from Malta, we decided to charge on and just point south-southwest to Malta. The 150-plus-mile crossing had lots of action due to passing cargo ships, fishing boats and cruise ships. Never a dull moment on watch, bouncing around out there dodging all the traffic!”

The Keewaydin crew reached Malta around 1 a.m. with building seas on the stern and winds reaching 30 knots. Everyone studied the map carefully as the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked there in 60 A.D., and none of the crew felt they had equivalent pull with the guy upstairs. Not wanting to enter the harbor at night, they chose St. Paul’s Island and tucked in behind a cliff and out of the wind to enjoy the calm anchorage. Waking up the next morning, they prepared for the last 20-mile run to Valletta. Keewaydin was in Malta!

Rounding the impenetrable breakwater was like entering another world and another era with fortresses on both sides of the entrance. Barry wrote, “The beauty literally blew us all away. Grand Harbour Marina gave us our slip assignment, and Harker squeaked Keewaydin into her berth perfectly as disbelieving bystanders on the docks had phones poised for the YouTube channel disaster shot. Not happening on a Hearnecaptained boat!”

Moving a boat 2,200 miles one continent away in the midst of a pandemic in just half a year takes planning, skill, and

forbearance. As problems and issues arose, our family adventure was well-supported with answers and solutions from Nordhavn just an email away. All together, we had to deal with COVID protocols in 10 different countries.

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Rod, the varnish guy! Entering Malta.

While in Malta, we proceeded with repairs, which included a new shaft, pillow block, engine mounts, fuel pump on the Kohler generator and sound insulation on the Northern Lights 20-kW generator. The impressive sights of Malta were a worthwhile reward for the days spent at Manoel Island Yacht Yard.

We wintered over in Malta, and when the “fix-it” list was shorter, it was time for “Cruising the Med, Chapter Two.”

With all systems up to snuff, Rodney, Harker, and I departed Valletta with cousin Anne and her 4-year-old son, who live in Paris. We headed straight to Syracusa, but as we

Next, I heard a ‘Mayday!

Mayday!’ from a vessel reporting that their captain had abandoned them, and no one knew how to run the boat. The disembodied voice reported 95 people aboard, including a pregnant woman and a 5-year-old child.

approached Sicily, visibility reduced, and we could not see Mount Etna clearly. Rodney checked the weather and realized we had only a short window to get across the boot of Italy.

It was my night passage, and it was straight out of the movies. I blinked twice, and yes, that was an airplane! A quick chart check indicated safety for us, but no plausible accounting for the plane. Maybe a seaplane?

Next, I heard a “Mayday! Mayday!” from a vessel reporting that their captain had abandoned them, and no

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Shaft alignment.
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Keewaydin in Pula. The amphitheatre was constructed from 27 BC to AD 68.

one knew how to run the boat. The disembodied voice reported 95 people aboard, including a pregnant woman and a 5-year-old child. We were too far away to provide assistance. The ensuing rescue took nearly 10 hours as Greece, Turkey, and Italy negotiated who would pick them up as they were adrift in the Ionian Sea and had departed from Turkey. What a despicable thing to do to desperate people.

The last excitement of my watch was a radio call requesting we stay out of an area, described by coordinates, because

NATO, the U.S., France, and Italy were conducting “exercises.” It was now the third month of the Ukraine invasion. It was good to know that there was communication and coordination among countries and that our armed forces were standing by.

Saint Maria di Leuca is a perfect stop on the heel of Italy as it has a full-service marina, easy access to shops and restaurants, and shoreside parks perfect for a 4-year-old to wade in. From there, it was up to Brindisi, where visiting boats are eye candy for diners at the many restaurants on the side-tie quays. The next day it was straight across to Montenegro.

Near Tivat, we found a small family-owned marina. We cruised the Bay of Kotor and left the boat to go back to Seattle.

When we returned in May, we immediately took off for Venice, committing the cardinal sin of meeting a plane there. Harker, with a short vacation window, was flying in with Julie and Andrew. With godson Erik’s help, we shot up to Venice, where we had a reservation at Marina Santa Elena.

It was the Biennale, and our marina choice was perfect. We were within walking distance to the main festival park and a Vaporetto stop was close. We recommend a layover in Venice. It is magical to be there on the water. While it is forbidden to take one’s dinghy into the canals past a certain point, we did not read that rule until later. Fortunately, we were not apprehended as it is a 500-euro fine!

We crossed the Adriatic Sea to Pula, Croatia, and docked in front of its amphitheater dating to 27 BC. It was an easy night passage, and in the morning, it was time for Rod and me to get off for shore leave, while Julie, Harker, Andrew,

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Jigging for squid in Croatia. Toni’s Supermarket: The grocery comes to the boat in the anchorage near Sali, Croatia. Roddy and Jill in Çavtat.

and their friends cruised the islands and anchorages of the Dalmatian coast for three weeks.

We rented a little apartment in Castel Novi, a walled city. It was charming to meet local residents and experience food off the tourist trail. Our host shared his special homemade cordial, played the mandolin, and sang traditional songs at a small restaurant nearby.

Rod and I took the bus from Split down to Dubrovnik, where we were reunited with our family and the boat. The stabilizers needed love, so we found an accomplished mechanic who undertook a serious repair that involved sending out parts to Germany and waiting for their return. What better time to sample the myriad islands and the Neretvanski Canal?

With newly repaired stabilizers, we retraced our wake across to the boot of Italy, then Syracusa in Sicily, and back to Malta. All told, we have logged 4,600 miles since leaving Hamble, England.

We’ve turned from sail to power, but our love of cruising and time at sea hasn’t diminished. In addition to learning our “new to us” boat, we celebrated Rodney’s 80th birthday surrounded by the medieval fortresses on both sides of the harbor in Malta. So how old is too old to switch cruising styles? With our family’s sense of adventure and Rod’s Old Man of the Sea perspective, the answer is never! Going forward, we hope to continue making adventurous use of the sea.


Jill developed her love of cruising in the early 60s in the Pacific Northwest after marrying into a sailing family. She and her husband, Rodney lived half time on their Formosa 46, Lookfar, where they sailed North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Jill writes a monthly column, “SYC at Sea,” in the SYC magazine, Binnacle, and is a frequent contributor to Voyages. The Hearnes raised their children in the cruising life and are presently outfitting their Nordhavn to cross the Atlantic. Jill and son Roddy (PNW) both hold 100T licenses.

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Ides of March

Many sailors are said to be superstitious, but superstition has never stopped me from setting sail on a Friday, hanging a large stalk of Jamaican bananas from the mizzen mast, or taking 13 Benedictine monks out for a day sail. So heading out for a short sail off Long Island on the Ides of March didn’t seem like anything to be concerned about either.

After a dozen years of sailing in the tropics, this was my first winter in the frozen north in a long time. Except for a few hours in an antique iceboat on the frozen eastern Great South Bay, I hadn’t been sailing in months. I decided that a short sail in our Dyer sailing dinghy was just what I needed on the sunny, sparkling clear day that arrived on the heels of a mid-March frontal passage.

I was clad in many layers of warm clothes topped with full foul-weather gear, sea boots, and a wool ski hat. Skim ice broke away in sheets as I carefully positioned myself on a couple of boat cushions and launched the dinghy into the 500-yardlong canal. The mainsail filled, and ice crunched away from the fiberglass bow like a mini-icebreaker. Ice fringed the wooden bulkheads and pilings along the waterway, but the skim ice ended as I approached the mouth of the canal where it opened into the Great South Bay. As I was in the lee, I thought I’d just head out a bit and see how it looked in the bay.

It was rough. The wind was quite strong out of the protection of the houses and tall trees that line the canal. I decided to tack and head back in.

Those of you who have sailed these small dinghies know they are tender. The main sail does not reef, and the daggerboard is tiny and does not get much bite while trying to go to weather. The rudder, too, is small and not very responsive. As I attempted to make this little vessel head back to the canal, I could not get her to tack, and I was pushed even farther downwind and offshore. As I once again tried to sheet in and hike to keep the boat flat, a strong gust combined with a larger wave pressed the leeward rail underwater. Instinctively, I crawled up the windward side, feeling my weight pushing the boat under

until I sensed the starboard side solidly hit the bay bottom. The water temperature was in the 30s, and the depth was about 6 or 7 feet. After the boat went under, it slowly turned turtle, and I watched the buoyant boat cushions blow away with the wind and the waves.

The mostly submerged hull barely supported my weight as I crawled up on it. Numbingly cold waves washed over me as I weighed my options. It had been ingrained in me to stay with the boat to await rescue, but I didn’t see another boat on the bay. I had no way of signaling for help. No one knew to look for me. The nearest beach was about a half-mile away, to leeward with the waves. I made the decision to abandon the boat and set out for the beach.

As I slid off the slippery hull, the inverted dinghy washed away to leeward. Now I was committed to saving myself. Swimming was difficult with the heavy gear I was wearing, but some sort of air pocket around my shoulders provided a little positive buoyancy and, I’m sure, helped preserve my core temperature by staying dry. The waves were about 2½ feet and in the troughs I found that I could propel myself toward shore by bouncing when my feet touched bottom and then surfing with the waves. I thought about kicking off my heavy sea boots, but they seemed to help as I spring-pushed off the sandy bottom. Besides, these wool-lined, felt-padded beauties retained body heat even when wet.

Then my legs started going numb. I knew I had to keep bouncing along if I was going to make it. As I got into shallower, chest-deep water, I lost the buoyancy afforded by the air trapped in the shoulders of my jacket, so legs that I could

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barely feel had to support more weight. When I saw a man walking his dog along the beach, I called out and lifted a heavy, soggy arm to wave. He looked … and did a double take. He surely did not expect to see someone struggling to get out of the icy water. He waved back. Great. I thought at least if I drop, I have a chance of being hauled out.

After sailing thousands of miles, weathering hurricanes, and numerous full gales at sea, I wasn’t about to join Davy Jones in 6 feet of water a half-mile from home. I emerged from the water, my cold-numbed legs wobbly under the weight of my waterlogged clothes. I concentrated on placing one foot ahead of the other as I walked up the frigid beach to the dog walker, who was wearing an incredulous look. After quickly explaining how I got there, he hurried me into his truck with the heater blasting, as gallons of seawater streamed out of my gear onto the seat and the floor.

Shortly, I was home, where I stripped off my sodden gear and went straight into a warm shower, happy to be alive. Then I was on the phone to my commercial fisherman Dad, and we went out in one of his boats to look for the Dyer. We learned later that the police marine patrol had picked it up when it drifted four miles east to their facility. Had I stayed semi-submerged on the bottom of the inverted boat, I would likely have succumbed to hypothermia long before it fetched up ashore hours later. We eventually retrieved the dinghy with my dad’s pickup truck.

So, what were my mistakes?

Had I told anyone that I was going sailing? No. If I had, they would have said, “It’s freezing and blowing half a gale. You’re nuts!”

Did I have a life jacket? Well, I had a couple of those square cushions — they float … hey, I’ve sailed through freakin’ hurricanes offshore … I’m right in my backyard … what could go wrong?

How about a water-proof VHF? The cold water would have taken its toll before anyone could respond. Did I check the weather? See number 1.

What about the boat? Frostbite sailing is done in larger self-bailing boats, not dinghies.

That was the last time I sailed that boat and the last time I chose not to beware the Ides of March. 2


Growing up in a commercial fishing family and spending summers on a small island, Ron could not help but be a sailor. Years of operating and delivering, cruising and racing sailing yachts have provided plenty of experiences to share. Capt. Ron holds a 100-ton USCG license and sails and charters his Sabre 402 Endurance out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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The Boy Who Fell to Shore: The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Thor Tangvald

PeterTangvald lived a minimalist life. Voyaging in an engineless boat, he found freedom from the norms and limitations of shoreside society and inspired many to seek their own adventures. The myth of Peter Tangvald was seductive, but there was a dark side. He married seven times. Two of his wives died violently at sea. He crossed oceans with his small children on simple craft with no electronics, no radio, and no weather forecasts. He was an excellent sailor, sometimes courageous and often reckless. Into this world, on a boat, Thomas Tangvald was born. Charles Doane tells the riveting and ultimately tragic story of his extraordinary life in The Boy Who Fell to Shore.

Like his father, Thomas was most at home at sea. Unlike his father, he did not know any other life until he was 15 and was surprised to learn that most people did not live on boats. He wrote to a friend, “I don’t think I’ve ever felt as alive as when I am sailing. It made me realize just how pampered most people are — and how little freedom most people have. Most people live hardly at all ….” His sentiments resonate with those who have experienced the ocean, but most of us are grounded somewhere on terra firma. Thomas was not. Tellingly, toward the end of his life, he wrote, “I am really hoping I can finally integrate myself into a place where I can say ‘I am from here.’” He never got there.

Thomas was a superb sailor and he reveled in it. He sailed, raced, maintained, and lived on multiple boats. He dreamt of becoming a famous boat designer and had a remarkable gift for it. But his life with his father was also horrific. As a toddler, he saw his mother shot to death by pirates. His stepmother was killed in an accidental jibe and he helped search for her body, which was never found. When he was little, his father would lock him in a cage in the forepeak while underway. And then, at age 15, he watched helplessly as his father’s boat was wrecked in pounding surf on Bonaire’s rocky Caribbean shore. Thomas tried unsuccessfully to reach his father and little sister, listening to her screams from her cage in the forepeak. Both perished as the boat broke up.

He was taken in by old cruising friends who lived in Andorra and got his first taste of formal education. He went to university in England and discovered the internet. Starting from scratch, he assessed human society, zeroing in on climate change

as a huge problem before it appeared on most radars. He fell in love with a woman 20-plus years his senior and she with him.

His life might have followed a happier path had he stayed in England, but he was obsessed with returning to Puerto Rico where he had lived with his father. After more than two years with his partner, he left her to sail across the Atlantic to Culebra. There, his life slowly began to unravel. Handsome and charismatic, he engaged in casual sexual encounters as well as more committed relationships. He worked on and cared for multiple boats in the Culebra anchorage where he lived. But he also took up crack, which through sheer will he gave up after several months. It left him with a testy relationship with local police, a growing distrust of authority, and an alcohol addiction he was never able to overcome.

He met Christina, a Puerto Rican woman who shared his taste for adventure and with whom he had two children. But the demons were always at his side. He was brilliant but selfish, repeatedly choosing the sea over people who loved him. He lived hand to mouth in a world into which he didn’t fit. Christina left him because he couldn’t stop drinking. In the end, he was lost at sea, alone and without any means to signal distress, on his way to Brazil, where he yearned to make a forever home despite never having lived there. Some believe he must still be alive.

Thomas Tangvald lived life on his own terms, by choice or by necessity, rejecting many of its gifts and embracing others. Ultimately, he perished as he was born, at sea.

Whether you end up liking Thomas or not, Charles Doane’s compassionate and incisive account of his life will challenge your concept of self-determination and the meaning of freedom. An accomplished blue-water sailor with multiple transatlantic crossings under his belt, Doane spent several years researching this story and makes it come alive as only an experienced sailor with firsthand knowledge of Thomas’s landfalls and anchorages can. He is the author of two previous books, The Modern Cruising Sailboat and The Sea Is Not Full, cruising editor of Sail Magazine, and blogger at the excellent WaveTrain.

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by Zdenka Seiner Griswold, Boston Station, Gulf of Maine Post


Sailing a North Sea Pilot Schooner

Review by Larry Hall, Boston Station, Buzzards Bay Post

Oneof the most celebrated schooner captains of the modern era, James Geil also is a natural storyteller. In Sailing a North Sea Pilot Schooner, he delivers page after thrilling page of ocean adventures, most of them with his Tabor Academy student crew. Recollections of idyllic passages are juxtaposed with those of challenging storms, but ultimately Geil’s memoir is about the value of shared learning and the development of leadership and mutual respect.

Geil was a faculty member in the nautical science department at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, for 35 years, captain of the Tabor Boy for 33 years, and creator of the school’s Orientation at Sea program. Sailing a North Sea Pilot Schooner combines stories from his time at sea with more than 100 photographs, technical drawings, and an introduction to celestial navigation.

Geil’s interest in boats was piqued at a young age. He first started steering his grandfather’s handmade wooden crab boat around 1960. Among his recollections is his family’s calamitous voyage delivering an old leaky yawl named Dorothy from the Florida Panhandle to Florida’s east coast in fall 1973. Geil writes of his early commercial fishing ventures in small secondhand craft and his encounters with higher education.

He found his calling mentoring high school sailors at Tabor

Academy. He takes his readers aboard Tabor Boy as it sails to Maine, Bermuda, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Panama Canal, and various ports in between. In Maine, Tabor Boy med-moors to a tree under a waterfall in Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island. In Bermuda, the Tabor Boy crew encounters colorful characters. In 2019, Tabor Boy sails to victory over the Spirit of Bermuda in the 2019 Marion to Bermuda Race. Most of Tabor Boy’s visits to Bermuda were stopovers on the way to the Virgin Islands, sometimes for crew changes and replenishment.

Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook in Saint Thomas were the bases of operation for activities that included sail training and exploration within Sir Francis Drake Channel and swimming and snorkeling to observe coral reef ecosystems. The program evolved into an educational scientific endeavor called the REEF Program (Research and Environmental Education Focus), sanctioned by the U.S. Park Service and the U.S. Geologic Survey. The student sailors documented the plight of the elkhorn coral within the Virgin Islands National Park waters off Saint John.

One of Geil’s favorite cruises was the 1993 transit of the Panama Canal, the first time the old steel ship floated in fresh water and ventured into the Pacific Ocean. On board Tabor Boy for the passage were the descendants of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Col. David Gaillard, who led the excavation of the Culebra Cut.

Geil recounts the history of the Dutch North Sea schooner class that includes Tabor Boy, originally deployed as Pilot Schooner No. 2 off the approaches to Amsterdam. He explains how reverting to the pilot schooner’s original sail configuration made Tabor Boy inherently more seaworthy than her much modified sister, which was lost in a storm in 1961. Tabor Boy is seen in early line drawings and photos from 1937 when she served as a training ship in Rotterdam.

You’ll want to put this book on the bookshelf of your cruising boat for crew reading on your next offshore passage. Crew members can open to any page and start reading, but I assure you they will have read every page by the time you make landfall.

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Final Voyages

Lawrence P. Bailey

Bradley J. Baker

Morgan Ridgway Barker

Roger F. Bresnahan

Joseph Thomas Callaghan Jr.

Truman Snell Casner

William S. Chapman

Paul Andrew Connor

Joseph “Joe” T. Dockery Jr.


WhenI attended a slide show given by my former neighbors, Larry and Maxine Bailey, in the late ’90s, Larry ended it with a sincere plea: “If you have any interest in cruising, go, and go now, before nature or your life’s path get spoiled.” I took that statement seriously and went cruising — almost immediately. His exhortation changed my life and the lives of those close to me in a very positive way. It is a great example of the power of one individual to change others’ destinies.

Larry passed peacefully at home on September 26, 2022, with his son, daughter, and best friend and companion holding his hands.

He was born in Seattle to Lawrence I. and Genevieve Polson Bailey. The Bailey side arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. The Polsons

Andrew J. Dossett III

Roger Tate Fortin

Steven M. Hunt

George C. Jollymore, MD

Harry H. Keith

Richard “Dick” W. Kurts

Gerald “Gerry” P. Kynett Jr.

George Lewis

Paul Gerry Maurer

Robert “Bobby” J. Oatley

William V. Polleys III

Robert Nicholas Post

Seth F. Saslo

Edmund Charles Tarbell II

Briggs Lovell Tobin

David Butler Vietor

Charles Herschel Weiner

immigrated from Sweden in 1868 and homesteaded on Fir Island, Washington Territory, in 1870. Larry was very proud of both lineages.

He had a lifelong love of the outdoors and went through the Scouting program, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Lincoln

High School in 1951 and the University of Washington in 1955. A commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve flying fighter planes and marriage to Maxine Joy Mundt followed. After the Navy, he was hired as a commercial airline pilot flying DC-3s; he retired flying 747s internationally for Northwesten Airlines. His family was the most important thing to him. The outdoors, especially the mountains, was his second love. The whole family made forays into the wilderness. With the passage of time, it was obvious that climbing mountains had a built-in ceiling, so he and Maxine started sailing to further stretch their horizons. That part of their life climaxed with a 14½-year circumnavigation on their Sceptre 41, Shingebiss II

The Baileys’ odyssey began in May 1992 when they sailed from Seattle to the western end of the Aleutians and back as a 6,800-mile shakedown trip and starting point for their circuitous

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The next leg of their voyage was from Seattle to Cape Horn, Chile, via Mexico, Central America, the Galapagos Islands, Easter Islands, and then cruising through the Patagonian Canals. A subsequent trip to Antarctica had to be cut short because the loss of both the engine and the outboard motor forced a detour to the Falklands for repairs.

Next in high southern latitudes was a cruise to South Georgia Island, after which they sailed via many of the Atlantic islands to the Azores, followed by three years in the Mediterranean, around Ireland and Britain, then into the Baltic Sea. With eight years of cruising already behind them, the Baileys left the Baltic and followed the route of the Vikings westward from Norway across the Atlantic via the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and then to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Wandering south down the Atlantic Ocean included visits along the U.S. East Coast and to Cuba, before revisiting the Azores. Madeira and the Canary Islands were next, followed by a nonstop passage to Cape Town, South Africa. They departed eastward with a stop at seldom-visited St. Paul Island in the central Indian Ocean. The final legs of their circumnavigation took them to Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, then back to Kiska via the Marshall Islands to complete the cycle. On their return to Seattle, they left 93,000 miles in their wake, a voyage noted for the Baileys’ self-sufficiency, seamanship, sense of adventure, and interest in other cultures. They sailed all oceans, visited all continents, traveled in 72 countries while proudly avoiding the Panama and Suez canals, and their circumnavigation was largely contrary to the prevailing winds. For this, Larry and Maxine won the CCA Blue Water Medal in 2006. Larry was a longtime member of CCA, the Seattle Yacht Club, and the Ocean Cruising Club.

Maxine passed away in 2015. Larry

is survived by son, Mark Lawrence Bailey (Kimberly); daughter, Ann Bailey Compton (Richard); granddaughter Monica Compton; great grandson Landen Compton; and his dearest friend, Jo Sanderson.

His parting words: “Adventure, mental or physical, is an essential part of a worthwhile life.”

Bradley J. Baker


Brad Baker died far too young at age 58 on September 30, 2022, of glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer that was diagnosed nearly four years ago. He is survived by his wife, PJ, and their sons, Bryce and Austin.

In spring 2019, Brad courageously began participation in a clinical trial at University of California San Francisco for a drug that stopped the first set of tumors. Unfortunately, in September 2020 the cancer was again detected. Brad felt strongly that he wanted to do anything he could to help future patients diagnosed with this devastating cancer, including being a test subject.

Following his diagnosis, Brad participated in the Newport Bermuda Race on Phil Helmes’ J-133, Fast Company III, and the 2021 Fastnet on board the Beneteau First 40 Jazz, which experienced a keel failure midway through the race. He also raced on the East Coast and in the Caribbean on Greg Slyingstad’s 53-foot Bieker Cat Fujin, including the 2018 Caribbean 600 when Fujin capsized off the island of Saba. Brad deemed it an important experience in his career.

Brad cofounded a yacht brokerage firm, Swiftsure Yachts, and sent many sailors off on life-changing adventures in perfect boats. He was a very good boat broker in every sense. He cared for his customers and was upfront with all the elements of boat buying and selling.

As a navigator, he won the Vic-Maui race multiple times, both on elapsed and corrected times. He sailed 10 Victoria-Maui races in all, earning five Navigators Awards in the process.

Brad first sailed in 1979 on a donated Bob Perry-designed 41-footer named Heather, which had been donated to the Explorer Scout program for youths. Brad decided then and there to join the Explorer Scouts and vowed to become a member of the racing team by the end of his first year. Eight months later, he was sailing out of Victoria Harbor on his way to the Swiftsure Lightship as part of Heather’s crew. The 1980 Swiftsure International Yacht Race was destined to go down in the annals of Swiftsure history as the race that resulted in a bunch of “Boy Scouts” winning first place overall.

This early success in his sailing career fed his appetite, and he continued to sail every chance he got. He soon found that his employment as a hotel catering manager was getting in the way of his true passion. In 1989 he became a sailmaker. Brad worked at Shore Sails for six years, followed by six years with North Sails. One of the best things that came out of this time was meeting PJ, a coworker at the sail loft who soon became his wife.

He took any time he had to grab his family and gunkhole the waters of Desolation Sound, the Gulf Islands, the

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San Juans, and beyond. But perhaps the most meaningful of Brad’s life lessons was to seize the big moments when they came. In 2008, he saw an opportunity to long-distance cruise with PJ, Bryce, and Austin, and he moved on it. He purchased a Bob Perry-designed 48-foot custom pilot house ketch, Capaz. After sailing to Seattle from Hawaii in June and July of 2008, he and PJ moved aboard and put their house up for sale. With Brad’s business partner, Pete McGonagle, who had just returned from a two-year cruise, and his current partner, Ryan Helling, at the helm of Swiftsure Yachts, the family left on a 12,000-mile cruise to and from Tahiti. At a time when staying home and managing a business and making money was certainly an option, Brad gave his family an invaluable lifelong memory. The Bakers crossed oceans, anchored in picturesque coves, and met new and wonderful people in every port.

Given his experience cruising and offshore racing, Brad had opportunities to participate in the broader sailing community by giving talks at yacht clubs and boat shows. In the 2013 and 2014 Coho Ho Ho cruising rallies, he gave weather briefs to the fleet as they went down the west coast. He also briefed Victoria-Maui participants in weather routing and has spoken on the topic of weather at the CCA Safety at Sea seminars.

The Northwest sailing community has lost a true friend in Brad, who was a great asset to anyone who had the opportunity to tap into his vast knowledge of all things sailing.

Morgan had a successful racing career with the Corinthian Yacht Club in Philadelphia from 1977 to 1990 when he won many of the club trophies. He was elected commodore of CYC for 1982 to 1984 and became a life member. Morgan became a member of the Cruising Club of America in 1978, first in the Chesapeake Station and later in the SAF Station when, in 2009, he and his wife, Diane, relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Morgan was, apparently, a proud member of the CCA. This was tested after one long, wet, cold and foggy passage from Buzzards Bay to Harpswell, Maine with dear friend, the late Bill Warden (CHE). Upon arrival they anchored quickly and went below for a deep well-deserved sleep. However, all was not well as they awoke with the boat aground and laying over embarrassingly on her side. Morgan and Bill had the same first and immediate thought, “take down the CCA burgee.”

that brought blinding spray. Getting an accurate position had been near impossible, but Morgan made a reasonable guess after hearing a marine radio distress call. Offering whatever assistance he could provide, he soon learned the rescue was already underway, and as luck would have it, the rescue radio operator called out Morgan’s position! Morgan later believed that a representative of the Crown might have been aboard the distressed yacht because the Bermudians seemed to have responded with all hands on deck. A lucky break for Morgan and the crew of Tabasco, his S&S-designed PJ-40!

Mandate, Morgan’s Swan 47, Hull No. 1, participated in the 1981 Annapolis to Newport Race and returned home with the coveted Blue Water Bowl. Mandate would prove successful again in 1986 when she took the division prize in the Rolex Swan Regatta.

Morgan enjoyed cruising with family and friends from Halifax to St. Thomas and raced multiple times in the Marblehead to Halifax, Cape May to Newport, and Annapolis to Newport offshore races. As skipper, Morgan raced with many fine CCA sailors, including Steve Chance (CHE), Dick Waterman (BOS/NBP), Chris Willits (FL), and Jon Wright (CHE).



Barker, beloved husband, father, stepfather, and friend, died peacefully at home in Sausalito, California, on April 6, 2022.

In 1972, 1978, and 1980, Morgan and his crew of family and friends joined the Bermuda racing fleet for the Thrash to the Onion Patch. He enjoyed relating his stroke of luck during the ’72 race when the fleet was caught in the tail end of Hurricane Agnes. It was two days of sailing through clouds and darkness, with winds gusting up to 70 knots and crests and troughs

One of Dick Waterman’s “favorite all-time” memories of being part of Morgan’s crew was taking Mandate from Marblehead to Tenants Harbor in the late 1980s. As they closed in on the Maine coast in pea-soup fog, Morgan remained below, baking a loaf of bread and listening to an opera (one of his favorite pastimes) while consulting his radar and advising his topside crew of necessary course adjustments. Dick also recalled terrific times racing with Morgan, including being recognized as the best-performing boat in the Annapolis to Newport Race. Most of the crew was under 25, and Morgan hoped that his trust in them would foster lifelong self-confidence. He considered it a pleasure and a great

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Morgan Ridgway Barker Morgan Ridgway Barker

privilege to have done so.

Roger F. Bresnahan


Roger Bresnahan died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on December 2, 2021. He was 84.

Roger was raised in Rutland, Vermont, and spent summers sailing on Lake Dunmore. He attended Norwich University and represented his class as a varsity alpine skier, and skiing continued to be a close competitor to sailing for his love and attention throughout his life.

After graduating from college, Roger was a part owner of an Irish pub on 2nd Avenue in New York, a colorful phase of his life. His marriage to wife Lee gave him incentive to settle down. They lived for many years in their welcoming home in Essex, Massachusetts, bringing up two sons and a daughter. Roger was a devoted family man, and he doted on his grandchildren.

Roger founded and managed a successful commercial builder/developer company in Salem, where he worked until retirement.

He was soft-spoken, phlegmatic, with a wry sense of humor, happy to tease you if he spotted a sensitivity, and he was a bit of a curmudgeon. Those who knew him instinctively liked him. We played many rounds of golf at Essex County Club, with Roger continually complaining about the market.

His sailing resume is impressive. For many summers he could be found on his beloved Swan 44, Kittiwake, gunkholing between Manchester, Massachusetts, and Down East. He did numerous deliveries to and from the Caribbean on friends’ boats. He and I were fortunate to be invited to crew on Rob Kiley’s Twilight as we traversed Europe over a 10-year period. Roger was the reliable navigator. He did two transatlantic passages.

Roger was invited to be a member of

the Cruising Club of America in 2002, was always proud to fly the CCA burgee, and attended many CCA social events. He participated in two CCA cruises. Sharing a watch with Roger, no matter the conditions, was always a pleasure. His sailing buddies miss him greatly.

Joseph Thomas Callaghan Jr.


Joe Callaghan died peacefully in Fort Myers, Florida, on May 29, 2022. Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the oldest of nine, Joe graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a degree in chemistry and went to work with Uniroyal Chemical. He retired from Uniroyal in 1999 as vice president of sales for chemical and polymers.

Despite his early exposure to matters marine in New Bedford, the combination of work moves, and family responsibilities left Joe dreaming and reading about sailing until 1977 when he purchased a Bristol 24. This he replaced with a Cal 2-29 in 1978, to be followed shortly in 1980 by the

winner of the 1978 Newport Bermuda Race, the Concordia yawl 39 Babe, which he renamed Suzanne for his wife. Joe actively raced and cruised Suzanne with family and friends throughout New England. He joined Milford Yacht Club, the Off Soundings Club, the New York Yacht Club and served as fleet captain of the Windjammers Sailing Club. Off-season he sailed with his kids in the Frostbite Series in Milford. In short, despite the late start, sailing was a passion.

The extent of this became clear to Joe when in 1987 he decided to sell Suzanne and buy an Alerion for day sailing and some racing. The limitations made him feel boat-less for the first time in years. He obtained a private pilot’s license to fill the void without success. Ultimately, he commenced a search, and on a business trip to California in 1990, he found another Concordia, the bright varnished Dame of Sark. He viewed the boat on a Saturday, owned it by Tuesday, and “all was right with the world again.” He vowed to never again attempt to mix logic with wooden-boat ownership, believing that he would live longer as a result.

Over the next seven years, Joe, wife Sue, and their children annually cruised to Maine on Dame of Sark, occasionally racing, including the double-handed class of the New England solo/twin in 1996 and 1997, winning the latter. Winters often found the family bareboat chartering in the Caribbean. Joe was often seen crewing on friends’ boats, including a return from Bermuda with Tom Gochberg in the 1997 Bermuda One-Two and a cruise to Bermuda on the Concordia Westray

Following retirement, Joe and Sue had moved to Mystic, Connecticut, where Joe quickly became involved with the Mystic Seaport Museum as a volunteer working in the G.W. Blunt White Library. He became a member of the CCA in July of 1998 and served as chair of the Archive Committee for seven years, a natural fit with the archives housed in the Seaport library.

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In addition, he and Sue joined Ram Island Yacht Club, where Joe became commodore in 2013. They changed boats again to a handsome Herreshoff Rozinante, Lark, and a classic motor launch.

Sadly, Sue died in 2008. Joe, however, was fortunate to find love again with Cynthia Griffiths. Together they enjoyed an active time in Mystic, travelling with family and buying a second home in Sanibel, Florida. In time, Sanibel became their primary residence, and Joe, to some extent, “swallowed the anchor.” He became a member of the board of Grampy’s Charities and joined the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, where he played regularly until shortly before his death.

Joe Callaghan was mild-mannered and soft-spoken, often displaying a bright smile and a keen sense of humor. He became a skilled seaman and was a fine shipmate and a welcome addition to any gathering. His love for wooden boats, loyalty to his friends, and sailing passion were surpassed only by his love for family.

Truman Snell Casner 1933–2022

Commodore Truman S. Casner, 88, of Vero Beach, Florida, and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, died unexpectedly on March 15, 2022.


Truman was born in Baltimore on October 9, 1933, to the late A. James and Margaret (Snell) Casner. He was raised in Belmont, Massachusetts, and graduated from Belmont Hill School and Princeton University. He earned his law degree at Harvard Law School, which provided the foundation for his lifelong career in law. After a one-year judicial clerkship with Chief Justice Raymond Wilkins of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Truman joined the firm of Ropes & Gray in Boston. He rose from an associate in 1959 to managing partner in 1994, retiring in 2001. He was a devoted and esteemed advisor to his clients and colleagues alike, and he represented Ropes & Gray as a place where integrity and high-quality legal work were paramount.

Truman served as trustee on several civic, educational, and nonprofit boards. He was a trustee and board chair of Belmont Hill School and was the recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001. He also was a trustee of Buckingham School, the Boston Museum of Science, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and he served on the boards of State Street Corporation, State Street Bank and Trust Company, and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. Truman served as secretary of the Cruising Club in 1990–2001, vice commodore in 2002–2003, and finally commodore in 2004-2005

Truman married Elizabeth “Betsy” Lyons in June 1953 just after his junior year at Princeton. In the summer of 1955, upon graduation from Princeton, he and Betsy were hired as the “summer couple” by the Salters Point summer community in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, where their duties were to teach children tennis, golf, and sailing. Truman knew little of sailing, having

spent much of his childhood summers with family in the Midwest, but immediately put his mind to learning the sport. Truman ran the sailing camp at Salters, instructing kids in Beetle Cats and Herreshoff 12½s, and the golf program, while Betsy focused on tennis.

Throughout the 60s and early 70s, Truman owned a Beetle Cat and a Rhodes 19, which he moored in Nonquitt, Massachusetts. During those early years of his sailing career, Truman served as crew with CCA members Paul Perkins, Matt Plum, Nick Grace, and John Glessner on several Bermuda Races as well as New York Yacht Club cruises aboard Glessner’s Hinkley 41 Oomiak and Jimmy Madden’s PJ-48 Gesture. It was during these years with those shipmates that Truman developed his passion for offshore sailing.

In 1972, Truman, Matt Plumb, and Nick Grace formed a partnership to purchase the Block Island 40 Moonbeam from Bill Rothschild, renaming her Astral. In 1976, he bought out his partners and spent summers cruising with family out of Padanaram, Massachusetts, in the waters south of the Cape and down east to Maine and Nova Scotia.

During the late 80s, he sailed Astral to the Bras d’Or Lakes and kept her over several winters at Henry Fuller’s yard in Baddeck. While cruising in the Bras d’Or Lakes, Truman stowed his golf clubs in the forepeak, and he and Betsy would play the Cabot Links with Ross and Kathleen Sherbrooke.

In 1995, he and a crew of trusted CCA members, including Paul Perkins, Ed Kendrick, Larry White, Steve Parson, and Jean Myer, sailed Astral from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Kinsale, Ireland.

Over the next 10 years, Truman sailed Astral throughout Europe while participating in many CCA cruises, visiting Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Throughout those years, Truman’s most faithful and trusted crewmember was CCA treasurer Kathleen O’Donnell. In Kathleen’s

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Joseph Thomas Callaghan Jr.


“In 1990, I worked in the real estate department at Ropes & Gray. I would see ‘Mr. Casner’ on the launch at New Bedford Yacht Club where I was crewing on a C&C 40. At one of the firm’s lunches, I casually said I had never sailed farther than Nantucket and that if he ever need help to get Astral somewhere, I hoped that he would consider asking me to join him.

“It is hard for me to explain how one simple ‘ask’ would have such an incredible impact on my life. That summer, I sailed with Truman to Halifax, and started a 26-year run, sailing on Astral every summer. For years, we only sailed east — Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, and Sweden. Truman had planned to sail Astral to St. Petersburg, Russia, but political upheaval made sailing a boat to Russia too risky, so we sailed west, through the Caledonian Canal, back to one of our favorite places, the west coast of Scotland. In 2005, he proudly brought Astral back home to Padanaram as commodore of the Cruising Club of America.

“What always amazed me was his mechanical skill. When we were sailing the south coast of Newfoundland in 1995, we apparently got bad fuel in Baddeck. Rolling seas and no wind just knocked all the gunk in the tank

into the fuel lines. You wouldn’t expect to see a Ropes & Gray partner mouth syphoning diesel fuel into the engine for a temporary fix, but there he was, day after day, trying to get us to some harbor with a mechanic. The fuel tank was so fouled that Truman wouldn’t let his friends sail Astral to Ireland without replacing it. He was in the bilge for two days, helping a local workman take out the old tank and replace it with a new one. When the work was finally done and the engine running smoothly, the workman told Truman that the owner of the boat was really, really lucky to have such a hard-working paid hand.”

Truman’s legacy will live on as an accomplished leader, lawyer, and advisor, and those who knew him well, had the pleasure of his gift of storytelling and dry humor. He often told his golf friends, “I sail better than I play golf. Otherwise, I would have drowned years ago.”

Truman was predeceased by his first wife, Betsy, in 1997, and his brother, Andrew James Casner, in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Gaynor Davol Casner, and his three children, Richard D. Casner of New Canaan, Connecticut, Elizabeth Anne Casner of Easton, Massachusetts, and Abigail Ackerman of San Diego, California. Truman is also survived by 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and three nephews.

William S. Chapman


Bill Chapman weighed anchor and set sail on his final voyage from his home in Stockton, California, on August 19, 2022. He was 90.

Bill was born in San Francisco and grew up visiting Ocean Beach, the Sutro Baths, and other Outer Sunset oceanfront locations. As a boy, he read books filled with tales of the South

Pacific, which instilled in him a lifelong curiosity about South Seas destinations in Polynesia and elsewhere around the world.

Bill had a series of yachts, all of which were named Bones. He and his wife, Diana, received the Blue Gavel Trophy for winning their class with Bones V in the 1976 Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race. That year, Bill commissioned a C&C 38, Bones VI, and he and Diana raced her in the 1978 San Diego to Manzanillo Yacht Race, finishing third overall. In 1979, Bill and Diana entered Bones VI in the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu and finished eighth in class and 21st overall. In recognition of his long-distance blue-water passages, Bill was invited to join the Cruising Club of America in 1982.

After a successful 3½-decades career in the savings and loan industry, Bill retired in 1991 at age 59, which gave him plenty of time to fulfill his childhood dream of sailing to the South Seas and beyond. Bill, Diana, and their daughter, Sandy, set sail in their Swan 47, Bones VIII. The next year, Bill and Diana were awarded the CCA John Parkinson Memorial Trophy for Transoceanic Passage.

Diana and Bill cruised for nearly 10 years, completing a circumnavigation that won them the CCA Circumnavigation Award in 1999, before dreaded cancer took Diana in 2001.

Bill remarried to Angela Konig Chapman, who was game to cruise with Bill aboard Bones VIII. For two decades, the two of them cruised the world to ports in the South Pacific, Asia, and Europe, earning Parkinson Trophies in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2010.

Bill was a 1953 graduate of the University of Pacific, a Marine, and a member of the San Francisco Yacht Club. He loved spending time outsmarting the financial markets, talking politics with friends, reading history books, playing flamenco guitar, and telling sea stories from a lifetime

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spent cruising the world.

Paul Andrew Connor 1943–2022

PaulAndrew Connor, 79, died peacefully at his home in Noank, Connecticut, on November 8, 2022, surrounded by his family. He had bravely battled ALS for two years.

Paul attended Suffield Academy in Connecticut and was a graduate of Colorado College. He married the love of his life, Carol Maxwell, in 1968. The Maxwell family has a deep sailing and racing history on Long Island Sound that stretches back generations. Paul and Carol met at Ram Island Yacht Club in Noank and for 54 years shared an amazing life and wonderful marriage full of sailing, racing, cruising, skiing, family holidays, and adventures to see lighthouses far and wide.

Paul loved everything about boats and racing. Together with Carol and their friends and family, he cruised thousands of miles and competed in more races than can be counted. Paul sailed his last race on July 16, 2022, with his best friends and wife on a J/100. They won the race.

Paul’s first sailboat was a WoodPussy, followed soon after by a Blue Jay 441, which was built at Ram Island Yacht Club in Noank. He was a successful junior sailor in Fishers Island Sound and won many races and regattas. When Paul was 16, he and a roommate from Suffield signed on to work on a Greek freighter and crossed the Pacific. They helped the crew and greatly enjoyed being out at sea.

Soon after Paul and Carol were married, they bought a C&C 30. Their crew was always family and friends, and they taught many how to race. Over the years, Paul and Carol owned and raced many sail boats including other C&C’s, J/30, J/29, J/22, and a Fast 410. Paul’s favorite was their J/29, named Hawk

Paul and Carol sailed in 17 Block Island Race Weeks and were members of the Storm Trysail North Light Society. They won BIRW five times in their J/ Boats. Paul did the Newport Bermuda Race three times and never once had to put on foul-weather gear — the weather was always fair and warm. Paul could trim a mainsail better than most. He and Carol were part of many winning teams, winning races on friend’s and family’s J/Boats, classic yachts, a TP52, a Melges 24, and more.

Cruising was a big part of Connor family life, with many cruises to Maine, the Elizabeth Islands, Block Island, and Nantucket. In the early years with kids, they cruised on sailboats. Later they moved into powerboat cruising; Carol and Paul’s favorite powerboat was an Eastbay 43 named Lilly. Their children, Whitney and Morgan, learned to sail at a young age and share their dad’s love of cruising, racing, and boats. Both are well-known sailors and racers, having competed in youth racing, college sailing, keelboats, international competitions, and more. Now his grandchildren are also enjoying the sport. Last summer all five of his grandchildren were involved in youth sailing programs: grandson Wells Connor went to the Sears Cup finals and granddaughter Avery Peterson went to the RS Feva World Championships.

Cooch Maxwell, Carol’s uncle, was a 50-year member of the CCA and encouraged Paul to join. He did so in 1997, and CCA became an important part of his life. Paul was rear commodore of the Essex Station, and he and Carol went on many CCA cruises, including Tonga, Outer Hebrides, Greece, San Juan Islands, Thimble Islands, Nova Scotia, and Desolation Sound. He loved being part of the CCA and many members became his lifelong friends. Paul was also a committed member and active volunteer at his local yacht clubs and served as commodore at Ram Island Yacht Club and Mystic River Mudheads.

Paul and Carol shared a passion for

lighthouses. Nearly all their vacations and travel adventures included a visit to at least one lighthouse! Their longtime home in Noank features a lighthouse, which they had built using U.S. Coast Guard plans.

In addition to sailing and cruising, Paul focused on the business side of his life. He started his career working alongside his mother in the family fabric business, Ashawog River Mills, which was well-known for selling designer fabrics and fine woolens. In 1971, Paul and his brother-in-law, Wes Maxwell, started a restoration business, buying, restoring, and selling antique homes in the Mystic area. They later formed the Steamboat Wharf Company and began a 40-year partnership focused on developing and transforming downtown Mystic. Their many business endeavors included building and operating the Steamboat Cafe, the Steamboat Inn, the Whaler’s Inn, Mystic Condos, Stonington Landing Condos, the Maxwelton Building stores and apartments, and much more.

Paul was not afraid to take business risks. One of his favorite business projects was building the M/V Valiant, a 97-foot aluminum yacht that had five lovely staterooms. Paul and his partners had the Valiant built in a New Orleans shipyard in 2000–2001 and brought her north to be docked alongside the Steamboat Inn in Mystic. Paul’s positive

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impact on the community where he lived his entire life and the number of lives he influenced through his kindness and generosity will be remembered for generations.

He cared deeply about his community, serving as a longtime board member for H.O.P.E. (Housing Opportunities for People in New London) and leading the land acquisition efforts as a board member for GOSA (Groton Open Space Association).

He is survived by his wife, Carol; his children, Whitney and Morgan; and his five grandchildren. Paul will be remembered for being one of a kind — a skilled sailor, a wonderful father, a loving husband, and a supporter of the community.

Joseph “Joe” T. Dockery Jr.


T. (Joe) Dockery Jr., a CCA member since 1995, died in Maine on Aug. 8, 2022.

“He was in his favorite place with his favorite person, his wife Kristal, and his dear friend, Simon Davidson,” wrote What’s Up Newp in Newport, R.I., Joe’s summer home. Joe succumbed to injuries sustained in a fall aboard the Davidsons’ 56-foot Huckins motor yacht, Meridian, while on a New York Yacht Club cruise.

“Yes, it was sudden and tragic, but God had a plan for him,” Kristal told close friends. “He always said he wanted to go quickly, like his dad. As it turned out, the CT scan after his fall revealed a baseball-size tumor on his liver. He was being transferred from a hospital in Blue Hill to a trauma hospital in Bangor and stopped breathing enroute. I firmly believe that God wanted us to know about the tumor by way of his fall, to bring acceptance to his death.”

As a sailor, Joe started humbly, building a small boat of plywood at

age 12, and his passion for sailing and cruising took root quickly. He moved up to a Lightning in 1966, then an Ericson 29 purchased with his brother Robert. In 1979 he ordered a new Pearson 40, the first of many boats he named Krisujen, created from the first letters of Kristal’s name and those of their daughters, Suzanne and Jennifer.

In the years that followed, he went on to buy, restore, cruise, and race some of the best-known yachts of his time.

Joe first met Simon and Hillary Davidson in 1991 and quickly invited them to become captain and mate of the Swan 59 he had acquired for cruising the Bahamas, Maine, and Florida. They took the bait, and their friendship continued to grow for 31 years.

Simon’s meticulous spreadsheet shows that Joe Dockery owned 24 boats over his lifetime, three of them co-owned jointly with Simon and Hillary. They ranged from his 19-foot Lightning to the classic 123-foot Feadship motor yacht he acquired in 2005 and cruised more than 20,000 miles, from Maine to Alaska.

He also owned Whitehawk, the classic 1978 105-foot O. Lie Neilson ketch, and cruised her extensively in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Maine.

“I really believe that Whitehawk was his all-time favorite,” Kristal said. “He always said he felt like the ‘museum curator’ and felt compelled to keep her

in perfect condition.”

Another of his favorites was Dovetail, a classic Trumpy 72, which he and Kristal cruised in Maine, Florida, and the Bahamas.

At the time of his death, he had a Grand Banks 54 under construction.

In the sailing world, Joe may be best remembered as a racer who brought home the silver, but he began his sailing as a cruiser, and his passion for cruising never waned. Joe and Kristal kicked off their own cruising in Maine in the 1980s aboard their C&C Custom 43, one of Krisujen boats. “He was never happier than when he was cruising in out-of-the-way places,” Kristal said. His favorites: Cuba, the San Blas Islands, La Paz and the Sea of Cortez, Panama, Costa Rica, and all of the Central American isthmus on the Pacific side.

“More than anything, Joe loved cruising Maine in the summer and the Bahamas, especially the Exumas,” Simon said. “But he was never afraid of planning exciting trips. He loved to anchor out and always find the most remote place possible.” These included Florida’s Dry Tortugas, Roque Island in Maine, the Poor Knights Islands off New Zealand’s North Island, AllansPensacola Cay in the Abacos, Florida’s Little Shark River, and the St. John River in New Brunswick.

Joe’s racing yachts often created a stir. They included a Farr 60 named Carrera, a Reichel Pugh 81, also named Carrera (formerly Morning Glory), and the vintage S&S 53 Sonny, which he acquired and raced on the classic circuit. “There were many race results over the years that meant a lot to him,” Simon said. “The (Montego Bay Race) Pineapple Cup win was a big one. The Vineyard Race on the Farr 60 and three Panerai Classic Yacht Regatta wins aboard the classic 1935 S&S 53 Sonny rank right up there.”

Simon said Joe often talked about having the record for the Fort Lauderdale–Key West Race for 11 years aboard the Reichel Pugh 81 Carrera, including the time “we limped across

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Joseph ”Joe” T. Dockery Jr.

the line with a broken rudder caused by a massive wipeout at over 20 knots of boatspeed just before the finish.”

Racing was less of a passion for Joe than “team-building, family inclusivity, and building a crew of great people,” Simon said. “That’s what made it so much fun for him. Great race results were just a bonus!”

Another close friend observed, “Joe was caring and generous. His blue eyes and mustached smile are unforgettable, and his can-do, fun attitude was contagious. He left his mark on so many communities and touched so many people. You don’t realize how much space a person fills until that person is gone, and there is a giant hole in your heart.”

Joe Dockery was well known as a man of action and a consummate yachtsman. He also had a wry sense of humor. He was once asked how many coats it took for proper varnish. With his chin raised and a twinkle in his eye, he answered, “One more coat.”

Andrew J. Dossett III 1929–2022

Andrew J. Dossett III died Jan. 2, 2022, at home in Newport Beach, California, three days before his 94th birthday.

He grew up in Beverly Hills, graduated from The Hill School in Pennsylvania and from the Foreign Trade School at the University of Southern California. Alternating between school and military service, Andrew joined the United States Marine Corps right after high school. As soon as the Korean War started, he volunteered.

Andrew owned Seagull Marine, which imported British Seagull engines and the first Avon Inflatables into America. In January 1969, an extraordinary disaster occurred where Andrew was the right person at the right place. He was a passenger on a DC 8 from Copenhagen to Los Angeles when it

crashed in the ocean 4 miles from shore. Because most of the crew perished when the tail section sank, Andrew assumed charge of deploying the plane’s emergency inflatable life rafts. Thanks to Andrew, many lives were saved.

Andrew had one boat love in his life: Bonnie Doone. She is a Gene Wells ketch with jib, staysail, mainsail and mizzen, and mahogany over oak, and she is a head-turning beauty when slicing through the sea with all sails full. He bought Bonnie Doone in 1969 and sailed her the rest of his life. His first offshore trip was a 5,600-mile cruise in 1976 to and around the Hawaiian Islands. In1984, Andrew and his wife, Corky, made their first of several Atlantic crossings. Corky was Andrew’s first mate and always important to the proper functioning of Bonnie Doone They spent several months during each of the next six years cruising the British Isles, the west coast of Europe, and the Mediterranean.

After casting off in Turkey for Singapore via Sri Lanka and Thailand, Bonnie Doone encountered strong headwinds in the Suez Canal and was taking on significant water. Luckily, the captain of a nearby freighter also bound for Singapore offered them a lift. Literally. They spent a year in Singapore preparing for the trip home via the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Forty-three days after departing

Kyushu, Japan, Bonnie Doone made landfall at the Isthmus near Moonstone Cove on Catalina Island. Not coincidentally, this cove is the outstation of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Being happiest when at sea, Andrew, with Corky, soon turned Bonnie Doone south to the Panama Canal to spend 18 months in the Caribbean and the French Riviera.

Andrew never gave Bonnie Doone or himself much rest. He sailed with friends and family to Hawaii in 2001. Two years later, he made a solo passage to Hawaii to earn the San Diego Yacht Club’s Joseph C. Antrim Race Against Aging Trophy for sailors over 75 single-handing an ocean crossing. After rounding the east end of Catalina, the wind died. His weather advisor told him the wind was not expected to pick up for at least a week and that he should motor home and wait for better conditions. In his typical fashion, Andrew said, “I can’t. If I return home now, Corky will never let me leave again.” For a week or so, he drifted, read books, and listened for the sails to fill. His wellearned trophy is proudly displayed at the San Diego Yacht Club.

One of Andrew’s last long-distance cruises was in 2006, when, as rear commodore of the Southern California Station of the Cruising Club of America, he hosted a club-wide cruise to the Sea of Cortez and Baja California.

Andrew was elected to the Cruising Club of America in 1979. He was a member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the Los Angeles Yacht Club, and the Ocean Cruising Club.

Andrew was special as a sailor and as a gentleman, parent, and friend. He was old-fashioned in a way: extremely polite even courtly. He helped new sailors become confident oceancrossing cruisers. His daughter Andrea and son Ben crewed with Andrew on many of his cruises to Europe and elsewhere around the world. Ben now captains Bonnie Doone, carrying Andrew’s spirit to Catalina and along

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Andrew J. Dossett III

the California coast.

Tod White and Andrea Dossett Sheya

Roger Tate Fortin 1933–2020

Roger Tate Fortin passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family at his home on the Chesapeake waters of Lancaster, Virginia, on December 26, 2020, at the age of 87. He was born on January 8, 1933, in New Rochelle, New York, the only son of Henri Gaston LaLonde Joseph Sifroy Fortin and Elizabeth Freanor Tate Fortin.

He attended the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Admiral Farragut Military Academy in Pine Beach, New Jersey. He then attended the U.S. Naval Academy. At the USNA he enjoyed racing aboard the academy sailboats. He served as a Navy pilot, achieving the rank of lieutenant JG. Following his naval career, in 1956, he received his bachelor’s degree in business and finance from the University of Houston.

He began his lifetime career as an executive with IBM while deliberately planning his work around his favorite pastime — racing and cruising the waters of the Atlantic east coast and far offshore. He sailed with other IBM employees, including CEO T. Vincent Learson.

He was named a director for Operation Sail 1976 and was soon made president. This event brought a parade of over 200 tall ships from 75 countries into New York Harbor for the United States Bicentennial. He again served as president of Operation Sail 1986 for the centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty. In 1983, he was asked to join the board of Westchester County Tricentennial.

Roger was born a sailor and spent most of his time on and around the water. He shared his father’s passion for sailing, and he in turn shared his passion with his three children, Blaine, Cheryl

and Dawn, and his grandchildren.

He always found time to pursue the sailing that he loved and at which he excelled. He accumulated enough silver to sink his ship. Some of his most noteworthy accomplishments include first place overall in the Newport Bermuda race; third place in his division and first in the family division with his whole family aboard in the Marion Bermuda race; and a round-trip transatlantic crossing in his beloved F&C44, Tango. He and his wife, Jane, a white Labrador, and two cats lived aboard and cruised the waters of Spain and Portugal for three years.

He often looked for opportunities for young sailors to join in his crew and always had a spot for Naval Academy sailors. He provided yachts for racing and cruising through his many clubs and aboard his own yachts. Once a young man on the foredeck crew let the jib halyard fly from his hand, and it proceeded to ride to the top of the mast. Roger immediately shimmied up the mast hand over hand, grabbed the halyard, and shimmied back down. He handed the halyard to the sailor and said, “Don’t let that happen again.”

He was a second-generation member of the American Yacht Club and also the New York Yacht Club, the Storm Trysail Club, and the Corinthians. He became a member of the Cruising Club of America on January 25, 1973. He and Jane enjoyed the East Coast voyages from Maine to Florida. They raced in the double-handed race in Annapolis and took home the trophy. They joined the Washington-to-Canada voyage, where they cruised those cool, pristine waters of the west. His final voyage with the CCA was in Thailand in 2013, during which they especially enjoyed feeding the baby elephants and sending off their lighted lanterns. He was proud to display his many flags, with his CCA flag atop his main mast.

In addition to Jane, his wife of 60 years, he is survived by his son, Blaine Marshall Fortin (Lisa Ann Matos Fortin); his daughters, Cheryl Lynn

Fortin Young (Dr. Richard William Young) and Dawn Marie Fortin Colby (George Arthur Colby, Sr.); his sister, Marie (Moo) Marguerite Fortin Beringer; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Donations in Roger Fortin’s memory may be made to your sailing program of choice for youth age to midshipman.

Steven M. Hunt



M. Hunt set sail on his final voyage on Sunday, November 6, 2022. Steve was very active in the CCA and contributed to our San Francisco Station in many ways, including serving as past rear commodore in 2008–2009. He was a good friend and shipmate. Our station members will miss him.

Raised in Piedmont, California, near the shores of San Francisco Bay, Steve gained a love of sailing at an early age. When he was 16, he built his first sailboat, a Crosby 16 that he named Puffin After Puffin, Steve owned several other sailboats and often spent his free time sailing with his family on San Francisco Bay.

Steve was an excellent craftsman and woodworker, creating toys, furniture and

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Roger Tate Fortin

other works of art for family members and friends. These skills would come in handy when Steve, upon retirement from his family business, decided to buy a sailboat that he and his wife, Marilyn, could take cruising. When he found none of the boats available at the time to be satisfactory for a number of reasons, including insufficient headroom to accommodate his 6-foot 4-inch frame, Steve decided to build his own.

He found a yacht design that would be perfect for him and his family and, in 1987, acquired a Ted Brewer-designed, 47-foot, fiberglass bare hull, and built the yacht, mostly by himself, in 2½ years. Christened Triumph by Marilyn, the yacht was launched in 1990, and the Hunt family began cruising her to British Columbia, including circumnavigating Vancouver Island, and then to Alaska. From Alaska, Steve and Marilyn took Triumph to Mexico where they enjoyed exploring the small ports along the country’s west coast. Steve then entered Triumph in the 1994 Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii, finishing fourth overall and second in Division C. Among the race crew were, of course, Marilyn, and two of their sons-in law, Rich Premzic and Kirk Johnson. They were beyond ecstatic about their performance.

Following the Pacific Cup, Steve and Marilyn cruised the Hawaiian

Islands for a season. In 1996 they sailed Triumph to French Polynesia and cruised the Marquesan, Tuamotu, and Society islands. One of Steve’s favorite memories was of sailing Triumph with Marilyn and their son Jeff from the Tuamotu Islands to Hilo, Hawaii, a beautiful 2,100-nautical-mile, tradewind passage during which they averaged more than 160 miles per day.

Steve is remembered as being adventurous on the sea and in life. As Steve’s son Jeff puts it, “Anyone who builds a 47-foot sloop on his own and then takes it to sea has to have a little gusto.” Steve was passionate and meticulous in everything he did, including building Triumph, and this stood him in good stead when he went to sea, whether racing or cruising.

In addition to the CCA, Steve was a longtime member of the Richmond Yacht Club in Richmond, California. Fair winds, good friend.

George C. Jollymore, MD 1934–2021

George Jollymore died in hospital on October 19, 2021, of cardiac arrest and other underlying conditions.

A resident of Chester, Nova Scotia, he was a longtime Bras d’Or Station fleet surgeon. He became a CCA member in 1990, after joining several station cruises as a “guest boat.”

In his boat Palamu, a Fisher 37, George cruised the Maritime Provinces from the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Saint John River.

He made two memorable trips to Sable Island. The first was in early July, with several members of the Bras d’Or Station as his crew. On arrival, George anchored on the north side of the island, about half a mile offshore in 20 feet of water. A beautiful sunny day with a light southwest wind gave favorable conditions for landing on shore with the inflatable dinghy. We were

greeted by many flapping and talkative seals. Members of the weather station welcomed us warmly and gave an introduction to Sable Island, and we enjoyed a day of exploration.

The island’s native horses and foals provided much entertainment, and the birds and plants peculiar to the island environment offered a special learning experience. Later in the evening, with final thanks and goodbyes at the weather station, Palamu took off for an uneventful, smooth sail back to Chester. (C.D. “Kit” McCurdy (BDO) created a bound copy of the Palamu log for this trip, which is in the archives of the Bras d’Or Station.)

George’s second trip to Sable Island two years later was the other side of the coin. A rising northeast wind with gusts over 30 knots made holding station off the West End Light untenable. George ordered a turnaround and set a course for the nearest shelter on the shore of a cove at the mouth of the Liscombe River that he knew well. This trip gave all aboard an opportunity to witness the conditions that gave rise to Sable Island’s reputation as “the graveyard of the Atlantic.”

George graduated from Dalhousie Medical School in 1963 and opened his medical practice in Chester that same year. He worked diligently until his retirement on October 30, 2014. For over 50 years, George served his

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Steven M. Hunt George C. Jollymore, MD

community and was greatly respected for his compassionate and dedicated care of his patients.

George was a longtime member of the Chester Yacht Club and an active participant of the Frost Bite Pram sailing group. An avid skier, he also managed to get away each winter to Elbow Cay in the Bahamas. His was a life well lived.

George was preceded in death by his wife, Elva. He is survived by his partner of ten years, Frances Zinck; his sons, Keith and Bruce; and many grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Harry H. Keith


Dr. Harry H. Keith Jr. passed away peacefully June 22, 2022, at the Brookdale Memory Care Center in Ormond Beach, Florida, where he had resided for 11 months. He and his wife, Malinda, were on their 38th voyage on the Intracoastal Waterway, from their home in the Florida Keys to Annapolis, Maryland, when he left the sailing life for professional care in July 2021.

Dr. Keith was born in San Pedro, California, the son of Admiral Harry H. Keith and Hazel Jennings Davis Keith. His childhood was spent in Washington, D.C., except for two years when his father had duty in Hawaii and Harry attended Punahou High School. Before graduating from Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, he enlisted in the Navy, preparing to attend the United States Naval Academy.

He received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and his doctor of science from MIT. While there, Dr. Keith was elected to Sigma Xi, an international honor society for science and engineering. His thesis supervisor assisted him in establishing a successful forensic engineering consulting business that he continued throughout his years as a professor at the Naval Academy and into retirement.

His expertise was in mechanical system design and operating material analysis. Licensed as a professional engineer, he was a defense expert in the court case against the developers of the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, which was destroyed by fire in 1977.

Sailing was his life. Many professors picked up nicknames, and Dr. Keith earned two as a volunteer coach for the midshipmen’s offshore sailing program in the early sixties: Hang ‘em High Harry and Killer Keith. He would hear protests and issue justice to the offending sailor. He had a reputation for being tough but fair.

In 1971 Harry and Malinda bought their first boat, a ketch named Lanikai, to cruise with their children on the Chesapeake, and, in those days before radar, offshore to New England, Nova Scotia, and Bermuda. He received his amateur radio license in 1984, purchased radar, and cruised the circle that took them through the Erie Canal, down the St. Lawrence Seaway to the ocean, and back to Annapolis.

In their second Lanikai, a motorsailer, they did the Great Loop before another round trip from the Florida Keys to Ottawa, Canada.

Harry was an avid ocean racer and did many Newport Bermuda races and a transatlantic from Bermuda to Denmark in 1966. With his reputation for fairness, he became one of the first judges certified by the United States Yacht Racing Union in 1977. After years of judging races, he retired as an international judge in 2017.

During his 52-year membership in the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC), he served on the Race Committee and wrote a race-scoring program that was used by many member clubs of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association (CBYRA). He was AYC commodore 1991–1992, past commodore of the USNA Sailing Association, a member of the Cruising Club of America, the Ocean Cruising Club, and the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake.

He was an honorary life member of CBYRA, and an honorary member of the Clyde Cruising Club of Scotland.

Originally a member of the CCA Chesapeake Station, Harry switched to the Florida Station when he and Malinda moved to the Florida Keys after his retirement. They continued to cruise lower Florida, the Bahamas, and the ICW. Their home in Marathon was visited by many CCA boats on their way down the Keys or stopping before an overnighter to the Bahamas. They hosted many Florida Station cruise parties. Many sailors were grateful for Harry’s able handiwork and extraordinarily well-equipped workshop.

Survivors include Malinda Pullins Keith of Daytona Beach, Florida, his wife of 62 years; his son, Harry H. Keith III and his wife, Kati, of Lusby, Maryland; and their daughter, Malinda Jane Keith (Mindy) of South Dakota; and two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

DickKurts died suddenly on October 30, 2021, as the result of a stroke. He was 87.

Dick was born in Mamaroneck,

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“Dick” W. Kurts 1934–2021

New York, on December 15, 1934. He fell in love with sailing as a young boy and began his sailing and racing career as a youngster at Larchmont Yacht Club, where he became a lifetime member.

He majored in engineering and architecture at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1956. He was a skier and a member of the sailing team. Like so many, he became a champion of Dartmouth.

His strong aptitude in mathematics led to his becoming a much soughtafter navigator in offshore racing, an instructor of celestial navigation and seamanship at the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, and a shipping broker.

As a young instructor at Officer’s Candidate School, he met and then married Sally, his wife of 59 years. At the time, her dad, Admiral Stuart H. Ingersoll, was president of the Naval War College. In addition to raising a family, they sailed and cruised together for their entire married life.

Upon returning to civilian life following his four-year commitment to the Navy, Dick raced with the Larchmont Etchells fleet. Dick and Sally also owned a Knudson 37, on which they cruised Long Island Sound and adjacent waters. In 1962 he was navigator on the 12-meter Columbia, skippered by Corny Shields Jr., when she vied to defend the America’s Cup

with an all-Larchmont Yacht Club crew. In 1958, at age 24, Dick was navigator on Dick Nye’s Carina in the Bermuda Race. He became the Nyes’ regular navigator for many years, racing the Bermuda, Transatlantic and the Fastnet races. At age 25 he skippered Walter Wheeler’s 71-foot Cotton Blossom IV on passage from Genoa, Italy, to St. Thomas. At the time, Cotton Blossom was one of the queens of the Long Island Sound offshore racing fleet.

Dick joined the CCA in 1974. He was a member for 48 years.

Dick had a long highly successful career as a shipping broker, working with private shipowners. In later life he became a much-sought-after maritime arbitrator.

Upon retirement, he and Sally spent winters at their Florida home in Harbour Ridge in Palm City. They continued to summer in Larchmont.

In addition to his beloved wife Sally, he is survived by their daughter, Dana Wallace, and granddaughter, Emily Wallace. He is predeceased by their son, Eric Kurts. He leaves a legion of lifelong sailing friends within the Larchmont community, and within the shipping industry.

Gerald “Gerry” P. Kynett Jr. 1925–2022

and commanded the minesweeper USS Linnett (MSCO-24). After Wharton, he joined American Home Products and then became an investment banker at Hopper Soliday, Brook, Sheridan and Bogan. He retired as a partner at age 43.

In 1986, he sailed with his wife, Ginny, and son, Michael, to Bermuda. For some 40 years, he and Ginny extensively cruised the coasts of Florida, the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Chesapeake Bay.

His effervescent personality was legendary. With his multitude of lifetime interests, he infected everyone with his great enthusiasm. He was a born entertainer, and much sought-after as a cruising companion. In addition to the CCA, he was a member of the St. Charles Yacht Club in Fort Meyers, Florida.


Kynett, a 25-year member of the CCA, died May 24, 2022, at age 96.

He was born December 10, 1925, in Media, Pennsylvania and was raised in Wallingford, where he attended the Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square. At the age of 17, Gerry dropped out of school to enlist in the Navy during WWII. After the Navy he finished high school at the Episcopal Academy.

Gerry was proud of his Navy service. He was commissioned in the Naval Reserve, rose to the rank of commander,

He is survived by Ginny, his wife of 64 years, and many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

George Lewis


George Lewis died on Monday, May 9, 2022, at the age of 91. A lifelong resident of Sherborn, Massachusetts, he spent every summer through 2021 on North Haven in Maine, where he sailed

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Richard “Dick” W. Kurts Gerald “Gerry” P. Kynett Jr.

in the Fox Islands Thorofare. George was predeceased by his first wife and mother of his four children, Laura Carruthers, and leaves his wife of 37 years, Emily Lincoln Saltonstall.

During his lifetime, George served in many roles on the North Haven Casino board of directors. He was a member of the Cruising Club of America for 33 years and the New York Yacht Club.

George sailed the small one-design North Haven Dinghy with consistent success and passion and helped lead the transition from wood to fiberglass that ensured its preservation as a class. He raced his dinghy, Recovery, in the weekly Casino summer series until he could no longer move about easily — age 85. He never switched to a keel boat and instead pursued his local fleet and race committee around the courses aboard his outboard Frolic through his last summer in Maine. When growing up, he raced a Dark Harbor 17 with his sister, Eleanor, and tried out for the 1956 Olympics in 5.5-meter sloops. George loved the water and lived his summer months to sail every day. He claimed that there was no better sailing ground than West Penobscot Bay.

One of his early mentors in bigboat sailing was H. Irving Pratt, who he mentioned often. He sailed with Pratt on Caper in the 1956 Newport Bermuda Race.

George owned a succession of boats over his lifetime, including Breeze, a Fastnet 45; Fish Hawk, an Alden sloop; Lively, a Doug Peterson-designed One Ton; and for the past 40 years, Rose, a New York 40. Lively was commissioned in 1974 and campaigned with an experienced amateur crew, including George’s two sons, with great success in many East Coast races and placed seventh in the 1975 World Championship. George especially enjoyed sailing in the New Bedford Yacht Club Whalers Race and the Monhegan Island Race.

George enjoyed racing boat for boat when he first acquired Rose: at Block Island Race Week, in the NYYC

Cruise, and in the Newport Bermuda Race in 1982. He transitioned in his later years to more casual sailing and cruising on Rose with longtime friends. He enjoyed Cruising Club of America gatherings and cruises, often sailing on other members’ boats, such as with Garry Fischer in the Grenadines and Ross Sherbrooke in Thailand. He sailed with CCA member Frank Eberhart on Hound on the CCA-Irish Cruising Club 75th anniversary cruise in 2004, in company with daughter Lisa and CCA member and son-in-law Bart Dunbar, among others.

Growing up, George attended the Charles River School, the Fenn School, the Middlesex School, and graduated from the University of Virginia.

He was one of four founding partners of the investment firm Thorndike, Doran, Paine and Lewis, which later merged with Wellington Management in 1966. He retired from Wellington in 1994 but remained active as an investment partner at Saltonstall and Company until his death. He was an active marine art and Chinese export porcelain collector for much of his life and very involved with the Peabody Essex Museum Maritime Committee. His numerous friends remember him for his handwritten notes and his interest in many aspects of their lives. Lifelong friend and CCA member Ross Sherbrooke remembers, “George

loved the water and sailed Rose every day possible during the summer. He was a most thoughtful and generous true friend, and he lived the life that he believed in.”

Paul Gerry Maurer 1942–2022

“Gerry” Maurer died on September 25, 2022, at the age of 80 due to failing health from long COVID and pulmonary fibrosis. He was deeply loved by family and friends and will be dearly missed.


Gerry was born on May 2, 1942, in Long Beach, California, the second of Mary Josephine Cushing Maurer and Paul Bulger Maurer’s three children. He and his sisters, Mary Jo and Tath, grew up on an avocado ranch in the Hollywood Hills. Gerry attended La Habra and Hollywood High (class of 1960), where he was a member of the cheer squad and track team.

Gerry was an avid sailor from a young age, skippering boats in multiple transpacific (California to Hawaii) races when he was still in high school. His love for sailboats continued throughout his life as he captained his beloved yachts Surprise (C&C 35) and Dirigo (K50) in myriad races and cruised the Pacific Northwest, Canada, Bermuda, Mexico, and beyond.

Gerry received his bachelor’s degree in 1964 from Stanford University, where he met his first wife, Kathleen Kirkpatrick (Pierce), and was a proud member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and a coxswain on the crew team. He went on to get his MBA from Columbia University in 1966, after which he worked in management for American Airlines. He attended Officer Candidate School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. In 1970, he was discharged and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked for Airborne Air Freight. With his

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business partner and fellow Navy officer Glenn Kalnasy, he bought American Conserving Company (aka “the apple factory”), which processed Washington apples for pies and juice.

In 1985, he shifted gears to estate and business planning, partnering with CCA member Tom O’Brien in Northwestern Mutual Financial Services, where he built his own advisory firm. He retired in 2021. Gerry’s background was key to his early success at NML. His keen intellect, communication skills, coupled with his ability to build and keep relationships, was recognized by his peers, and early on he began to do joint work with younger associates. Over his long tenure, Gerry contributed to not only his own success but the success of many others and the entire organization. All at NML, including his many clients and associates, will miss his talent and friendship.

In 1987, Gerry married Barbara and moved to her home in West Seattle. They had a shared love of the sea; most of their spare time was spent racing or cruising sailboats. They spent many years sailing the West Coast, as well as chartering boats in the Caribbean, Greece, and Croatia and traveling on CCA station and international cruises.

One of his most cherished honors was becoming commodore of the Seattle Yacht Club (SYC) in 1992. He was awarded SYC Boat of the Year for his well-kept Surprise and was recognized as one of Seattle’s premier competitors. His skill in organizing crew and making racing fun set him apart as a winning skipper. Racing sailboats was his North Star, and he continued to race mini-12s with SYC after retiring his yachts. He loved teaching others to sail, as he did with the U.S. Navy cadets.

Gerry was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Glee Maurer. He is survived by his daughters, Kristina Maurer Montague (Tom) and Serena Dawn Maurer (Sam); his stepsons, Karl Asmund Norsen (Michelle) and Curtis Clifton Norsen (Betsy); and his grandchildren, Chapin, Max, Ella, Millie,

Bobby Oatley, aka Captain Smokes, passed away on January 19, 2022, in St. George’s, Bermuda, after a short illness. He had enjoyed a happy Christmas, which ended with the traditional family gathering for eats and games on Boxing Day. Bobby had formally stopped working at the Godet & Young hardware store, where he was managing director, but he remained active, helping in the shop where he could. He enjoyed an active and engaged life to the end.

There was hardly a dull moment in a life that was filled with planning and taking on his next work, home, or farming project or a sailing event. He energetically applied himself to a demanding daily schedule that often started at 4:30 a.m. with office work, followed by exercise before heading out for a full day in the shop and warehouse. The day typically ended with an hour or two in the banana patch, attending fire practice, a Dinghy Club meeting, or a family event. Weekends typically involved working around the house, garden, shop, or participating in a sailing event. During the last couple of years, he slowed down a little and eliminated the pre-dawn office work, but not the morning exercise and, at the end of

the day, football in the backyard with his teenage grandson Aidan. It is tiring just listening to it!

Bobby was a St. George’s man through and through. One of his favorite sing-alongs after a day of sailing and a few celebratory drinks was “The cups may come and the cups may go, but St. George’s boys forever!” This song was almost always followed by his favorite old St. David’s tune, “In the Evening by the Moonlight.” Unfortunately, there are only a few St. George’s boys remaining who know the words and can carry the tune in the very specific manner that Bobby insisted it should be sung.

He was born to Sydney “Cowboy” Oatley and Elizabeth “Bessie” Oatley (nee Christianson) on May 11, 1934, the opening day of Severn Bridge that linked St. George’s to St. David’s via Stokes Point. He attended St. George’s Grammar School and the Prospect Army School. As a boy, Bobby developed a lifetime interest in the sea and sailing while watching the dinghy races with his grandfather, Charlie Christianson, who ran ferry service from St. George’s to St. David’s.

Captain Smokes, as Bobby came to be known, went on to enjoy a lifetime of sea voyages and dinghy and yacht racing. He travelled nearly 100,000 nautical miles, from Newfoundland to the West Indies and from the American east coast to Africa on yachts, motorboats, and ships. His voyages included a passage from New York to Newcastle upon Tyne in November 1954 to return the Queen of Bermuda for refit. He especially enjoyed serving on the Fort Avalon, which cruised from New York to Newfoundland, and loved recounting stories from those days. While serving on a research vessel at the grand old age of 17, Bobby became a certified “shellback” having “crossed the equator and been duly initiated into the mysteries of deep.”

His combined dinghy- and yachtracing experience are second to none. He started dinghy racing in 1946 as

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Tao, Harper, and Tabitha. John Kennell and Tom O’Brien Robert “Bobby” J. Oatley 1934–2022 Paul Gerry Maurer

bailer in the Victory I and ended 40 years later in the Victory III. He sailed in the Victory II for her entire life and skippered her for 10 years. He won the Jubilee and Coronation cups on more than a dozen occasions each and led an initiative to modernize dinghy construction. As a young man, he raced Snipes with his good friend George Brown. Together they represented Bermuda in the Snipe class in the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago and the 1962 Western Hemisphere Championships in Argentina. His Snipe career included a Bermuda championship.

He began ocean racing in a Bermuda yacht named Force 7 in the 1964 Newport Bermuda race. Over the next 40 years, he competed in more than 15 Newport Bermuda races as watch captain or navigator on various Bermuda yachts, such as the Whistler of Paget, Rebel, and Vivace. He completed the 1994 Bermuda race in the doublehanded category with an American friend on a U.S. entry named Haterra His last Newport Bermuda race was aboard Babe in 2004. In addition, he competed in 10 other races to Bermuda from Marion, Annapolis, and Daytona, serving as navigator or skipper that included the Saint Georges Dinghy and Sports Club entry Alexis.

This extensive list does not even begin to cover the hundreds of BOCA races, fleet racing around Bermuda in Sunfishes, IODs, Fireflys, and yacht and motorboat deliveries between the islands and the south and east coasts of

the U.S. He especially enjoyed racing and sailing his own 30-foot racing/ cruiser Thistle Dew.

While he thoroughly enjoyed sea voyages and racing, he also enjoyed introducing people to sailing as a crew member. There are dozens of people around Bermuda who can recount experiences racing with Bobby in the Victory, a Bermuda race, or joining the crew on a sea voyage for the first time.

He is survived by wife, Verna; stepmother Winnie; sisters Joan Blee and Virginia Atkinson; brother Bernard and sister-in-law Lily; son Michael Oatley and his wife, Karen; daughters and sonsin-law Leatrice Oatley and Tom Clarke, Gina and Jerome Bradshaw, and Mandy and Taylor Smith; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

William V. Polleys III


BillPolleys, a lifelong Narragansett Bay sailor, died on Dec. 3, 2021, in Scottsdale, Arizona. His enthusiasm for sailing and skiing was second only to his love for his wife, Nancy, their daughters, Mary, Laurel, and Catherine, and granddaughters, Kim, Lola, and Alyssa.

He was born in Providence, R.I. He learned to sail Beetle Cats at the Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston. His longtime CCA clamming pal, Charlie Chapin, defines him as “a Narragansett waterman.”

Bill graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1954. He joined the Navy and trained as a fighter pilot and later became a flight instructor.

In 1959 he accepted an executive position with Texas Instruments. His colleagues soon found out that he could fix things and was good with people, so they suffered his humor (“she probably works with facts; I have never been limited by that”).

Wherever Bill’s work took him, he found a boat — a 44-foot sloop in Hong Kong, a houseboat in Tennessee, an inflatable in Australia where he sailed with the locals as he did in London. Along the way, Bill raced to Halifax, headed the starting line operation for the Bermuda Race, and delivered a boat from Bermuda. As a member of the Barrington Yacht Club, he introduced Rhode Island to windsurfing in the 1970s. He enjoyed teaching windsurfing so much that he became an instructor and a windsurf-board dealer.

“Billy the Eagle” learned to ski at age 7, was on the Brown University ski team, and was a certified professional ski instructor. At Waterville Valley, he chaired the first freestyle-skiing program and then helped manage freestyle competitions across the country, including the FIS Mogul event at Deer Valley. “The Eagle” taught skiing with love and sympathy for learners at Park City and the Canyons for many years.

Back in Rhode Island after his retirement, Bill and Nancy cruised aboard their Tripp 40-foot sloop, Cherish Going to the dark side on their 48-foot Bayliner, Cherish, they voyaged up the St. Lawrence, down the Mississippi, through the Tombigbee and Lake Okeechobee waterways, and returned along the coast to Narragansett Bay.

In 2009, Bill founded the CCA Ski Gam, which he ran for several years. “I

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Robert “Bobby” J. Oatley William V. Polleys III

contributed to the success of the failure to increase the group” And he did. The Ski Gam brings together sailing friends from all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe, many of whom would not otherwise see each other in the off season or even for years. Skiing good snow leads to après ski stories in the Club Room, scotch from Scotland, and lots of love and fun. Vivian Harquail penned a limerick in Bill’s honor:

They call him GamMeister Bill

An instructor for us on the hill

With a tongue that is glib

And a bent to ad lib

He’s resigned, but he’s GamMeister still.

For CCA’s 2015 Ionian Sea Cruise, the Polleys chartered a 75-foot ketch with the Leesons, Olneys, and Sherbrookes. Bill loved the helm, joking with everyone aboard and at parties ashore. The cruise goody bag included Greek olives and a bottle of ouzo with the caution not to serve it in plastic drinkware (ouzo etches plastic!). Bill added, “My mother would be proud of me if she didn’t drink.”

Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005 and fended it off while skiing, sailing, teaching, and volunteering. He also enjoyed swimming in his later years, although getting into the water and back aboard became difficult. Over time, the disease slowed him, so he and Nancy moved to a retirement community in Arizona. There, “the Eagle” took up bocce. Of his fellow players, he said cheerily, “I am getting better, but so are they.” He also got a tricycle and even completed a hill climb. In true form, Bill donated his body to Parkinson’s disease research. He never gave up.

Robert Nicholas Post 1928–2021

Nicholas Post, 93, passed away from health complications due to a fall on October 28, 2021, surrounded by his children and many grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Jane, who died in October 2020.


Bob, also known as “Chief,” was born on March 9, 1928, in New York City to Ethel and Nick Post. He was an only child, and due to Ethel’s busy and successful career in the fashion industry, he was sent to Kent School in the second form (eighth grade). Bob flourished at Kent, eventually serving as senior prefect. From there, he went to Cornell University, where he received a degree in engineering, was a member of Alpha Delta Phi, and was the head of the cheerleading squad. He was a member of the 1949 Lightweight Crew Team that won the national championship. The nine crew team athletes remained lifelong friends and frequently gathered to row together as recently as 2019.

With their four kids and eventually their kids’ families, Bob and Jane pursued an active lifestyle that included lots of skiing and sailing. Bob served as the rear commodore of the Bay Head Yacht Club and commodore of the Mantoloking Yacht Club. Bob had a big impact on sailing at the Mantoloking Yacht Club, where he taught adult sailing and helped with local and national regattas. In recognition of these efforts, the trophy for the adult club sailing championship is named in his honor.

In 1991, Bob and Jane bought a Crealock 37 named Banjo and cruised up and down the east coast for the next 20 years, including several winters on Man-O-War Cay in the Bahamas. In 1993, his two sons and two sons-in-law entered the Marion Bermuda Race with Bob as skipper and won their class.

Once he became a member of the Cruising Club of America, Bob and Jane enjoyed many cruises with the

club, including memorable trips to Desolation Sound and Lake Huron’s North Channel. He always proudly flew the club’s burgee from the masthead. His son, Tom Post, is a member of the CCA’s Great Lakes Station.

Bob was an able sailor and an even better shipmate. He could tell a good tale with the best of them and always had an encouraging word, especially when the weather was challenging. He also loved to have fun along the way. Many memories are very vivid. We delivered John Brown’s Cherubini Schooner, Samantha, from Buzzard’s Bay to Stonington, Maine, one summer. During the voyage, John and Bob decided to add a little scotch to the soup they were cooking. From then on, we never had soup on any trip offshore without the addition of that very special ingredient.

Withheartfelt sorrow, we announce the tragic death of our beloved son, Seth Francis Saslo, after succumbing to injuries suffered from an unpredictable fall.

Seth passed at 32 with a promising future before him. He was a

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Robert Nicholas Post

multi-talented and much-loved young man.

He was born February 4, 1990. When he was a student at North Pocono High School, his honors project led to him to restore a Flying Scot that he’d been given, and his passion for sailing inspired him to initiate the North Pocono sailing club. He graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science. He earned his master’s degree in meteorology from U.C.L.A. in a record three years, also graduating summa cum laude. He garnered awards as a teaching assistant at Penn State University, where he was a Ph.D. candidate in meteorology and atmospheric science.

Beyond that, he was an extraordinary person. He loved music and played both guitar and drums extremely well, performing at one point with a local band, Ice 9. He earned his black belt at 14, loved restoring and repairing old muscle cars, and, though born and raised in the mountains of Pennsylvania, was an active sailor. He did his first day sailing at age 6 on Seabird, a Tartan 30. By his teens, he was an active volunteer with programs seeking to inspire disadvantaged people to experience the joys of seamanship. In 2005, he did both the Marion Bermuda and Annapolis to Newport races as meteorologist, bowman, and helmsman on the family’s Endeavour 51, Intrepid. At college, he sailed for the Cornell University varsity sailing team, helping it to advance to the Kennedy Cup. He was watch captain, in addition to other assignments, on board the family’s custom Cooksun 50, Brigand, in the 2011 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race, the 2012 Newport Bermuda races, and a 2015 Transatlantic race.

In the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, his much-respected advice as meteorologist led Brigand and several other participants to compete despite dire warnings from other sources. He studied his weather sources and whatever else meteorologists have up their

sleeves. On the morning of the start, he predicted that conditions would not be as severe as forecast and assured us he would monitor it down the course with the option that we would turn around should adverse conditions develop. As it turned out, the low-pressure system was less intense than predicted, enabling Brigand to enjoy an outstanding (and fast) ride to the Onion Patch. After crossing the finish line in pitch black, an Old Jack Tar and the young captain of the watch shared the honor and fellowship of maneuvering the vessel through the south channel and on to the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC), while the rest of the crew sipped Bermuda rum and perhaps caught some much-needed sleep.

In 2016, he participated at the Storm Trysail Club’s Safety at Sea course as bow coach. Seth was much revered for his camaraderie and tenacity, something that was infectious with everyone he met. CCA members who have sailed with Seth looked forward to his forecasts and remember his quiet confidence and sense of humor in all weathers. He was proud to have been elected to CCA membership in November 2016.

When he wasn’t racing, he loved the long summer cruises on Intrepid and was particularly fond of cruising in Maine and points east. He had a 420, a Flying Dutchman, and an Islands 12 in his collection and frequently went

sailing on a lark on any given day when he was off for the summer. Quick with a smile, he was equally quick to lend a hand to help anyone. In death, he was an organ donor, and it was announced that the lives of two individuals would be saved by his donation.

Close friend and fellow CCA member Dave Dickerson offered this thought: “The next time we gam, let us raise our glass to celebrate the life of this talented young sailor, as well as the lives of all those sailors listed in this Final Voyage.” And in the words of Sir Francis Drake, may their spirits “disturb us ... to dare more boldly ... to venture on wider seas.”

Seth’s family and friends wish him fair winds and following seas.

Edmund Charles Tarbell II


Born in Boston on July 11, 1926, to Marjorie N. Badger Tarbell and Edmund A. Tarbell, Edmund always enjoyed being on the water. He spent his early childhood in New Hampshire surrounded by water on both Belle Island in Portsmouth Harbor and in the Great Island town of New Castle. Before World War II, his father organized races out of the Great Island Yacht Club for all sailors in the Piscataqua River region. Edmund did well with his O-Boat, winning many of the races.

When World War II started, Portsmouth Harbor was protected by mines and dropped submarine netting. Edmund knew the officer in charge of harbor defenses and was given permission to sail outside the harbor over the net and avoiding the mined areas.

After graduating from Governor Dummer Academy, Edmund served in the U.S. Navy briefly at the end of World War II. He was a graduate of the University New Hampshire, where he was a member of the Theta Chi

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Seth F. Saslo

fraternity. He was one of 100 recruited by the CIA where he served in Germany. Later he worked as a stockbroker at Townsend and Dabney in Boston and then for a family business, Badger Farms Creamery. Finally, he founded a real estate firm, Edmund Tarbell Realtors.

Edmund first raced offshore out of Marblehead on Geluba, a 42-foot Sparkman and Stephens design built in 1939 (now Silverlining hailing from Ogunquit, Maine). In 1957, Newbold Smith, an old summer classmate from Phillips Exeter Academy who knew of Edmund’s offshore sailing experience, asked him to crew on the Galliard in the Marblehead to Halifax Race. Ordered to “pack lightly,” Edmund wore his German lederhosen. “I’ve never been so cold,” he later recalled. But they won.

Edmund and his brother Daniel bought the Kestrel, a Herreshoff Fisher’s Island 41, Hull no. 1061, from the Cabot family of Pulpit Harbor, North Haven, Maine, in 1960. She entered the 1962 Monhegan Island Race and came in dead last. With a new mast and rig installed over the winter by Ted Hood, Kestrel won the race the next year!

A teenaged crew member at the time, Henry Fuller (Bras d’Or Post), remembers sailing on Kestrel and on Dickie, an International 210 that Edmund raced in York Harbor, Maine, and Marblehead, Massachusetts. His recollection was that Edmund only once raised his voice.

“He was both an evenhanded and eventempered skipper,” he said. Fuller’s image of Edmund is forever fixed: Sitting leeward in the cockpit, one hand on the tiller, one foot snugged behind the other, always in view of the luff of the genoa, making sure that Kestrel was well-trimmed and “making money.” Rarely a swearword was uttered. Once, after passing a sailing legend in a classic yacht race, he was overheard offering comic relief: “Eat crow!”

Years later, Fuller was operating a boatyard in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, when a customer suggested he join the CCA. Edmund wrote a seconding letter. For the CCA’s 90th anniversary, Edmund and his great friend, Sarah “Tinker” Newick, joined Fuller on White Mist in the Bras d’ Or for the celebrations. At the age of 85, Edmund was the secondoldest participant (Harry Anderson, age 90, was the oldest). They both recalled Kestrel meeting Ed Greeff’s Puffin (Anderson crewing) mid-ocean during the 1966 Bermuda Race.

Kestrel was well loved by the family: they raced her locally and regionally, cruised, and later, attended classic yacht regattas. On Edmund’s mantlepiece in New Castle, New Hampshire, are silver trophies, plates, and awards from Dorothy R., Edmund’s John Aldendesigned O-Boat. named for a cousin; Dickie, an International 210; Kestrel; and Breakaway, a J-36.

In the twilight of his sailing years, he took pride in being able to sail his 12½ at least once during each month of the year. He was part of a group of gentlemen who would meet on Sundays during the off-season (fall through winter and spring) to row around the harbor in their nice rowboats. Friends would welcome him as crew in their sailboats for an enjoyable race, lending time at the wheel or tactical advice. Maine Maritime Academy invited Edmund to skipper his last boat, Breakaway, a J-36 sloop he’d gifted to the school, in the Retired Skipper’s Race. He later said he was thrilled to have won against “retired admirals and legendary yachtsmen!”

Edmund truly enjoyed being on the water, anywhere, on any boat. He cherished his associations with members of the Cruising Club of America and the greater yachting community. He won a lot of silver and lost a few, though not without a good effort. He also helped and mentored many.

His portrait, “Edmund on Peanut,” painted by his grandfather and namesake, hangs at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

On May 5, 2022, Edmund led a group of gentlemen in song at a blacktie dinner. He died three days later, on May 8, in Rye, New Hampshire. He is buried in the New Hampshire Veteran’s Cemetery. The inscription on his stone reads, “Cheers.”

Briggs Lovell Tobin 1961–2022

Briggs Tobin (NYS), 60, passed away on April 7, 2022, after a sudden illness.

Briggs was 7 when he received his first boat, Alvin, a small, red rowboat built by his father, the late Wallace “Toby” Emmett Tobin (BOS/GMP). Briggs and Alvin spent many hours exploring Goose Lane Pond in Guilford, Connecticut.

Briggs’ childhood was immersed in a life of sailing, given Toby’s participation in the America’s Cup challenges aboard Columbia in 1958 and Intrepid in 1967. Father and son had countless adventures aboard Toby’s boats. They cruised around Saint Pierre, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia on Elizabeth, a Little Harbor 38. They also raced, from frostbiting at Essex Yacht Club to the 1999 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race, a class victory with the 46-foot McCurdy & Rhodes custom sloop Frøya and their last race together. Briggs inherited Frøya upon Toby’s passing and cared for the boat with meticulous attention during his remaining 15 years.

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Edmund Charles Tarbell II

Briggs attended Phillips Academy Andover (1979) and Yale University (1983), where he served as captain of the sailing team (1982-1983). Over summers, Briggs proved himself a capable instructor and leader for the youth sailing programs at Sachem’s Head Yacht Club (his childhood juniors’ program), Nantucket Yacht Club, and Yale Corinthian Yacht Club. After graduating from Emory Law School (1989), Briggs stayed on in Atlanta, where he assembled a hardy crew for weekly races on Lake Lanier aboard Blue Moon, his J/24. His crew lacked experience, but Briggs felt friendship, attitude, and good conversation were the most important qualities on a boat.

As his father had done with him, Briggs shared his love of sailing and the sea with his family. In 2002, Briggs and his wife, Jessica Barnett Tobin, moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, and joined Noroton Yacht Club in Darien. Briggs nurtured a love of sailing in his daughter, Lane Tobin (ESS), and son, Sam Tobin, a current member of the Yale sailing team. Throughout their junior sailing years, Briggs volunteered to teach and offered the use of Frøya for Junior Safety-at-Sea. In 2016, Briggs and several Noroton Yacht Club fathers participated with their children in the Newport Bermuda Race aboard Frøya. Although a broken boom prevented completion of the race, it failed to

dampen an enthusiastic arrival and adventure in Bermuda.

In August 2013, Briggs and his family set off on a nine-month bluewater cruise aboard Frøya, from the northern islands of Maine to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean as far south as Dominica. Briggs had transatlantic passage experience from Denmark to New York in 1981 aboard Loon, a 45-foot S&S yawl, many Newport Bermuda races, and charters throughout the Caribbean, but the rest of the family was green. As they approached the southeast Bahamas, the 1-year-old engine coupler broke. To reach the closest Yanmar dealer in Nassau, the team had to navigate 200 miles of the treacherous Bahamian reef network strictly under sail, a 21-day journey. In all, they covered 5,000 nautical miles, and this trip was certainly a high point for Briggs and his family. Sam completed his eighth-grade studies while on board, Lane took on new family leadership as watch captain, and Jessica teamed perfectly with Briggs to make this trip a reality. Briggs confirmed he had a family that would happily follow him anywhere.

In 2014, with gentle nudging from Butch Ulmer (NYS) and Rich DuMoulin (NYS), Briggs joined the Storm Trysail Club. Briggs reconnected with Frøya’s former owner, William Gunther (ESS) for the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race. Bill brought his longtime team, including Frank Bohlen (ESS), Alan Burnett (ESS), and John Brooks (ESS). Briggs felt incredibly lucky to be sailing with what he called the “lions of the sailing world.” Together the team found success in several races: Vineyard Race, Block Island Race Week, and Off Soundings. Briggs learned so much from these gentlemen and cherished their time together.

Briggs had been looking forward to the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race. He would have been immensely proud of Frøya’s success as his daughter, Lane, stepped into his role to co-captain with Bill Gunther and together led their

team to a second in class, seventh in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, and a Corinthian Trophy for best all-amateur crew.

Briggs is remembered by his many friends and family for his integrity, intellectual curiosity, and insatiable enthusiasm for life. Fair winds and following seas.

Briggs leaves behind his wife and children, his mother, Deborah Tobin, and his sisters, Ashley Tobin, Bliss Tobin, and their families.

David slipped his moorings at his home in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, on February 8, 2022, ending a three-year battle with cancer.

David grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and spent each summer on the Vineyard, where his father taught him and his siblings how to sail, igniting a lifelong passion for sailing and yacht racing. Over the years, David won virtually every trophy offered by the Edgartown Yacht Club. A life spent around and on the water defined him.

He graduated from St. Paul’s School in 1959 and Yale University in 1963, and he received his master’s degree in German literature from Stanford University in 1965.

David was talented in languages, becoming proficient in Spanish, German, and Russian. He began his career teaching German and Russian at Boston University and later at the Choate School. But his true calling came after successfully racing the family’s boats named Orpheus

He was hired to work for Ted Hood at Hood Sails and soon was brought on board various winning yachts as an astute sail trimmer, navigator, and tactician. Hard put to turn down a customer’s request to join the crew, he was famously listed as part of the crew on five boats in one Bermuda race! He

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went on to race in 16 other Bermuda races, as well as several transatlantic passages, most notably on Ondine and Congere

He became president of Ratsey and Lapthorn, where the intense racing continued, leading to his participation in two America’s Cup campaigns in the 12-meter class: as tactician and skipper on Clipper in 1980 and as CEO on Courageous in 1987. He became a founding member of the Courageous Sailing program in Boston, which teaches underprivileged children the skills of sailing and boat handling as a foundation for life.

His happiest days were spent in the company of other sailors, who always enjoyed his enthusiastic retelling of close calls and dramatic decisions on the racecourse, no matter how many times they had heard them before.

I first met David and brother Dick sailing dinghies at Yale. As a result of being posted to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, I became a crew on the various family yachts, all named Orpheus. One of my fondest memories was a New York Yacht Club (NYYC) Spring Regatta, in which we competed with the chartered Wainscott Wind. We took a lot of silver away from that event and rejoiced that, other than papa Alec, no one was over the age of 23! We even made the cover of Yachting magazine with the Mercer 44. Between

NYYC annual cruises and various Long Island Sound events in the ’60’s and ’70s, I became close to the entire Vietor clan and shall always remember the warmth and the fun at their Martha’s Vineyard compound.

David is survived by his wife, Nancy Blair Vietor, whom he met on a portstarboard collision 71 years ago; his sons, Andreas, Oliver, and Ed Vietor; his daughters, Susan Vietor Daughtry and Christina Vietor Osterman; his stepchildren, Marshall, Highet, Prida, and Ethan Trask; and 16 grandchildren.

Charles Herschel Weiner


CharlesH. Weiner, who passed away on March 28, 2021, was a devoted husband to Lynn and a loving father to Anthony, John, and Matthew. His last words were that his only regret was to “not live long enough to take care of your mother.”

Charlie was honest, kind, compassionate, creative and hardworking. His work took him all over the world. He was a sailor, celestial navigator, aircraft pilot, boatbuilder, and highly successful international industrialist.

He and his family found the joy of Shelter Island in 1971 while cruising on their 35-foot Hinckley pilot, Aquarius. He and Lynn have been members of the Shelter Island Yacht Club since 1974. He was a member of the NYYC (1984) and the CCA (2000). He was a familiar

face to many racers as a CCA volunteer on the Newport Bermuda Race, manning the registration desk before the start.

Both Charlie and Lynn took their responsibilities to society seriously, volunteering their time for several organizations that help promote schooling, literacy, health, and the preservation of the environment. He was a tireless benefactor to local sailing organizations and involved in introducing sailing to underserved urban children through programs like as the Stamford Sailing Foundation’s Young Mariners Academy in Stamford, Connecticut.

His family says Charlie is now at rest in a favorite place, aboard the old ELSAM, the Nova Scotia fisherman he and his brothers, Mel and Paul, built and named after their parents, Elizabeth and Samuel Weiner.

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David Butler Vietor Charles Herschel Weiner

Guidelines for Final Voyages


• When you hear of a member’s death, please notify the relevant station’s rear commodore, historian, and the Final Voyages coordinator/editor as soon as possible. Please do so if in any doubt that the information has not been communicated. You may be the first to notify someone. All appreciate expediency in such times

• The RC will coordinate with Final Voyages and advise for an Eight Bells announcement to be sent to notify the CCA — flag officers, webmaster, Voyages, and others beyond the deceased member’s station.

• The RC and historian will coordinate with Final Voyages to arrange for a member familiar with the deceased to write a Final Voyage essay and obtain a photo for due publication in the next edition of Voyages, Final Voyages section.


• Write-ups should be a minimum of 250 and a maximum of 700 words.


• The obituary should primarily honor the member’s involvement in the CCA. It should describe the member’s life and achievements in sailing, and his or her contributions to the sport and to the CCA.

• Please include the persons full formal name, including prefixes, suffixes and middle name, the year of birth and date of death.

• Include BRIEF professional, military, and educational credentials, if desired. Obituaries written for newspapers or general-interest media are usually not appropriate for Final Voyages, but may be posted on the CCA website in the interim.

• Sailing-related anecdotes are most welcome.

• Include the Final Voyage’s author(s) in the footnote at the end.


• Type single-spaced text in a Word file and italicize yacht names and book titles. Use only one space between sentences, provide full names rather than abbreviations, and do not use prolonged capitalization.

• All text should be in one font style and free of formatting (other than italics for boat names and book titles).

• Photos should be sent separately from the text file. Please do not embed photos in the Word file.

• Please email the Word file and photos as email attachments.


• High-resolution, uncropped, digital images are best, sent in JPEG, or TIFF, format.

• When possible, a photo of the person out sailing or on a boat as a part of the sailing tribute is a nice to have.

• We can fix photos that are under- or over-exposed and do some color-correcting. Out-of-focus shots are a problem, and rarely can we salvage low-resolution digital images.

• For additional details about photos, see Guidelines for Photos.

DEADLINE - October 31, 2023

• Obituaries received after that date will be held for the next annual issue of Voyages.

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Send Final Voyages Material to David Curtin, Editor: or:

Guidelines for Photos


• Photos submitted must be your own or you must obtain the photographer’s permission and provide appropriate author credit. We are happy to give credit for photos published.


• High-resolution digital images (ideally set at 300 DPI or PPI, dots or pixels per inch) are essential.

• TIFF and JPEG are the best digital formats. Please do not send other types of files without asking us first.

• We can fix photos that are a little under- or over-exposed; do some color-correcting; and, rarely, improve low-resolution digital photos, but we cannot salvage out-of-focus images.

• If you have only prints, slides, or negatives (for historical articles or obituaries), please have good digital copies made locally, then send us copies of the digital files.


• When shooting digital photos, set your camera’s “Image Quality” and “Picture Size” to “High” or “Best.” Anything less, and the photos will likely be too small to use in print.

• Please DO NOT send laser, inkjet, or desktop photo-printing software printouts; photocopies; newspaper or magazine pages; or any low-resolution digital images. Photos become unusable when scanned or digitally resampled.

• To be sure your photo will print clearly, check the pixels by running your mouse over the image file in your browser, or right-click on the file itself and select “Properties” to see pixel counts. The relationship between digital image pixels and maximum print size is as follows: 600 x 900 pixels = 2 x 3 inches; 1200 x 1800 pixels = 4 x 6 inches; 2400 x 3000 pixels = 8 x 10 inches. The more pixels a photo has, the better the clarity will be when printed.

• Please note that some online photo storage services automatically compress photos to a smaller file size. Read the fine print before using these services. Ideally you should save your best photo files on a drive that keeps them at their full, original resolution.


• We prefer photos NOT to have been edited, cropped, or color-corrected beforehand.

• If you have edited the image at all, you should save it at the highest quality. Better still, save it as a TIFF, a lossless file setting.

• If you decide you must edit the shot, please go easy, particularly on saturation and contrast. What looks good on screen can often look terrible in print.


• Please limit the number of photos submitted to your 10 or 12 best images per article—easy to say, hard to do.

• Please include a separate CAPTION LIST as a Word file, with BRIEF information for each image (location, people’s names, and boat names). Label each caption and image with a number or title that we can tie back to your article. Captions can easily be edited and refined once the article layout and design have been prepared, and it is difficult to know which photos fit your story most effectively without having a caption list upfront.

• Send photo files as email attachments, or use a reputable web-based service such as Dropbox ( or WeTransfer ( These are currently among the best electronic methods for sending many digital photos and other files at once.

• If you submit photos by email, send a message describing how many emails with attachments will follow, then forward the image files in small batches. We will confirm all images received.

• If an Apple user, please be certain files are JPEGs or TIFFs that are Windows- and PC-compatible.

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Guidelines for Articles


• From 1,000 to 3,500 words. Any article in excess of 3,500 words will be returned to the author to be edited.


• Word document with no embedded formatting or photos. Please send photos separately.

• Type single-spaced text, italicize yacht names and book titles, and use only one space between sentences.

• If you use word-processing software other than Word, please “Save As” or “Export” to convert your file into Word.

• Include dates and miles covered on your trip.

• Send files as email attachments, or upload via Dropbox or WeTransfer along with your photos (see Guidelines for Photos - Photo Submission for further information).


• For authors new to Voyages, we can supply a comprehensive Voyages Style Guide. It will help us immeasurably if you look at this prior to submitting your article.


• Please include a short sailing-oriented biographical sketch and good digital photo of the author, the boat’s home port, and the author’s CCA station.

• Please note the station for each CCA member named in your article in the following format: Name (BOS/GMP).

• Include a brief description of your boat and, if possible, any other boat(s) mentioned in your article, including home port, designer, builder, model, and year launched.


• Please include a digital image or photocopy of a map or nautical chart showing the places you visited, with your route clearly marked.

DEADLINE FOR 2024 ISSUE - October 16, 2023

• Manuscripts submitted after the deadline will be held for the following year.

Send Articles and Photos to: Voyages Editors - Ami and Bob Green or:

169 issue 65  2023

Last Words from the Editors

Thisissue of Voyages reminds us of opening a box of good chocolates. There’s a feeling of anticipation, not knowing what the choices will be, and the thrill of finding something new. Some will reach for favorite, familiar names like Novak, Fletcher, Massey-Leonard, or de Jong. But scattered throughout this imaginary box are articles from other writers who will whet your appetite. New flavors from new members like John Youngblood and Peter Gibbons-Neff remind us that CCA is a vibrant, growing club.

In between the layers is a surprise. It arrived in the form of a photo essay from CCA’s official photographer, Dan Nerney, whose devotion to CCA is legendary. Seventeen articles between these pages provide seventeen choices of varying richness that will thrill your senses. These are sailors seeking adventure. And isn’t that what a voyage represents?

Nothing happens without the support of our team of professionals who help us edit and design the layouts. Virginia M. Wright, proofreader, and editor, is the first person we turn to. Her immense database plays a large part in getting the written word right.

Claire MacMaster of Barefoot Art Graphic Design is our head designer and is critical in making the magazine print ready. It is her laser-like focus that maintains Voyages’ stellar reputation. Claire leads the team of professionals who make Voyages stand out.

Hillary Steinau of Camden Design Group 2 and artist Tara Law ✧ bring their unique styles to the articles. All the

designers use a symbol at the end of their pieces, allowing the reader to know who was responsible for the design. We hope our team realizes just how much we appreciate their work.

There are no fingerprints, but the mark that a group of volunteers left on us is indelible. Zdenka and Jack Griswold, former editors of Voyages, said “yes” to every call or email that asked a question. Their continued support, along with club members Amy Jordan, David Pratt, Doug and Dale Bruce, Max Fletcher, Lynnie Bruce, and a group of “anonymous” readers, make this volunteer job possible.

As editor of Final Voyages, David Curtin researched and secured the necessary information from each station historian that provided family members a chance to share the life of their loved ones one more time with their fellow station mates. Sadly, far too many friends have crossed the bar.

We said it last year, and we’ll repeat it: Voyages is all about you! Without your contributions, we would not have this cherished magazine to hold, read, and share with friends. We invite you to contribute to the 2024 edition of Voyages and join the remarkable writers who have left their mark on our hearts with their stories.

And for those wondering about the photo: this is what happens when you don’t have a recent photograph and return to a happy memory. We look forward to the next few months of R&R, sailing our Sabre Spirit 36, Eroica, and keeping the door open for the next great story!

voyages 170

Second Shots

Bonus images from the issue ...
An unwelcome visitor. 56 Too close for comfort.
The Beagle Channel looking eastward from
Rafting party on Aphrodite. 4 Dophins off the bow of Dog Star. 42 56
USCG helicopter on their reconnaissance flight. 66
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