NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Beefeater®Hour: It usually comes When the sun retreats to the West And the din goes still, and the wheels start to slow, And the day comes at last to rest. ~
The Beefeater Hour: It's more than a time. It's an island in the day. Where you leave the roar of the crowd behind And the clamor all ebbs away. ~
The Beefeater Hour: The world stops here. For this is the time and the place. To get off the world and just settle back, Till a smile can reclaim your face. ~
The talk should be whimsy, and banter, and play. This is no time to be sour. And Serious Subjects are left behind When you come to the Beefeater Hour. ~
The gin, to be sure, must be Beefeater Gin: The clean, clear taste of renewal. The refreshing, restoring, resplendent glow Of the gin that they call The Jewel. ~
Will you have a Martini? Then pour it forth From a pitcher that's lightly glossed By chilling it cold till you hale it out And it blooms with a silver frost. ~
The vermouth (just a touch!). Then the ice cubes come With the rattle of frozen dice. And now for the gin! Pour the Beefeater in! Watch it smoke as it meets the ice! ~
Or what about tonic? To make gin and tonic That nobody can surpass, Begin with the ice cubes smartly stacked Like a Stonehenge cased in glass. ~
Then pour in the Beefeater! Crown Jewel of England! Gin from the start endowed With clarity! Brilliance! A flawless gin! A masterful gin, and proud. ~
If you linger awhile with this singular gin From the precincts of London TowerWell, nobody said that the Beefeater Hour Has to last only an hour.
BEEFEATER®GIN. The Crown Jewel of England. IMPORTED FROM ENGLAND BY KOBRANO. NY 94 PROOF 100% GRAIN NEUTRAL SPIRITS ©1979. KOBRANO CORP
No. 15 FALL 1979 OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE WORLD SHIP TRUST PROJECT
CONTENTS 4 LETTERS 9 THE ELISSA: THE LONG SEA CAREER, Peter Stanford 12
THE PURCHASE OF A SHIP, Peter Throckmorton
THE SHIP SAVERS
THE DREAM, Michael Creamer
THE RESTORATION, Walter P. Rybka
GALVESTON WHEN ELISSA FIRST ARRIVED, Pamela Buckley
25 SIR FRANCIS DRAKE REVIVED 26 OPERATION DRAKE SAILS ON, Michael Wright 30 THE MEN WHO STOLE THE STARS, George F. Bass 36 AT SEA IN THE PRIDE OF BALTIMORE, Wm. Gilkerson 40 A MEMOIR OF CAPTAIN ARCHIE HORKA, Oswald L. Brett 44 THE NIANTIC: PARTICIPANT IN CREATING A NEW CALIFORNIA, James P. Delgado 46
THE NIANTIC OBSERVED, William A. Baker
47 SHIP NOTES: TRADE WINDS, Michael Gillen 49
THE EDNA E. LOCKWOOD RELAUNCHED. R.J. Holt
MOSHULU'S CAPT. McDONALD ON HIS 99th BIRTHDAY, Karen Love
54 MARINE ART: A RESEARCH PROJECT, Raymond D. White 58 BOOKS: THE BOOK LOCKER, Alfred T. Hill 66 CHRISTMAS IN THE FO'C'SLE, Fred K. Klebingat SEA HISTORY is the journal of the National Maritime Historical Society, an educational, tax-exempt membership organization devoted to furthering the understanding of our maritime heritage. Copyright Â© 1979 by the National Maritime -Historical Society. OFFICE: 2 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY 11201. MEMBERSHIP is invited and should be sent to rhe Brooklyn office: Sponsor, $1,000; Patron, $100; Fami ly, $15; Regular, $10; Student or Retired, $5. CONTRIBUTIONS may be made for any recognized project. Make out checks "NMHSShip Trust," indicating on the check the project to which you wish support to be directed. OFFICERS & TRUSTEES are Chairman: Admiral John M. Will, USN (ret.); President: Peter Stanford; Vice Presidents: Karl Kortum, John Thurman; Secretary: Alan G. Choate; Treasurer: F. Briggs Dalzell; Trustees: Frank 0. Braynard, Norman J. Brouwer, Robert Carl, Alan G. Choate, F. Briggs Dalzell, Harold D. Huycke, Barbara Johnson, James F. Kirk, Karl Kortum, Edward J. Pierson, Kenneth D. Reynard, Walter F. Schlech, Jr., Howard Slotnick,
Peter Stanford, John N. Thurman, Shannon Wall, Barclay H. Warburton lll, John M. Will, Charles Wittholz; President Emeritus: Alan D. Hutchinson .
EDITOR'S LOG Of Elissa's return to Galveston one may simply note: what loyalties she commanded-and commands! The story is one of everyone doing their part, and it has a happy ending (really a beginning) in the funding award made from the Maritime Heritage Fund adopted at the in. itiative of this Society and reported in these pages just over a ye\ir ago. Other ships we campaigned for to secure this fund did not receive any support-the Alvin Clark, in need of immediate emergency aid in Michigan; the Ernestina/Morrissey in the Cape Verde Islands; the Vicar of Bray, last surviving Gold Rush ship in the Falkland Islands. And not one of the three historic square riggers afloat under sail in the United States today-Regina Maris, Unicorn, Gaze/a Primeiro-received support, though their sailing keeps alive an utterly vital experience. There is a tendency for government funding to flow to those who make a project of procuring funding, rather than to those doing the real work in the field. Some projects that received support from the Maritime Heritage Fund smell more of grantsmanship than of salt or fresh water. Others, however desirable, do not have the element of emergency need for which this fund was conceived by this Society and adopted by the US Congress. Clearly the fault is in implementation. Let us work to correct that fault. The people of this Society must develop their views on these matters and gain support to press home those views. PS
ADVISORS: Chairman: Frank 0. Braynard; Oswald L. Brett, George Campbell, Frank G. G. Carr, Harry Dring, Joseph L. Farr, Timothy G. Foote, Richard Goold-Adams, Robert G. Herbert, Melvin H. Jackson, R. C. Jefferson, Irving M . John son , John Kemble, Clifford Lord , Conrad Milster, John Noble, Capt. David E . Perkins, USCG (ret.), Ralph L. Snow , John Stobart, Albert Swanson , Peter Throckmorton , Alan Villiers, Robert A. Weinstein , Alen York. SHIP TRUST COMMITTEE: International Chairman, Frank Carr; Chairman, Peter Stanford; George Bass; Karl Kortum; Richard Rath; Barclay H . Warburton, III; Senior Advisor, Irving M. Johnson. SEA HISTORY STAFF Editor, Peter Stanford; Managing Editor, Norma Stanford; Associate Editors, Norman J. Brouwer, Francis J. Duffy, Beth Haskell, Ray Heitzmann, Albert Swanson; Advertising Sales, Cynthia Goulder; Circulation, Jo Mei sner; Membership, Marie Lore.
COVER: The bark Elissa sets forth from Galveston, Texas in September 1886 in this powerful harbor scene by the renowned artist John Stobart. The painting is shown here through the generosity of the artist and the courtesy of Kennedy Galleries, New York.
LETTERS Sea Witch Is Challenged There are three kinds of sailing ships we should be building today, both to preserve our maritime heritage and to insure our maritime future. First, there are vessels such as the Dove and Pride of Baltimore, built of wood and unabashedly old-fashioned. These are floating museum pieces, making no pretense of being able to pay their own way. They are a delight to the eye and to the soul. Although such vessels are relatively small, with accordingly modest costs of construction, operation and maintenance, it is a struggle to raise the funds to build them and keep them sailing. Second, we should be building squarerigged vessels of traditional design but of modern materials. These are for use in sail training programs, so no consideration need be given to operation with an economically small crew. Indeed, to accomplish the objectives of a sail training program it is desirable to have a fairly complex rig with no mechanical aids. To keep operating budgets in reason it is equally desirable to have hulls of steel, fiberglass or ferrocement; synthetic cordage and sails, etc. Third, we should at least be planning, if not yet building, commercial sailing ships. The concept of such vessels appears more realistic with each OPEC price hike. The first two kinds of vessels need not earn their keep. The nature of their roles makes it practical to rely on various kinds of subsidy to build and sail them. No one expects a museum or a school to cover all its cost through admission fees or tuition. We recognize that such institutions serve a public purpose and subsidize their operations with government, foundation and corporate grants. A commercial sailing ship rnust be able to pay its own way. To do this, it must be able to carry cargo at a competitive ton/ mile cost. I submit that a replica of Sea Witch will not be able to do so. The type of sailing ship most likely to be economically viable is a bulk carrier, designed and built to take full advantage of today's materials and technology. I doubt that such vessels will have much in common with traditional sailing ships. There is only one way in which I can conceive of the Sea Witch project being viable. Just as the City of Baltimore undertook Pride as a goodwill and public relations program, the United States could underwrite the building and operation of an authentic American clipper. Given the limited funds available for maritime historic preservation and sail 4
training, I'm not sure that even this approach would be desirable. "Project Sea Witch" is a grand and romantic notion, but as presently conceived it is ill-advised. PETER VANADIA President, Young America Marine Education Society . .. And Defended Beyond the well researched practicabilities of Sea Witch financing herself, there is a good and true historical and archaeological justification for the reconstruction. How can someone condemn from the protective shade of the groves of academe this very large effort to reconstruct, with near absolute authenticity, a fine example of maritime history? The comparison of replicas to "Roman copies of Greek statues" is fatuous enough to be dismissed except perhaps that it casts unjustified doubt upon some commendable recent examples of serious replication. Such examples are extremely useful tools in historical research and reconstructive experimental archaeology. We might also learn much in the technology of handling large sailing cargo vessels through a Sea Witch experience. It is certainly cheaper and promises more in its own relevancy than the estimated required "tens of millions" in a Michiganbased experiment in commercial sail. THOMAS GILLMER Annapolis, Maryland
A wonderful reply to A. Steven Toby's letter (SH 14) criticizing the Sea Witch project exists in John Ewald's comments on the Ship Trust in SH 13 . Mr Ewald said: " . . . it is adventures like this (the recently renewed interest in commercial sailing vessels) that point out the need for preserving the knowledge, experience, and skills of our maritime past. We need not reinvent the sailing ship; instead today' s efforts and technology should be applied to improve upon the vast lessons already learned."
I hope that Mr. Toby will reread Melbourne Smith's article on Project Sea Witch and then reflect on the many object lessons the history of commercial sail
has to teach us. He might also reflect that universities have never had much to do with commercial sailing ships, and that if "tens of millions of dollars" had been required to develop the clipper ship (taking into account the devalued dollar), sail never would have paid for itself. C. E. ATWATER Annapolis, Maryland The "tens of millions" to be spent by computer types to re-invent the sailing ship will never produce the kind of organic sea-learning so beautifully reported by Stanley Gerr in his story about Tusitala, "How to Keep the Sea" (SH 14, p. 45). J. TARR
Melbourne Smith, Director of Project Sea Witch (SH 13), responds: "The idea Âˇ that modern technology should replace historical research and that all sail ships should compete on a ton/mile basis is about as reasonable as demanding that aquariums produce fish at the same cost as fish markets. "If Sea Witch creates her own market, Ifail to see how she will be a burden to anyone. The seas will still be open to those wanting 'tens of millions' for sail research in Michigan, and to those who pursue more immediately realistic goals like sailing the schooner John F. Leavitt with paying cargoes. "If Sea Witch is built, she will sail to reclaim our maritime heritage and offer training at sea while supporting herself. She need not compete with other ventures under sail. Her supporters feel, as I do, that she can only help such ventures, by drawing new attention and interest to them, as on a much smaller scale, Pride of Baltimore does in her sailing. " Further comment is welcome. If Sea Witch is challenged, she must meet that challenge, like her prototype, the clipper of 1845. -ED. Fraser Was the Boy to Make Her Go! I'm sure ED will receive a few letters of correction on his answer to J.M. Kennaday's letter in SH 14, in which he has Captain Land commanding the Sea Witch on her 97-day passage to California. Captain George Fraser commanded her from 1849 until 1855, covering all three of her California runs. Captain Land did not take command until her ninth and last voyage, when she left New York on April 5, 1855 and put into Rio with the body of Captain Fraser who had been murdered by his mate. Captain Land was then put in command to make the passage to Hong Kong, and was SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
presumably in command of her when she was wrecked twelve miles out of Havana, Cuba, with a cargo of coolies, on March 28, 1856. It is said the crew were saved, but I have never found any mention of how the coolies fared. GLENN BERGER Crofton, Maryland
ED did receive more than a few letters correcting his writing "Land" for "Fraser. " He saw this gaffe in print as magazines came off the press too late for change, and is glad to be so thoroughly corrected. -ED. From the Forum
On behalf of the members of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museums Forum I wish to thank you and congratulate you for "Chesapeake Heritage," the feature of SH 14. Of particular satisfaction to our group was your guide to the maritime museums on the Bay and its tributaries. It will help promote awareness of our member institutions. The Forum was established in 1975 to serve as a conduit for communication and cooperation among the various museums. Representatives have held informal meetings twice a year to disseminate information on their activities and to learn what others are doing in the areas of collecting, research, and exhibitions. The Forum has prevented duplication of effort and has encouraged the lending of objects between museums and the placement of certain artifacts in the most appropriate institution. As for SEA HISTORY, your authors, artists, editors, and designers all did a super job as usual in producing a firstrate magazine. JAMES W. CHEEVERS Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museums Forum The Hog Islander Remembered
Having sailed on Liberty Ships, three of them, during World War II, I wish to call on your readers to remember an earlier hero: the Hog Islander of World War I. Liberties are remembered by the nottoo-ancient mariners, but who remembers the riveted creations of Hog Island, Pennsylvania? My early seagoing, commencing in 1928, was dominated by this type of ship. The Carp/aka and Minnequa were Hog Islanders sailing under Moore McCormick's flag; the Exchange, and others under American Export's house flag. And there were more sailing under Black Diamond, and so on. The last I have heard about a Hog Islander was a tug captain on a tow in the SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Indian Ocean, who said he saw a Hog Islander, name unknown, at anchor in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1973. Perhaps she was on her way to the breakers yard. How we cussed them in both the pounding of head seas and in the heavy rolling of beam seas. They were harsh seaboats, but indestructible. CAPT. RUDY PATZERT Encinitas, California Horn Abeam, Sir!
Glass painting (working with stained and leaded glass) is an old family trade for me, here in Norway where I have retired
"'Horn Abeam, Sir," by Svein Lande
from a career as merchant marine officer. So I am pleased to send you this picture of my work to use as you want. I seek friends in the trade, and assignments. In
[ \ l llSlOR\
my very late fifties, I am free to travel and still eager to go anywhere where Beauty, Art and Trade are needed. SVEIN E. LANDE Haugesund 5500 Norway Clear A way Those Irish Pennants!
Stanley Gerr in "How to Keep the Sea" (SH 14:45) has Tusitala sailing for Farrell Lines. I guess he never looked aloft to see the "drunken sailor" house flag of the Argonaut S.S. company flying from the main truck! Tusita/a was owned en toto by James Farrell, Sr., who operated her under the Argonaut house flag as a subsidiary of US Steel, of which he was president. Her sailing ended early in the 1930s. Farrell Lines did not come into being until after World War II, taking over the old South African Line. Others matters: (I) I believe John Schumitsch errs in his letter terming USS Cassin Young (DD 793) a "Fletcher class destroyer." She was built 14 ' longer than Gearing (DD 710) and was referred to at Gibbs & Cox as a "710 extended class" destroyer. (2) Melbourne Smith's Sea Witch is a pleasant dream, but has thought been given to the Coast Guard's
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Every issue of SEA HISTORY takes you on a voyage of discovery in the wide world of our seafaring heritagea voyage full of challenge and reward.
Sign on today ... and help keep alive the ships, disciplines and arts of our voyaging pastand stay in touch with others who care. To: National Maritime Hi storical Society 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 1 want to help your work and receive your quarterly journal SEA HISTORY. Enclosed are my dues as: D $10 Regular D $100 Patron
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LETTERS many (and some impractical) "safety" requirements? Have the astronomical crew costs that would be caused by the unions' requirements been considered? (3) Could the Editor and his Managing Editor get together when writing on the same subject? The former in "A Long Time on the Chesapeake" says the Susquahannocks raided the early Bay settlements, while Norma in "St. Mary's Dove" says it was the Iroquois, coming down the Susquahannah River. ROBERT G. HERBERT, JR. East Northport, New York
There is a continuity with Farrell Lines in Tusitala 's sailing, which is felt in the company today; but she sailed for Argonaut. Mr. Herbert's other points are also well taken: (1) I believe WW II destroyers after Fletcher were called Fletcher's loosely, because of their large size and sweeping sheer; but not, perhaps, precisely; (2) for Sea Witch to graduate from dream to reality, certification and manning problems will have to be overcome-we should not assume they can't be; (3) While not one of the original five tribes of Iroquois, the Susquehannocks (also called Susquehannas or Connestogas) were overrun and absorbed by the Iroquois in the early 17th century. We
could have been clearer about this. In the cause of greater precision, we owe ROH heartfelt thanks, not for the first time or, we trust, the last! -ED. Like-Minded Enterprises Some like-minded souls and I are working to set up an apprentice shop where we'll build dinghies, a couple of San Francisco scow schooners (good for our shoal waters), and ultimately a couple of 64' brigantines for Gulf cruises, and a 150 ' bark for international voyaging. The overall program is to educate, unite the boating public of Texas, and create an adventure program that meets the standards of the Sail Training Association. There is a need to preserve the art and history of the maritime heritage we share. It puzzles me that the world's most affluent society has virtually no merchant marine, a small and aging navy (relative to that of the USSR), and that in general we ignore the controlling role of the sea. With the end of lavish use of energy, we shall again be harnessing the wind in seafaring. And we should be doing something more. Our cities have worsening problems with young people in crime and drugs. Adventure sailing in squarerigged vessels has for centuries built iron men who lean forward into life, as Irving I
Johnson has put 1t so well. Teamwork, service, participation are what make any organization work; with these things and a clearly charted course any voyage can be a joy. May God bless you and the Ship Trust for your gallant efforts in this field . Please count me in! PUTNAM B. MacDANIEL San Antonio, Texas These eloquently expressed objectives are being pursued in the Galveston Historical Foundation 's Elissa project-which looks to the bark being used in sail training, with small boat workshops, etc. (See lead articles, this SH.) We have urged that such efforts be combined and go forward cooperatively. -ED. One of the Great Ones He was one of the great ones. He spoke at our South Street Seaport Museum seminars and our Ship Lore meetings. He wrote for SEA HISTORY and the South Street Reporter. But no more. Archie Horka crossed the bar :ind took his final departure on the morning of May 28, 1979. ROBERT G . HERBERT, Jr. East Northport, New York Captain Horka is widely mourned, and sorely missed. See memorial article, this issue. -ED.
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'Drake Versus Ranger' by Wm.Gilkerson Oepicts the opening guns of the fir st evenly matched ship-to-ship engagement of the American Revolution . Capt. Jones can be seen just abaft the Ranger's mi zzen shrouds. A limited ed iti on of 200 collector's prints is offered for sale to benefit the work of the N.M .H.S. These fine reproductions were printed in five ink s on 100% lin en paper under the supervision of the artist. Each print is numbered, signed a nd color highlighted by the artist. Image size is I I "x I 7 ", price per copy is $48.
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SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Elissa in her salad days, with a shark tail nailed to the end of her jibboom. Painting by Oswald Brett, done on her hundredth anniversary in 1977.
ELISSA: The Long Sea Career By Peter Stanford
Launched in October 1877 from the yard of Alexander Hall & Co. in Aberdeen, Scotland, the 400-ton, 150' bark Elissa was built to the order of Henry F. Watt of Liverpool. She sailed on December 19 with a cargo of Welsh coal, which she delivered in Pernambuco (present-day Recife, Brazil) on January 24, 1878. So began her career of more than 90 years in seaborne trade. At first she traded mainly to east coast South American, US and Canadian ports, but soon reached out to India, Burma, and Australia, by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and the tough trade round Cape Horn to Chile. She earned her way carrying whatever cargo she could find in the ocean world in which regular steamship service was taking over the main trades. Her US ports of call included Boston, New York, Savannah, Pensacola, and Galveston-where she called twice, in 1883 and 1886. Both times she secured quick turnaround, a sign of a well managed ship with a good reputation in this era, when sailing ships often waited for months to get a cargo. SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Captain Watt, as part-owner, took command of her twice, once in 1885 for a few months between captains, and again for her last three years under English ownership. Watt was also part owner and occasional skipper of the slightly larger Elvira, launched five years after Elissa from Hall's yard . These small ships made their living on trades the steamers hadn't yet snapped up. The development of the highly efficient compound steam engine in the 1880s doomed these vessels, but they fought hard for a living on a declining market. An old seaman who died in 1965, aged 92* gives us an account of this kind of voyaging in the Elvira in the 1890s: "We left Hamburg with salt for Wilmington, North Carolina, and went to Savannah to load turpentine and resin for Monte Video, River Plate. Then we sailed 200 miles up the river to load wheat at Rosario for Queenstown (today's Cobh, *Mr. A . B. Harper, whose memories appeared in Vol. 3, No. 6oftheremarkablejourna1The South Spainer, published in Scarborough, England, 1963-66 by Captain G. V. Clark.
in Eire), from where we went to discharge at Poole. From there we went to Middlesborough to load rails and chairs for the railway at Pernambuco . . . Then on 260 miles down the coast and up the Real River (no tugs there so we had to kedge her twenty miles up the river) to a small island where we loaded sugar in bags for Philadelphia. We were only the second sailing ship to enter over the bar and up the river . .. We took the sugar to Philadelphia where we loaded barrels of petroleum for Galway. We had a rough Atlantic crossing and were on our beam ends at 11 one night as our Irish skipper (a fine chap and a good pal on the three trips I made in the Elvira, which was a clipper with stunsails set when the wind was aft in the Trades) carried on too long and she broached-to. My watch went down on their knees on the poop, Captain Lindsay told me afterwards. I went along the sloping deck and slid down to leeward into some water and let rip steadily (to save the yard) the fore sheet. She then came up more into the wind and righted herself. " 9
In 1897 the handsome bark, now twenty yews old, is sold to Norwegian owners and renamed Fjeld ("Mountain'1. This contemporary portrait shows, in fine detail, a ship still in her
prime, carrying her full rig and smartly kept with scrollwork round her bows and brightwork aft. Courtesy Norsk Sjofats museum, Oslo, Norway.
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The Elissa fared less well on her final voyage under the Red Duster of the British merchant service. In February 1897 she was towed into Ventry on the West Coast of Ireland by the steamer Valentia, in distress. The sea had got at her in winter North Atlantic gales, crumpling iron bulwarks, smashing boats, shearing away the steering wheel, the binnacles and compass, and smashing in companionway doors to destroy the very charts. The cost of repairs must have been heavy. Earlier she had put into Key West, short of provisions, a sign of poverty. Captain Watt, now 58, completed the voyage to deliver mahogony to Havre in France. Then he sold her, and the Elvira as well. She sailed another fourteen years for her new Norwegian owner, Bugge & Olsen, who kept her in full rig and glory. Bought by Carl Johansson of Sweden shortly before World War I, she was cut down to a barkentine in 1918, and an engine was installed. From then on her story is one of progressive modifications in service as a local trader in Scandinavian waters and then, from 1960 on, in the Mediterranean under Greek owners. There at last, in 1961, historians caught up with the stout old vessel, serving as motorship with no vestige of the sail she had been conceived to travel under, engaged in murky local trades, but still w surviving, still keeping the sea. In 1918, under Swedish ownership since 1911 and now renamed Gustaf, she is hauled and an engine is put into her. She still carries her tall rig, but now as a barkentine with a big gaff mainsail replacing squaresails on the mainmast, to save manpower. Courtesy Sjofartsmuseet, Gotherburg, Sweden.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
ELISSA: THE LONG SEA CAREER
In the 1920s she sailed under a further reduced rig, with topgallants removed, a smaller mainsail, and mizzen converted to a trysail to keep her balanced with nothing set above the topsails on the foremast. Courtesy Lars Gronstrand Collection.
Jn 1930 she comes under Finnish ownership and is further cut down to a simple schooner rig, with no squaresails, and light poles replacing her original fitted topmasts. In 1936 she will get a new engine, with deckhouse and bridge installed aft and her sailing ship bow snubbed off Courtesy A/ands Sjofarts Museum, Mariehamn, Finland.
'' As the motorship Christophoros, she is discovered by the National Society's Curator-atLarge Peter Throckmorton in Piraeus, Greece, in 1961. Many antiquated hulls kept going in the Greek coastal trades, but more economical Russian-built motorships are rapidly replacing these old ships, which go for scrap-a fate narrowly avoided by Elissa. Photo: Peter Throckmorton.
By 1969, renamed Achaios, her original foreand mizzenmasts have been removed (the mizzen re-stepped as a new mainmast, for cargo-handling) and a bulwark has been added to the forecastle head. Now in the smuggling trade, she will undergo one more name change, to Pioneer, before Throckmorton, working with the National Society's Vice President Karl Kortum, buys her for restoration as a sail training vessel. Photo: Peter Throckmorton.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
ELISSA: The Purchase of a Ship By Peter Throckmorton
In the spring of 1961 I was delivering a motor launch to Beirut from Athens. We stopped in the commercial port to see the agent, and there saw the motor ship Christophoros. It was pretty clear that she was an old sailing ship. I made friends with the skipper and he showed me the saloon, all mahogany, nicely kept up and the bronze hanging lamp still swinging. The plate on the ventilator reading ALEXANDER HALL ABERDEEN No.294-1877 was polished nicely, and I took note of it. The gangs of chainplates which had been necessary when she was a sailing ship were still there, and there were many of them, which made it seem likely that she had been a square rigged ship . But I had no time, even to take a picture, since I was fully engaged with the piece of junk I was responsible for. Then, that fall, I sailed a schooner into Piraeus. Lo, alongside, when we came in, was Christophoros. The skipper remembered me from Rhodes, and showed us all over the ship. I wrote her builders, Alexander Hall, still in business in Aberdeen, and learned that Christophoros had been built as the bark Elissa, but I drew a complete blank on other inquiries about the vessel. While going about Greece, I occasionally pointed her out to friends, who inevitably said, "Oh, that's interesting .. . " Then, in 1968 or so, I met Peter Stanford, president of the year-old South Street Seaport Museum, on the phone, through a friend. I told him about the Elissa and said she should be saved. He suggested I write Waldo Johnston at the older, better-established Mystic Seaport, which I did. But we found no-one interested in acquiring the Christophoros ex-Elissa. I had more or less given up on Stanford and the Elissa, when a letter came out of the blue, asking about Elissa. Dated March 4, 1969, it was from Karl Kortum of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. It began: "Peter Stan/ord has passed along your letter of Feb. 1 on the Christophoros. This vessel has engaged a great deal of our attention over the past couple of years. Peter suggests that because of our mutual interest in seeing her somehow come to a good end that you might be willing to act as a local unpaid agent for us. We would feel very privileged if you 12
Throckmorton in the Falkland Islands, 1976.
would consent to do this. We are most respectful of your marine archaeological experience in that part of the world. " I had already tried to buy the Christophoros. In 1967, I had heard she was for sale. A friend of mine, Malcolm Douglas, wanted to fix up a contract for loading upepe wood pilings for the Persian Gulf out of Nigeria. Christophoros might do for that. Mac Douglas and I boarded her at Perama. I thought the old skipper, my friend, was still the skipper-owner, but not so. A guy turned up and threw us both the hell off the ship. She had been sold. To whom? A bunch of people I had never heard of-a rather nasty bunch. When I made inquiries about buying her, I was told that there was no possibility there would be a sale. In January 1969 I heard that Elissa was in trouble. The Italian government had complained to the Greeks and Yugoslavs about her activities. The change of name and appearance in 1967 had been played out and she was known again in her new configuration. The owners were shopping for a new ship . I wrote to Peter Stanford to say that Elissa matters were coming to a head and something should be done. Stanford informed Kortum, who, in turn, wrote to me. I agreed to serve as agent for the
ship's acquisition, but there was no buyer. Before I left, that summer of 1969, after launching my schooner Stormie Seas, I called Stratos Yerodemos, the schooner's agent, and asked him to keep a good eye on Achaios-E/issa. On the turnaround, sometime in July, I stopped by his office and found that Stratos had acquired some interesting information. Elissa was not insured. She was undoubtedly smuggling. He thought that she had probably been hauled out in Yugoslavia. My next news of the ship was indirect. Through smuggling connections I heard fantastic stories about a Greek boat working out of Vada, Yugoslavia, running bonded American cigarettes into Italy. (When I had first come to the Med in 1947, as an ignorant and romantic punk, I had spent a couple of months in a launch in the smuggling trade. It was all very glamouous then with swashbuckling ex-service types running fast boats. The original bunch had been crowded out, however, by a tougher breed, who eliminated the early competition by betraying them to the police or, sometimes, simply bumping them off at sea.) Then we lost Elissa. All that winter, I watched for her to appear in the stream, and she never did. This was an interesting dilemma: I did not want to telegraph my intentions by making too many inquiries about the ship. Yet I wanted to be certain that Elissa did not get scrapped out from under us. Stratos was not very helpful, because he saw Achaios as a motorship, not as the fabled bark Elissa. All that winter, whenever I asked about Elissa, Stratos kept trying to sell me other ships, cheaper, newer, with better cargo gear, and I kept finding excuses to persuade him that Elissa was the ship I wanted -without coming off as a nut. Elissa had disappeared, and I could.not find her without risking the whole possibility of purchasing her. Except for having a good look everytime I passed scrap yard row, and occasional calls to Stratos, Elissa was forgotten in the business of preparing Stormie Seas for her archaeological work. We started the season on March 25, 1970. It was a long summer, and I was worried SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Ship Savers about Elissa, but there was nothing that could be done: Kortum was steaming the paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall back from England (see SH 8), and I was fully occupied on various expeditions. I returned to Piraeus in October. On the first day back, I headed for Perama. Elissa was anchored alongside a Tipaldos island ship that was waiting to be scrapped. The sight I had dreaded all these years! The ship had been doing badly. The owners had her up for sale for $23,000. I told Stratos (I hadn't told him I was acting for an American museum, although I consider him a reliable man) to go back and offer $11,000. To tell them that he had a buyer who seemed to want her for a sand grab operation. (They go out and, with a clamshell bucket, fill up with sand from just offshore). It is the last-ditch job for an old unseaworthy ship here. Even lower than smuggling. Things began to move. Kortum authorized an option to buy based on $5,000 given by William Roth of San Francisco. I lined up the rest of the bid to purchase by pledging house and schooner. It is a lucky coincidence that Barnaby Blatch, in the Citibank in New York, is a Citibank Piraeus alumnus and a sailing buff and friend of Peter Stanford. Other friends helped, mainly by seeing the historic value of the ship. On October 9, I got a scare. Rowing by the ship I saw her name had been changed to Pioneer-new owners! But she was still for sale, we found. And her price came down in constant haggling. Then came the big day at the Citibank. I appeared at 8 AM and signed papers, and papers, and papers. Putting on my best James Bond look I drew $11,000 in drachmas. It wouldn't all fit in a briefcase, we used a paper bag for the overflow, and carted the currency down the street to Katopodis' seedy office, where all eleven owners counted every single note, one after the other. At the end, we had an ouzo, and one of the owners pulled out an old newspaper with a picture of Elissa under sail. "By the way," he asked, "did you know that she used to be a sailing ship?"
.t Mr. Throckmorton, Curator-at-Large of the National Society, ran a small shipping business and conducted marine archaeological expeditions in the Mediterranean in the 1960s through the mid-70s. Since then he has led the Society's archaeological work in the Falkland Islands. Currently he is refitting his schooner Stormie Seas in Spain. He is the author of Shipwrecks and Archaeology and other books. SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Elissa had been bought. She was held by Peter Throckmorton on money borrowed from the bank, on the security of the ship herself and on the security of his schooner Stormie Seas. The San Francisco Maritime Museum's payment constituted an option to buy the vessel from Throckmorton, who was not in a position to hold her forever on borrowed money. Karl Kortum, director of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, had launched a train of inquiries that led him to Elissa in the early 1960s, working with Jack Capell of Portland, Oregon. Capell, inspired by the success of the Museum's big Cape Horn Square rigger Balclutha in San Francisco, wished to save a square rigger for Portland. He got in touch with Kortum in 1963, and then, through the historian and ship surveyor Captain Harold Huycke, got to Lars Gronstrand, ship scholar in Abo, Finland. In 1964 Gronstrand reported that a fine little vessel, originally the British bark Elissa, had worked as a motorship in the Baltic, but had been sold to Greece a few years before. Capell found he couldn't get support for his project in Portland. Kortum developed some interest for the Elissa as part of a harbor scheme in Monterey, but when that lost steam, he proposed her, in 1967, for restoration as an active sailing ship taking young people to sea in San Francisco. Simultaneously, Kortum received an inquiry from the Chamber of Commerce in Galveston, asking if he could help develop an historic ship as part of a proposed maritime museum, which "would be a great asset to this, the oldest port city in the Gulf of Mexico west of New Orleans." Kortum was heavily engaged. He was leading efforts in 1967 to save other ships vanishing from the face of the earth. He was too late with the famous British Isles, scrapped Argentina. He was working on the Falls of Clyde (ultimately saved in Honolulu), the Great Britain (later returned to England), the Wavertree (which was saved for New York's South Street), the Champigny (scrapped in 1977, having begun her long voyage home to San Francisco), and the bark he'd sailed in Kaiulani, (whose hon.es were returned to San Francisco in 1978). He was heavily involved in the battle to establish the South Street Museum, newly formed that year under the chairmanship of Jakob Isbrandtsen with your editor as president. But Kortum hammered away at the Elissa, pointing to her uniqueness. "In the increasing competition with steamers that occurred after the turn of the cen-
Karl Kortum, 1978. Photo J. Kortum
tury, small square riggers disappeared much sooner than large vessels like our Balclutha," he pointed out in a memo of July 3, 1968. He continued: "It is plain that we have found in the Christophoros (ex-Gustaf, ex-Fjeld, exElissa) one of the very special objects on the face of the earth-a small, almost tiny iron bark on aristocratic lines. And no wonder. Alexander Hall & Sons who launched her at Aberdeen, Scotland in 1877 had, 27 years before, built the first British clipper ship. This was the celebrated Stornaway, and when this vessel took the water in 1850 she was the 175th vessel built by the firm . " Greek connections worked slowly, and it was not until November 1967 that Kortum received word from R.H. Hansen, the American Bureau of Shipping Surveyor in Piraeus, who had been enlisted by Frank Braynard in New York: "I wish to inform you that I managed to get aboard the MY Christophoros .... " Discreet inquiries were launched, and numerous efforts made to raise the reported asking price of $30,000. Not until January 1969 did he hear from me of Throckmorton's work: "The man in Piraeus who is interested in your bark is Peter Throckmorton . . . he reports the swinging lamp in the after cabin ... still hangs." From that point on Throckmorton and Kortum worked as partners to save the ship. Immediately after the Elissa was bought, Kortum was in touch with Cory Corwith Cramer, Jr., then forming up the Sea Education Association (which sails the schooner Westward out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts today), urging him to take on Elissa for his purposes. Throckmorton came to the US in January 1971 and visited San Francisco, seeking ways to get the ship's return and restoration financed, while boning up on restoration details in the Museum's extensive files. Irving Johnson visited. Kortum notes in a letter: 13
ELISSA: THE SHIP SAVERS
"He met Peter Throckmorton coming over the foretop of the Balclutha (old sailors trying out their reflexes) and after a longshoreman's lunch at the Eagle Cafe Irving came back here and really pitched Corwith Cramer in Chicago. "You should have heard Johnson ... 'Don't underestimate the impact of the words "Cape Horn" these days . . . they ring like a cathedral bell.'" But few would come to worship . Throckmorton returned to his affairs in Greece. In June, the Museum voted to complete purchase on the ship, acting on the recommendation of Scott Newhall, Chairman of the Ship Committee. This was a brave act, since in the same period the major development scheme worked up with the Wrather Corporation, which would have supported the bark's full restoration, went in abeyance. As the year ended, the Museum was forced to re-study its ability to pick up its option and buy the ship . Douglass Fonda of Nantucket came to New York and expressed interest in her to your editor; he went on to San Francisco and asked for a first refusal on the vessel if San Francisco did not proceed with her. And as 1972 opened other interests were pursued. None of this relieved Throckmorton's exposed position carrying the ship in
Greece, or provided funds for the Museum to proceed with her. Then on May 2, 1972, Kortum sent a cable to Throckmorton: SOME SWEET DAY I HOPE YOU HA VE THE PLEASURE OF WORKING DIRECTLY AND DAILY FOR A BOARD OF TRUSTEES INSTEAD OF IN CHEERFUL ONE MAN ISOLATION ON AN AEGEAN PENINSULA . .. YOUR IMAGINED NEMESIS ALMOST SINGLEHANDEDLY HAS BEEN PUTTING TOGETHER THE 'VICTORIA ALTERNATIVE' HE HAS ENCOURAGED DA YID GROOS BRITISH COLUMBIA MEMBER OF CANADIAN PARLIAMENT TO VISIT YOU AT PIRAEUS BELIEVE ARRIVING THIS WEEKEND . . .
Astonishingly, the Victoria Alternative worked! David Groos, Canadian MP, read about the Elissa in a story Kortum had cooked up with the sympathetic mayor of Victoria, BC, which appeared in the local paper April 15. Groos immediately flew to Greece, had the Elissa hauled and surveyed, and bought her from Throckmorton . She was saved from the financial shoals. "In the end, Balclutha had spent $9,000 of her earnings to rescue her smaller sister, and Bill Roth put in $5,000," noted Kortum. "This $14,000 saved the Elissa. " In this long, risky campaign the San
Francisco interest established two other things. Kortum had written to the Jamaica Corporation in Houston, on July 27, 1965: "It is quite possible that we could help you with your project to establish a square rigger on the Galveston waterfront, but we would not be interested in ... a replica project or an historic craft partially built over to represent another kind of historic craft." This insistence on the real thing kept interest in Elissa alive, and ultimately brought her to Galveston. The other governing idea that traveled with the ship was that she would be sailed, "making use of that ancient phenomenon which makes anybody with any exposure to seamanship of any sort at any point of his life always proud of it," as Kortum noted in a memorandum of July 3, 1968. Tragically, the saving of the ship and her use in sail training was not to be done by David Groos. Kortum went to Victoria to perfect plans with him; Throckmorton was retained to oversee restoration in Greece. A serious illness of Mr. Groos supervened, ending in his untimely death in his middle years. His partners and his estate had no use for the Elissa. Once again she was in limbo, as Mr. Groos's executors put her up for sale. PS
Three new tugs to join the Bay-Houston family. Our newest additions to the Bay-Houston fleet , the Barbara H. Neuhaus, Laura Haden and Mark K., will attest to the 100-year tradition of Bay-Houston to provide the best towing service available on the Gulf Coast. 14
HARBOR AND COASTWISE TOWING Houston • Galveston • Corpus Christi • Freeport • Texas City
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Dream: A Tall Ship for Galveston By Michael Creamer In the end, when all other arrangements had f alien through, Elissa was connected up with her eventual saviors, the Galveston Historical Foundation, through an unforseen link. The vital fire ran down a long fuse laid almost accidentally by Michael Creamer, former Manager of the Model Shop at South Street Seaport Museum in New York, who brought the concept of the "real thing", and ultimately the Elissa, to Galveston. I was working in New York one year, helping my sister put a loft together in South Street Seaport's historic district. One day somebody asked me if I would step in and run the South Street Seaport Museum model shop. I had cut down trees in the Northwest, sailed boats a little on the Chesapeake, and learned to make musical instruments in Providence, Rhode Island. So I said: "Well, I've got an old banjo that I need to fix up, and Mr. Stanford, if you'll actually let me use that shop in the back, maybe even make a model or two on my own, I'll accept the slender wages that you're offering, and run your shop for you ." On his agreement with these terms, I became a Museum employee. Always in the back of my mind was the feeling that I was still in school and learning from the different people that I'd met. At South Street I re-learned this: "Measure twice and cut once." The Museum was not cutting its deal with the old buildings it had picked up; a cap was put on this question for me when the State took over the block of buildings my sister's loft was in. I thought. a lot about Galveston, where I had visited a couple of times-and where they were doing something effective about their historic buildings. On my second visit, I met John Paul Gaido, who was in the tourist trade, with a hotel and restaurant. He liked tourism as a business: no smokestacks, and you get to talk to people and exchange ideas. Somehow, John Paul found out, in the first two minutes of our conversation, that I aspired to be a boat carpenter (not model boats). And he said: "Well, can we build a replica of Jean LaFitte's pirate ship, stir up some interest on this old waterfront?" He'd seen how artificial history could be marketed for a profit, and he knew in his bones that Galveston had some real history worth exploring and developing. LaFitte was definitely an interesting man. You could find some kind of boat and go fix it up to go around SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
the harbor and shoot off cannons to impress the girls. But, I was working in a museum, where they had some real ships that needed work, and I wanted to do that real work first. " !didn't know there were any real ones left," said John Paul. When I got back to South Street I saw Norman Brouwer, Historian of the Museum and Trustee of the National Society, who had assembled a worldwide list of existing historic square riggers (published in SEA HISTORY 3). Elissa was on that list, which I sent to John Paul. She didn't impress me much, she didn't even look like a square rigger, in her motorship incarnation . And there were ships like Champigny, or Ville de Mu/house with yards still crossed, waiting to be saved . . (Both have since been lost-ED.) Of course they were ten times Elissa's size, and had no connection with Galveston. Peter Brink , director of the Galveston Historical Foundation, had told us that connection was a must. He had fended off proposals to bring in a couple of big yachts with square yards that lacked that connection. Other matters in life picked me up, and thoughts of a square rigger for Galveston died down in my mind ... when Norman, with characteristic thoroughness, sent me the Âˇannoun.cement that Elissa was for sale. Arrangements to take her to British Columbia had fallen through. With the announcement was a "Lloyd's List of Movements and Casualties"-an interesting document. It showed that she had twice been to Galveston in her worldwide peregrinations; she was part of the port's heritage! She was real, she was available, and when I was invited to come to Galveston, to help generate interest in the Elissa, I accepted. I made a quick trip to Greece Michael Creamer, center, discusses the fit of Elissa's restored bow, with Nikos Pagamenos (left) and Walter Rybka, Restoration Director.
with Richard Fewtrell, supervisor of the Wavertree restoration in South Street. We made plans and drawings. We thought of sailing her home. Would anyone help? Contributions, mostly in-kind gifts from people in shipping, began to come in. When Armco Steel gave us 120 tons of steel plate and shapes, we were off like the first blasts from a 'squall! . But aside from the money and materials that came our way, the most impressive thing was the number of people that showed up for Elissa Committee meetings, to go out and do missionary work for the ship. Right in the midst of these hectic preparations for Elissa's refit-we still thought we were going to sail back on her, as some kind of cut-down barkentine with an engine, maybe-there came one of the scariest days of my life. A Greek voice on the telephone: the news that Elissa had sunk at her moorings! But we found out she was all right-just lying over on her side with a couple of little gasoline pumps going. A rivet had popped . I resolved that it was Elissa calling for help. She needed us to get over there, stop fooling around with hifalutin ideas about sailing ships, just keep her out of the scrapyard and get her back home. Which we did, as Walter Rybka, who became Restoration Director, will tell you and as maybe the world now knows. Walter used to sail Pioneer, a working nineteenth-century iron schooner, for South Street. He is right about attitude preservation. So is Karl Kortum right, the real old thing must be preserved . The attitude it takes to sail a ship, the reverence for common sense that once pervaded our society, is not learned from watching television. You have to try to cross the streeteven the water streets of the world, which we had to learn how to cross some time w back, to get where we are.
The Restoration By Walter P. Rybka
Walter Rybka, Elissa restoration director, measures plate thickness as bad metal is trimmed away prior to replating. Rybka had been skipper of the iron schooner Pioneer for South Street Seaport. Elissa's last name before restoration was Pioneer. His mission was to get this ship similarly fit for seafaring. Volunteer crew included Doug Manger, who took this photo and others in this report.
This account is writfen on short notice and at the last minute-aren't they all?-in the midst of a very busy time following Elissa's arrival in Galveston. I'm afraid I've left the editor with quite a mess to sort out, but trust it will give insight into what made this project happen the way it has-at least my part in it. I cannot claim to speak for all the individuals involved. This account is only my view from aboard the ship. Restoration begins with defining what is to be accomplished, then checking the ideal against the reality of what is physically or financially possible. The reasons for preserving ships have been eloquently laid out by others in these pages. I agree with them all-but wish to start with the perspectives we brought to the Elissa. Philosophy
A sailing ship underway represents a degree of harmony with its environment and unity of purpose rarely achieved by Western man. Historically it is difficult to calculate the impact ships have had on the development of civilizations; the history of seafaring is the history of man's endeavors to discover, explore, exploit and to some extent destroy his planet. A ship represents a great focus of effort for excellence in design . A large part of the aesthetic pleasure of viewing a ship comes from knowing that the whole unit is built to a particular purpose and will be tested by the great strain of an angry 16
ocean. A ship looks all the more beautiful because it must be so strong. The elements of excellence of design for strength, working efficiency, economic construction and visual beauty are all combined to a degree found in few other works of man. A sailing ship is a unique combination of sculptural elements. There are the solid and curving forms of the hull; the angular sculpture of line and space in rig; and the dynamic sculpture of sails drawing and the hull's making passage through the sea. Conveying all this to the public is no small task. What impression are we to convey? Is it awe for the age of the artifact, nostalgia for the great deeds associated with it? Or are we to try and show how the ship looked to those who sailed in her, to give that vision of strength and beauty? The very word "shipshape" is part of our general vocabulary to signify order and fitness . For many scholars the original material is all that counts and their knowledge and vision permit them to reconstruct the whole from a few fragments. Yet for the layman, which gives a truer picture: the authentic remains in an advanced state of decay or a ship that is truly in as good shape as when she was working? Which would be more recognizable to the seamen reincarnated on her decks?
''That the ship was originally very well built granted her longevity, not immortality. " I submit that there are two kinds of ships, the living and the dead. The living are all those that still put to sea for whatever purpose, or are kept ready to do so (it is hard enough to be ready for sea if you have to go there tomorrow and I have never seen a ship that was not intending a voyage in the immediate future in anything approaching a "ready" condition). The dead are those ships arrested at a point in time that may be recent or may be centuries ago. There is perhaps a third category, the limbo of ships afloat that do not put to sea and are kept in various states of maintenance or stages of decay, depending on which end of the spectrum they are moored to. If you opt for a live ship the first thing to understand is that change, in the form of renewals, is inevitable. Your body renews its cells every few years, or as damages occur, and if a ship is around long enough, all of its fabric will sooner or later be renewed. This is particularly so
in the case of wooden vessels which generally need rebuilding every 30 years or so. Wooden ships that had long careers went through this process many times. The USS Constitution and the HMS Victory have been rebuilt numerous times and today contain only a small fraction of their original timber. Yet, who can say they are no longer the same ship? Iron or steel ships last longer, but no ship lasts forever. That the ship was originally very well built granted her longvity, not immortality. When the two get confused, the results are invariably disappointing. The problems are entirely different if you don't want to keep your ship alive and thus changing. If what is important is not the life of the ship but stopping her as a representative of a certain period in history, change is to be kept to a minimum: a simple goal but a complex problem. The obvious solution for the hair of the saint or bits of the true cross is the airtight glass case, maintained at constant temperature and preferably in the dark. For ships that were entombed for centuries such as the Viking ships and the Vasa, the glass case becomes a specifically designed building and the skills to be maintained are not those of the carpenter and smith but of the museum technician skilled in the mixing of exotic plastic potions. Keep the artifact in its natural environment and the only way to avoid rapid decay is to be constantly applying sacrificial coatings of paint, varnish, tar or whatever. The slightest chink in the armor will most assuredly be found out and deterioration will advance another step. It is extremely hard work to keep something dead but not decaying. Usually the best th'it can be done is to slow the ageing process down to the point where it is no longer perceptible to the present generation. This only hands the next generation a truly fragile and delicate mess. The first generation of ship-savers will be passing on in a few more years and they should be proud and happy of what they have accomplished as good stewards of our culture and a portion of what is best in us. I belong to the second generation that is inheriting your ships and if by the time my grandchildren are old enough to complain about something, we still want to have some ships to teach them with, I submit that some more thinking is in order. My "living ship" theory initiated from a desire to simplify problems to workable solutions. SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
I: LISSA The Work Begins From the beginning, Elissa had been viewed as a living ship project-Karl Kortum, the great first-generation ship saver, had envisioned her sailing in San Francis-Âˇ co Bay, during the period he kept her alive with Peter Throckmorton, ten years before we set to work on her. This initial approach was reinforced by two compelling facts: first , that there is a lot of ocean between Greece and Texas, and second, that there was precious little of the original ship left. Elissa bore the hallmarks of a quality square-rigger, but through replacement and modification over the decades, her structure had become a patchwork quilt. Once the goal of an operational ship had been decided, the context for decisions was simple and clear. But what to renew was on thing; how to renew it or what to replace it with was something else entirely. In July 1977, an Elissa restoration crew headed by myself and Michael Creamer (both formerly of South Street Seaport Museum), began work aboard Elissa in Piraeus harbor. The other members of the crew were volunteers, some from Texas, some from New York, all who had paid their own way over and worked for room and board and $150 per month. We started out with four volunteers and they stayed varying lengths of time from one month to the duration. In the year and a half we worked in Greece 22 people worked as volunteers. We could not have gotten the ship where she is without their contribution. The high hopes and extreme innocence in which the Greek campaign began encountered some rude shocks. Athens and Piraeus were noisy, crowded and suffered incredible air pollution from congested traffic (it took a half hour to drive the six miles to work every morning). The harbor is a foetid mix of urine, solid wastes, bunker and old lube oil, folded into a sludge of dead fish, jettisoned paint, various indescribables, with a certain amount of salt water (we did not go in swimming during lunch hour). This stygian ooze had to be traversed constantly by dinghy to reach the Elissa, a hundred-odd yards offshore. The dinghy was so slimy she earned the name Sea Turd. The work was occasionally dangerous, frequently hard and invariably filthy. The first step was removal of tons of rust, rotten planking and assorted junk that had to be lightered ashore in small boats and dragged up the beach. The reverse was true for getting supplies aboard. The ship's cargo-handling gear needed a com-
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Nikos Pagamenos and his ship. Widely known and respected, he handled yard dealings for Elissa.
plete overhaul before anything heavy could be removed. The fine paneling in the officer's quarters under the poop had to be completely disassembled to permit shell plate renewals in the stern. The fo'csl was set up as a shop. On the good side, the food was consistently fresh and the wine excellent and cheap. The midday sun was blisteringly hot, but the late afternoon light on the clouds and rocky hills gave a soft warmth and a crystalline clarity at the same time. I've never seen anything like it elsewhere. We were fortunate in having a good house available in Piraeus. It was Peter Throckmorton's base of operations for years, and we came in as he was moving out. An old building, the rooms were grouped around a courtyard garden and reached by a tunnel from the steep street. The most amazing aspect of the project
was how smoothly the house ran and how well everyone got along. This is not to imply that tensions and minor quarrels were not present, but on the whole the house was a harmonious one. Considering that we had a group of people who were previously strangers to each other and perhaps to communal living, spending 24 hours a day in company at a job that was a disappointment after initial expectations, it could easily have been a formula for disaster. Yet, with only a few exceptions, we are all still happy to see each other. There were delays waiting for the arrival of our materials and delays getting them through customs. And still more delays arranging a contract for the haulout and repairs. It was assumed all along the waterfront that we could afford any price. Since we were interested in a cen17
Pagamenos and Rybka plot out replacement of the curved outer plating under the stern.
tury-old sailing ship in a harbor full of motorships that could be repaired cheaper, it was also assumed that we were idiots. While a good case could be made for the latter assumption, the former was definitely not true. We hired a local contractor, Nikos Pagomenos, who had worked with Throckmorton, to be our front man and do all the shouting and arm-waving essential to negotiations. Eventually, we hammered out a contract for steel repairs with the yard of G. Koroneos in Perama. Elissa Is Hauled Out Elissa was launched in OL:tober of 1877. One hundred years later on October 6, 1977, she was hauled out to begin the process of h;eping her alive for the next hundred years. Marine railways are rare in Greece; small freighters are hauled out on great wooden sleds pulled over hardwood logs . To overcome the tremendous friction , the ways are greased with boiling animal fat. The congealed fat eventually finds its way onto everthing in the yard . This system goes back to ancient times. Although today, wire rope tackles and electric winches have replaced ox teams, it takes nearly a full day to haul a ship out. Elissa had not been hauled for more than two years. After rough scraping, it took another three weeks with pneumatic chippers to clean and scale her bottom. To update earlier surveys thousands of ultrasonic readings were taken of the hull plating. When the full extent of the needed' renewal was known, some difficult decisions had to be faced. One alternative was to perform only those repairs that would get her to hold together long enough to reach Galveston and then take it from there. This was a rejected on the grounds that the ship's present deplorable condition was the result of many years of such thinking. And the ship was expected to float over seven thousand miles of ocean whose tranquility could not be guaranteed . Tailoring the job to the cash 18
in hand seemed a good way to lose her. We decided that we were there to make good the strength of the ship, to get a sound bottom now and not later. The scarey part was the spectre of running out of funds with the ship still missing enough of itself to float, and then watching her go for scrap because we set our sights too high . We were breaking new ground in that this was the first time (to our knowledge) that such extensive rebuilding had been done on a rivetted iron ship of this size. The one case I know of where an old iron vessel was made fit to sail again is the much smaller schooner Pioneer, which I had sailed for South Street Seaport Museum . In her case, Russell Grinnell, the restorer, got around the difficulty of joining welded steel to rivetted iron by replacing all of the iron shell, retaining only the vessel's frames. In our initial planning, based on bad surveys that confused identifiable remains with sound structure, we thought the ship needed little enough renewal that we could afford to rivet. We had spent many months reading old treatises on iron shipbuilding, watching plates being riveted in the bilge strake of an old tanker and acquiring the proper tools and seven tons of rivets. When we got to Greece and discovered the full extent of the job, it became immediately obvious that if this ship was going to stay alive, she would have to become a welded steel one, fast.
" ... the Greek workers perceived that Elissa was a very special lady and took great pride in doing their best on this particular job." Before we could proceed on this.modified course, we had to wade through a lot of mythology concerning wrought iron. On the one side were the enthusiasts who proclaimed its durability to be just short that of gold; on the other, dour old shipfitters who had unsuccessfully attempted welded repair of iron hulls and warned of the welds cracking. As is usually the case, both parties had some truth on their side. Wrought iron is a more durable material than mild steel. It is softer and more malleable due to its much lower carbon content and for this reason, its rate of oxidation is slower. Wrought iron also has many slag inclusions that run in striations, like the grain in wood. This is a result of the smelting process in which the bloom never became truly molten as is necessary in steelmaking. Rather a puddled mass was "wrought" into the
desired shape forcing slag layers inward instead of floating to the top to be skimmed off. These striations retard corrosion in that once a layer of ferrous material has oxidized away, the glasslike slag inclusion must be mechanically abraded before oxidation can take place. But this lack of homogeineity costs strength . Furthermore, for survey purposes, the insulative effect of this kind of inclusion renders ultrasonic caliper readings unreliable. The signal will travel through ferrous material until hitting a slag inclusion and then bounce back, so you may get many frightfully thin readings in a sound plate. What this means is you can count only on drillings, slow hard work to bore. Then all of those holes must be tapped for threaded plugs. if you are to keep the plates. Blob welding is not a recommended method for sealing them because you may induce concentrated shrinkage stress and get a hairline crack next to the hole. Further problems abound. The insulating effect of the striations can hinder penetration, except in a full-penetration edge-to-edge weld . For Elissa's rebuilding, feasibility was determined by having several sample welds of iron to steel tested to destruction in a laboratory in the presence of Lloyd's surveyor John Currie. In the case of the butt (edge-to-edge) weld the iron pulled like taffy and finally broke several inches from the weld. Thus we knew shell (hull plating) connections would work . Most of Elissa's plates are of an excellent grade of iron or the job would have been impossible. But in two places a individual plate had corroded to a far greater degree than adjoining plates. The plate had to be cut out even though it was of acceptable thickness in order to reach material that was good enough to weld to . We also found problems in the repair of local damages with small inserts. In Lloyd's rules for steel ships there are minimum sizes of plate permitted to avoid problems with too many welds close together-which can crack the plate through the stress of shrinkage. Our inLloyd's Surveyor Brian Pearson consults with Creamer and Rybka in Elissa' s hold.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
serts were well above minimum size but continually cracked. In one case this was definitely due to that day's clown act attempting to cover a sloppy fit and bridging lots of space by waving his electrode all about. But in two other cases the fit was good and the material welded easily enough, so the conclusion I came to was that iron can't stand the same tensile pull from weld shrinkage that steel can. The problem was solved by expanding the size of the cut till it crossed a rivetted seam into the next plate. The larger piece obviously distributed the stress better, but I think the key to it was that we were no longer in the one plate. Crossing seams permitted the plates to shift on their rivets just enough to accommodate the weld shrinkage. Wrought iron is not forgiving of poor measurement. If a plate doesn't fit just right, you can't expect to sew it together with a lot of welding. It won't stand it. Furthermore once a weld has cracked, it is virtually impossible to expect to grind it out and reweld the same spot. You have to cut larger and put in a bigger plate. The shipfitters hardly ever measured or used templates. They cut a plate a little oversize, hauled it up against the shell, trimmed the excess from the inside and then pulled it into the frames. Sounds safe and simple but it is wasteful, and worse, makes it difficult to cut the bevel for full-penetration welding. A Ship Again As the weeks wore on Elissa once again began looking more like a ship than a basket. Critical to her proper appearance was restoring her sailing-ship bow which
had been cut off to modernize her some years before. We had the original builder's offset table to work from and one of our crew produced excellent drawings from it, but after numerous repairs over the years, Elissa's shape had changed, and adjustments were needed. The profile was correct, but the transverse sections needed considerable fairing. It took three days of playing with the wooden template and climbing around neighboring shipyards to view it from a distance and from every possible angle, before we were satisfied and gave the go-ahead to build it. Although quick and dirty is the general rule of work in Perama, the Greek workers perceived that Elissa was a very special lady and took great pride in doing their best on this particular job. For all the frenzied shouting, a Greek shipyard has a rather nonchalant atmosphere of welders singing mournful love songs while they work amid the din of pneumatic tools and the chance sparks of nearly chafed-through welding cables. Occasionally a flaming plate is cut out and falls like a guillotine blade across gas hoses or welding cables. There is a constant, steady hiss of leaking gas from worn-out cutting torches that spit fire everywhere like toothless dragons. Over a seven-month period, fifty tons of steel went into renewals of shell plating and framing, representing about 25 percent of the light ship weight. Building the new bow was extremely successful and represents the most dramatic change in Elissa's appearance. A more fundamental change, absolutely invisible after comple-
Wasted frames, showing a patchwork of repairs, are made good as needed, and new plating is persuaded into place by Master Adonis and young Mikhailis.
Looking forward from the stern, replating continues amid the din of chipping out the bilges.
tion, was done in the bilges, inside the ship's bottom. Here four men spent nearly four months with pneumatic tools removing rust scale and all portions of the cement bilge lining that were cracked and had rust between the cement and the shell-a job not done in the century since the ship was built, covering over twothirds of the bottom. From keel to turn of bilge the shell and floors were sandblasted and heavily coated with bitumastic paint. The cement lining was repoured for free drainage, the edge joints being sealed with tar. After this was done, a new ceiling of hard pine was laid as the ship had originally. It is hoped that the bilge will not require much attention for the next 30 years. The exterior shell below the light load line was sandblasted and painted heavily as well (all coatings work was under the supervision of International Marine Coatings engineers and performed by Elissa volunteers to ensure thoroughness) . All of the structural work was carried out in accordance with Lloyd's Register's rules and scantling tables and to the satisfaction of their surveyors .
"Since the job was taking several times as long and costing several times as much as was initially estimated, it is not surprising that credibility was a problem. '' One of our few indisputably correct moves was to have our contract with the shipyard specify that all repairs must be made to the satisfaction of the Lloyd's surveyor. This saved us in countless disputes that could have gone ill for the ship. As Lloyds' surveyors went their rounds in the yards of Perama, they would frequently stop in unannounced just to see how we were getting on. The value of these scattered minutes was incalculable as there is nothing quite like an LR hardhat strolling about to dissuade attempted shortcuts. The entire Piraeus office of Lloyds became the "wise old uncle" to the project. Surveyors Brian Batten, John Currie and Bryan Pearson have our special thanks for their endless patience with our endless problems.
Launch and Stow for Sea On May 12, 1978, Elissa was launched on a sound bottom, the first stage of her restoration completed. The refit had turned into a major rebuilding and the project was by now financially prostrate. We had been seven months on the slipway rather than two and had come out with a good bottom only; decks, bulkheads and machinery installation were still to be started. Since the job was taking several times as long and costing several times as much as was initially estimated, it is not surprising that credibility was a problem . It seemed very unlikely that it would be possible to raise enough funds to carry on in Greece. The only way to continue was to have the ship towed to Galveston. While all this was going on in Greece, an extremely important event took place on the home front. Elissa was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the first object ever to be granted this status while outside the territorial limits of the United States. Achieving National Register status made the ship eligible for funding through the Interior Department's preservation programs. More immediately, the work of preparing Elissa for tow to the United States was made possible by a $15,000 grant from the National Trust in the summer of 1978. The support and the national recognition this signified went farther than the money in providing new encouragement to all concerned at this very critical time. Immediately after launching and mooring the ship, we set to work loading all our remaining materials aboard to avoid further warehouse rental. A total of 80 tons (70 tons having been put aboard before launching) were loaded as quickly as possible to minimize barge rental time. Other tasks ranging from installing taffrails and ladders to rebuilding the lifeboat and fitting pumps were also undertaken by our work force, down to two men in June and July, due to vacation schedules . In August the return of old crewmembers and an influx of fresh volunteers brought our strength up to nine and work was begun laying a temporary timber deck of 2 x I 0 bolted to the beams, seams caulked, roofing tar over all and a sheathing of Yz inch plywood over that, a task finished by mid-September. A Greek shipfitter, his assistant and a welder were hired for three weeks to renew F and G strakes between the frames 3 and 25 and a portion of the break of poop. These plates had not been renewed on slipway due to their height above the waterline,
but had to be made good before the ship could be taken to sea. The job that took the longest was restowing the 150 tons of steel, timber, wire rope, tools, piping, etc., that had been brought over as a build-a-bark kit and were now so many millstones around our necks. These materials would, of course, be needed and if not aboard we would have had to purchase ballast (although that would have been much easier to deal with). Weight had to be shifted to trim the ship 2' down by the stern with O" list, with the center of gravity as low as possible. Extraordinary care was taken to shore and wedge every object against lateral movement and against vertical pounding by lashings of Yz" wire to the bilge keelsons. Much steel banding was used and some tomming bars were welded in. This kept four men working until early October. The remainder of the crew busied themselves refastening tow bitts, reinforcing hawsepipes, putting a doubler on the collision bulkhead, closing off innumerable openings, and building a steel deckhouse to protect the generator, which had to remain operable to run emergency pumps and lighting. The biggest job, however, was building and fitting a jury rudder to add directional stability for the tow. The ship's own rudder is of insufficient area for towing purposes and was stowed in the bottom of the hold. The jury rudder weighed over a ton and had to be got under the stern 40 feet beyond reach of the ship's derricks, and fitted underwater. This required three men for a week . In October our work force shrunk to four. The rest of our crew had to get back to making a living in the real world. There was a rush to get things done before funds ran out or winter came but with fewer people things took longer, even working 8 AM to 6 PM, six days a week. October 21 was the last day the entire crew worked aboard. We were not completely finished, but the remaining tasks could all be done by one man without being guaranteed to kill himself. Michael Creamer remained in Greece as shipkeeper and owner's agent with a plea for a tow home "before both our beards touch the bottom." This was avoided through the efforts of Gus Rankin, who used to work with Throckmorton, to arrange towage at a favorable price. The Long Voyage After nine years at anchor, not a cable's length from the waiting shipbreaker's yards, Elissa departed Piraeus behind the Italian tug Mare Ionio on December 12, 1978. After encountering heavy weather SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
enroute she arrived safely in Gibraltar on December 20, and passed the winter in a very protected berth courtesy of the Royal Navy. Extracts from Michael Creamer's log of this passage were published in SEA HISTORY 13. All through the winter and spring, negotiations with one company after another dragged on for the tow across Atlantic, and money had to be borrowed to pay for it. Finally on June 25 Elissa departed Gibraltar under tow by the· Panamanian tug Polar 901. This large oceangoing tug, of the size sent out to fetch sick supertankers, was on its way back to Houston from the Persian Gulf. Elissa was absolutley dwarfed by this behemoth and the procession rather resembled a fat man with a toy poodle on a leash. The passage took over 26 days, and was reported to be as flat as a millpond in welcome contrast to the Mediterranean leg. The ship arrived July 20, and a celebration with flags and bands and crowds was held on August 4 with the unofficial theme of "the emperor's new clothes"-and we got away with it! A good time was had by all, nobody fell in the water, nobody threw fruit and all the speeches were short. Here is mine: Speech delivered at Elissa Celebration August 4, 1979 I have been asked to describe the ship a little to you. I can do this very precisely, but being told what cannot convey the how or why of it. Very little you will see aboard does not require work or change. So I must call upon you to see through rust and rot, the scars of battle with the elements, with time, with neglect. See her with a bright wood rail contrasted with her hull, telling you there's not a straight plate in her. See her with every piece of her gear ready to work, for there is nothing in her without some purpose to it. See her with her masts in, yards crossed and rigging set up, making a strong and delicate sculpture of line and space. This is one of the very special objects on the face of the earth . The men who built her never heard of planned obsolescence. Then you built something the best you knew how, and it was considered none too good! She represents an artistry that goes far beyond just making do, and in this she communicates a level of caring that somehow gives confidence to her people. The greatest recorder of the sea, Joseph Conrad, was master in a ship very much like this one, and best summed up his feelings about her in a single line: "It is good to be in a world in which she has her being." w SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
From Here Forward The cost of fully restoring Elissa and making her fit/or sea is estimated at $1 million. While this report was at the printer's, Elissa received a $500, 000 grant from the Interior Department's Maritime Heritage Fund, set up last year as result of a campaign organized and led by the National Maritime Historical Society. The Moody Foundation has made a grant of $250,000 to meet half the required matching sum of $500, 000, leaving $250, 000 still to be raised-a campaign in which the NMHS invites everyone to participate. A grant of $27, 500 has been made from the Maritime Heritage Fund through the National Trust for Historic Preservation for studies to be conducted with the US Coast Guard to make it practicable to get the ship to sea with young people in crew. Sea experience training has been gravely hampered by existing regulations which are simply not workable with large sailing ships. The US Coast Guard's own training bark Eagle does not meet these standards which are, however, applied to other vessels. The need for revised regulations is recognized by the Coast Guard and the results of these studies should be of great help to all who are concerned with sail training. For the Elissa, in Mr. Rybka 's words, it is to be hoped that through these studies a sea training program/or the Elissa will not founder "on the shoals of bureaucratic paperwork. "-ED.
Sea-worn but sound after her stormy tow through the Mediterranean, Elissa lies in the Royal Dockyard, Gibraltar, January 1979. Photo: Michael Creamer.
"It is good to be in a world in which she has her being. " "Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out after it. " The Elissa arrives in Galveston for a triumphal return, August 4.
' t ,
I '' h,
Galveston When Elissa First Arrived By Pamela Buckley
When the Elissa arrived in Galveston for the first time in 1883, the Galveston Daily News of December 27 marked the event with an item headed "Bananas for Sale: The British bark Elissa having just arrived from Tampico with a small cargo of choice bananas, the same will be sold at Labadie Wharf this day, in lots to suit the purchaser. Call early and secure a bargain." Labadie Wharf lay between 26th and 27th Streets, at the western end of the main port. The wharves had originally centered around Central Wharf, at the foot of 21st Street, but now the port and commercial area covered about twenty blocks along the northeast shore of Galveston Island, around the Strand, which was the first street on the waterfront, and Mechanic Street, both of which ran parallel to the mud flats along the shore. Brigs, schooners, steamers and ships of every description, many flying the US flag, but with British, Norwegian and German colors in evidence, filled the harbor. On the day after Christmas, 1883, there were 59 ships in port, and the records show cotton exports of $245,810 and the arrival of several hundred passengers. Elissa herself brought in one cabin
passenger, one R. W. Reed. Not reported as arriving at any of the hotels in town, he could have travelled on by rail or steamer to Houston, or perhaps spent the holiday time with friends in Galveston. Most passengers came in by coastwise steamer, in the thriving sea trade that linked Galveston to the East Coast. The Morgan Line and Mallory's Texas Line were the main carriers. At the time of Elissa's first visit, the Strand and Mechanic Street had just been paved with snowy white oyster shell, but since the Strand was sometimes under water at high tide, and fishing was a common pastime of clerks perched in rear second story windows during lunch breaks, the complaints of the citizenry about ruined boots and clothing due to muddy thoroughfares were destined to continue. Such scenes should not conjure up visions of a rough and ready frontier staging post, however. During this holiday period all manner of imported wares graced the tables, homes and persons of the city. The city's wealth was dependent on shipping to carry in the goods needed in the hinterland which the port served, and to carry out the cotton to the world's markets. The city directory for 1883
could report that in the year ending August 31, 1881, the port had exported 51.25% of the state's gross product of $69,900,000. During these same years approximately 95% of the imports for the state passed through Galveston, earning her the sobriquet "Queen City of the Gulf.'' The Queen City offered many distractions and recreations to her citizens, and a variety of elegant hotels, restaurants and bars catered to the many visitors and travellers who passed through the port. But while the citizens and more elite passengers passes their time at the Tremont House and elegant social events, ships' crews were more likely to be seen in the boarding houses and saloons which could also be found along the Strand and Mechanic Street. One of the most famous saloons was the Gem which did business in a frame building on pilings in the bay waters, at the foot of 21st Street. The Gem was started in the 40s by George C. Rains, a native Philadelphian who was never seen without a tall black stovepipe hat, "carried well back on his head," and he had shrewdly placed his saloon in the centre of activity for the port, amid cotton offices and stores, banking and commission houses and the congregating point for the stevedores and wharf workers. The colorful Mr. Rains carried on the business until the late 80s, when the growing competition from the beer trade cut the price of a glass of whisky to as low as 104:, at which point he retired in disgust. Hitchcock's Chandlery was also to be found on the same corner, and just a step away from Hitchcock's was the central marketplace, down the centre of 21st between the Strand and Mechanic Street. Here small craft bringing in fresh fruits and vegetables from the mainland sold their produce. This area also housed the main butchers and meat dealers, and there was "considerable rivalry" as to the supply of meat to vessels at anchor in the outer roadstead. Many of the butchers' boats, particularly the schooner Polaris and the sloop Nonpareil, also had water The Strand at 22nd Street, looking east, c. 1894. All photos, Rosenberg Library, Galveston.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
At left, the harbor in 1874, from a painting by W.A. Walker.
tanks, and undertook the tedious and often dangerous task of supplying water to the sailing vessels at anchor. One block east stood the three-story Hendley Building, constructed in Greek Revival style in 1858 by Joseph and William Hendley. The latter was the commander of the first ship to fly the Lone Star flag, The Star Republic, on her maiden visit to Galveston. This row of four adjoining red brick buildings, with a continuous facade, granite quoining and ground floor pillars, was a focal point of action during the Civil War. It was used as the headquarters of the 42nd Massachussetts Regiment in late 1862, and was a staging point for the victorious Confederate forces in the Battle of Galveston on New Year's Day 1863. It stands today as one of the oldest commercial building rows in the city, and is the home of the Galveston Historical Foundation . At the time of Elissa 's first visit, there were several ships in port bound for Liverpool, mostly loading the bales of cotton which were the life blood of the spinning and weaving mills in the Lancashire dales north of that city, and on January 26, 1884, when Elissa was cleared by C. H. Haynes & Co., with 710,344 pounds of cotton valued at $71,034, the Galveston Daily News gives us the following note: " . . . the barques Sheperton and Elissa, and the brig Alphonsine, all for Liverpool, with cotton, were towed over the bar and proceeded to sea from the outer roadstead at about the same time, and will have an opportunity of determining which is the faster craU on the trip over." We do not yet know which was the fastest craft, but we do know that ships such as Elissa made possible the growth of the "finest deepwater anchorage between New Orleans and the Rio Grande" into a dynamic, bustling port city. Elissa's resilience and ability to survive are apparent in her 90 years of trading in every corner of the world-and in the 12-year battle to save her. The resilience of Galveston against natural disaster and economic decline are obvious in the presence of the many historic buildings which have been, or are being restored today. The Strand remains as one of the largest concentrations of iron-fronted buildings in the country. Its twelve and one-half blocks, designated as a National Historical Landmark, have been called "the finest concentration of 19th-century structures I have ever seen" by Edmond Bacon, noted Philadelphia planner. The preservation and restoration of the Strand National Historic Landmark District is in the hands of the Galveston SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Historical Foundation, which administeres a revolving fund, set up in 1973 with grants of $200,000 and $15,000 from the Moody Foundation and Kempner Fund respectively. Within the framework of this fund, the Foundation buys options on buildings and holds them for resale to private investors, with deed restrictions which ensure speedy exterior restoration and suitable uses by the purchaser. On her return to Galveston after a lapse of generations, the Elissa rejoins a thriving community. The Strand is an area of retail and wholesale merchants, restaurants, offices , apartments and varied business services. The Elissa provides a focal point for the historic area -and once restored and tied up at her pier just off the Strand, she will contribute new meaning to a city which grew to greatness on seaborne trades. .t
Ms. Buckley, who worked on the Elissa in Greece before the vessel was acquired for Galveston, now works for the Galveston Historical Foundation.
Oyster sloops and market craft crowded the city waterfront, as in the 1890s view above, and big wooden square riggers, like those shown below in the 1880s, linked Galveston to worldwide markets.
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Drake's voyage was hailed as "The World Encompassed." The idea of the great globe, and man's freedom to act upon it, were now encompassed in the smaller globe of man's head.
On June 17, 1579, Drake's Golden Hind stands in behind Point Reyes, California, which he named Nova Albion for the white cliffs "which lie toward the sea. " Painting by Raymond Aker.
Sir Francis Drake Revived Four hundred years ago last June, Francis Drake put into a shallow cove behind Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco Bay. Drake had broken into the Pacific in his round-the-world voyage of 1577-80, a voyage his present-day biographer Derek Wilson has called "the first great English adventure." Drake's landing took place decades before the first English settlement back on the Atlantic Coast. From his oceanworn ship, he claimed the land for Queen Elizabeth. This was celebrated this year in museum exhibits, and in a re-enactment of the landing staged by the Drake Navigator's Guild, headed by the redoubtable Raymond Aker of Palo Alto, who has done much to uncover the truth of Drake's voyaging and the ships he sailed. It was on this voyage that Cape Horn was discovered-at a cost. Before following Magellan' s course through the Straits of Magellan, a course successfully followed by only two ships in the ensuing halfcentury, Drake landed and put to death a mutinous officer who had plotted to turn the ships back . Drake then called his people together and preached a sermon with these memorable lines: "I must have the gentleman to haul and draw with the mariner, and the mariner with the gentleman. What! Let us show ourselves all to be of a company .... " The little fleet then passed through the Straits, and walked out into a series of furious winter gales, in a "palpable darkness by the space of 56 days without SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
sun, moon or stars." Driven far off course, the little squadron found open raging ocean to the southward off Cape Horn, where it had been assumed there was land. In the small hours of September 30, 1578, the little Marigold, overwhelmed by the battering she'd received, went down with all hands. They heard the cries of her people aboard Drake's flagship Golden Hind, but could do nothing to help. She was the first casualty in what Alan Villiers was to call the War with Cape Horn.
Drake' s other consort, the Elizabeth, turned back and ran home to England. Drake voyaged on, and in his sailing changed the world. Drake returned to England laden with Spanish treasure. His voyage showed, more decisively than Magellan' s, how freely the world ocean could be traversed. His defiance of Spain's might, in a world where it seemed every road echoed to the tramp of Spanish soldiery, stiffened England's resistance for the coming repulse of the Invincible Armada in 1588. PS The Marigold . Painting by Oswald L. Brett.
The Eye of the Wind lies at anchor in Caledonia Bay, Panama, while a landing party including Dr. Aristides Royo, President of Panama (in white shirt, center), Mrs. Royo, Archbishop McGrath, and Lt. Col. Blashford-Snell put ashore in the inflatable raft David Gestetner.
Operation Drake Sails On Operation Drake was launched a year ago as a two-year aroundthe-world voyage of archaeological and scientific work to be carried out by Young Explorers. England's Prince Charles, patron of the venture, has said it offers: "the chance of tasting adventure, of achieving something through personal endeavor or simply giving service where it is needed. "
On December 13, 1577 Sir Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth, England with the 100-ton Pelican and four other ships; his mission was to fight the Spanish, capture their treasure and discover new territories. Three years later the Pelican (then renamed Golden Hind) returned to Plymouth having completed these tasks and circumnavigated the globe. On November 8, 1978 the brigantine Eye of the Wind set sail from Plymouth to commence another circumnavigation reawakening the Elizabethan spirit of challenge and adventure. This voyage, named Operation Drake, will last two years and involves groups of young people, servicemen and scientists from all over the world. The departure of the Eye of the Wind marked the culmination of 4 years of planning. With the ship at sea the watches settled into their routines and the scientific projects began. These included studies of sea pollution, collecting plankton and studying the distribution of goose barnacles in the oceans of the world. After a short stop
By Michael Wright in Jersey the ship sailed into a Force 8 gale in the notorious Bay of Biscay. Weathering this, she went on to visit Santa Cruz and Barbados, and put into St. Vincent, where the Young Explorers carried out a study of the volcano "La Soufriere." Since the last mini eruption in 1971 the volcano has been monitored closely. Operation Drake' s visit provided the firstever study of the island in the center of the crater lake, using an Avon inflatable dinghy which the Young Explorers carried up the volcano. Leaving St. Vincent on Christmas Day, the ship sailed to Colon . Operations for the next three months were transferred to the base camp in Caledonia Bay on the Caribbean coast of the San Blas region in eastern Panama. From this base, archaeological work was carried out on the site of Fort St. Andrew, a Scotish colony founded by the Darien Company and occupied by two expeditions. The first, in 1698, was abandoned due to starvation, disease and lack of confidence in the colony. The second in 1699 was defeated by
the Spanish. Extensive areas of the Fort were identified and many artifacts from the time of the occupation were found. A RAF diving team discovered the wreck of the Olive Branch, one of the Scottish supply ships that arrived in 1699 and burnt in the harbor. Ship's timbers, barrels and a large quantity of Scottish clay pipes were found. A second expedition worked on preliminary excavation of what is believed to be the site of Acla, Balboa's lost city on the east coast of Panama. A major scientific project was the investigation of the tropical rain forest canopy, using an elevated walkway 85 feet above the ground, built by the Young Explorers. Many samples were collected to be evaluated later by scientists from Oxford University. Apart from scientific tasks there was adventure training. Panama's Guardia National ran jungle survival courses, and a combined party of Young Explorers, British servicemen and Guardia National followed the route taken by Balboa to cross the Isthmus of Panama. This was a SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Gestetner serves as ferry to the beach, where a base camp is set up for Operation Drake's scientific an'd archaeological projects.
very testing experience, and a helicopter evacuated four Young Explorers who fell sick with fever. There were also reconnaisance trips to various areas of Panama which may lead to future expeditions. These included a trip to the Cana Goldfields in the south of the country, which discovered many signs of the British and Spanish companies which had tried to extract the gold and transport it to the coast over fifty years ago. Community projects were undertaken wherever possible, one of which was a medical study of the Cuna Indians on the San Blas island of Mulatupu, during which the expedition doctor administered medicine to cure many common ailments. On the Pacific coast a small party at the request of the Pacific Navigation Company went to the island of Taboga in the Bay of Panama to clear and repair an old company graveyard on the island, a remnant of the day when it was used as a transhipment point for goods across the Isthmus before the building of the Panama Canal. Mr. Wright, a Young Explorer sponsored by Barclay's Bank, is a member of Britain's Royal Marine Reserve. The Continuing Adventure
On May 9 the Eye of the Wind left Panama, with the third set of Young Explorers aboard. Arriving in the Galapagos, they set to work on conservation programs carried out with the Ecuadorian government and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Jamie Howard of New York found himself snorkeling with sea lions: "Every time I dove down and joined them in their realm, I was surrounded by beautiful streamlined creatures, swimming circles around me. I took this as a good sign and mimicked them as well as a land creature is able to under water. " The next phase carried the Young Explorers to Fiji, where they worked with villagers on the island of Moala to rebuild schools destroyed in a hurricane which had hit March 27 . Terry Linehan of Wisconsin records moving a four-ton rock: "A 'heave-ho' started the team in motion, then as we shouted encouragement to each other in two languages, we pushed the skid with all our might towards the sea. When the great rock finally reached the shore, everybody cheered and patted each other on the back. It was a great moment. We were a close-knit team-English speaking and Fijian." He noted this as one of the tasks he had thought could be accomplished only by machinery. The mixture of formality and joy in island manners also struck him. SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
"As I left the village of Keteira in the small punt heading for the ship that would take us back to Suva, I thought of our arrival on this island of strange faces and customs, the apprehension Ifelt at being in a completely different social setting, and the general fear of the unknown that we all felt to some degree . .. . The island had changed shape during the last ten days; for now the faces had names and the customs had meanings. " As SEA HISTORY goes to press, the expedition is working with tribesmen in the remote highlands of New Guinea. Linehan is one of 41 young Americans who will sail in Operation Drake, out of 216 young people between the ages of 17 and 24 from different nations who will have taken part in the voyage before it ends, back in Plymouth, in the fall of 1980. Over 1500 Americans applied. Those initially accepted have had to pass tough testing in weekend mini-expeditions conducted for Operation Drake in this country by the Outward Bound Schools and the American Sail Training Association. Business has contributed to make possible this major undertaking, notably the Gestetner Corporation. Pan American Airways has contributed the cost of air passage for relief crews as one set of Young Explorers ends their tour and another is sent out to replace it. Some 400 sponsors have contributed in all, led by Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg, who serves as honorary president of Operation Drake. V. Gordon White, Chairman of the US Executive Committee, is leading a drive to assure that the costs of the US Young Explorers are met, and contributions to this end are gratefully accepted by the National Maritime Historical Society. "The tasks undertaken by the Young Explorers are most demanding," Gordon White has noted. That demand, stretching young spirits in difficult service, makes Operation Drake an effective undertaking in the stream of history today, and one addressed to most basic obPS jectives.
Above, excavating the presumed ruins of Ac/a, Balboa's lost city. Below, trolley from what once was the "richest gold mine in Latin America."
Eye of the Wind had a long, useful career before being chartered for Operation Drake's two-year round-the-world voyage. Built in 1911 in Germany, the 150-ton brigantine carried salt out to Argentina, and brought home hides and china clay from Cornwall, making two trips a year, until in 1923 she was bought by Swedish owners. She then traded in the Baltic and North Sea, drifting for herring off Iceland in the summers. Abandoned after a bad fire in the late 1960s, she was restored in England in 1975.
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Come sail with us SEA HISTORY is the journal ot' the National Maritime Historical Society. The Society is dedicated to advancing the sea heritage as it lives today in a young person learning to hew tough oak into the delicate shapes of a seagoing hull, as it lives in sail training programs, and above all, as it lives in the historic ships themselves and all the activities of enjoyment and learning that cluster around those ships. SEA HISTORY is how we all stay in touch. It is a forum for news of all that is hoped-for or happening in the heritage ... it is a log of what we learn and achieve together, and of the individual discoveries that each of us makes, sharing the experience of man as seafarer. Come sail with us! Sign on for a voyage that may take you round the world, or down to a nearby waterfront: out on the royal yard to crack on sail, or into a seaport tavern where there is singing of old songs and telling of new tales. Sign on for the voyage! It can be your voyage. Your membership contribution helps us to make the voyage and will enroll you in the company of people who cherish the sea heritage and share in its hard-won learning, its joys and deep rewards. To: National Maritime Historical Society 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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., . . The Men Who Stole the Stars · •
By George F. Bass When I looked into the sky that night, I thought at first that a cloud covered part of the Big Dipper. But the crisp night air had not a trace of moisture. After cleaning my glasses and looking again, I realized that Mizar simply was not there any longer. I called the observatory of the university nearest me. "There's a star missing," I said. "Mizar isn't there any more." "We have no comment at this time," was the reply. The next issue of Tempus, our leading news magazine, provided an explanation. Under the "Science" heading was a brief news item:
introduce legislation to ban star catching. By then, however, Blakely had sold rights to his star-stealing device to a number of partners. "The clammy hands of big-brother government are trying to take away the hard-won spoils of the last of the great inventors," thundered the columnist. "Claude Blakely and his partners represent the last frontier of free enterprise." The night that I noticed Sirius was no longer in the sky, I opened the Newsletter of Private Star Lovers that had arrived in the afternoon mail. It had as a logo a bald eagle holding a star in its talons, flanked by waving American flags .
"Astronomer Claude Blakely, after years of research and experimentation, has at last developed a method of capturing stars. For an undisclosed price, he has sold Mizar to an anonymous dealer in Geneva. The dealer, through a New York spokeman, assures the public that the star will be put on display in a private planetarium within the next two years, and that hundreds of citizens will be able to see it there."
"Fellow citizens . Write to your congressmen about the communist-inspired plot to take away our rights to catch and sell stars. There are millions of stars in the heavens , as any schoolboy knows . You can't even see some of them they are so dim. There cannot be any rational reason to keep them all up there. Especially when there are billions of dollars to be made by private investors . Stand up for your rights as Americans. Stand up for free enterprise!"
I began a flood of outraged letters to magazines, syndicated editorial writers, and politicians. The stars, I said, belonged to everybody. Astronomers were supposed to map the stars, measure them, and study them in the most minute detail. But, I added, astronomers were supposed to be after knowledge. They were not supposed to own the stars. I didn't believe that Mr. Blakely should really be called an astronomer. "Your attitude strikes me as hoitytoity,'' replied one of the best known of the columists. "Claude Blakely knows more about astronomy than any Ph.D. or he couldn't have gone out and netted that star. And anyway, why should professional astronomers have all the stars? There are enough to go around. You're just jealous that you didn't make a buck out of it." My response that the public as well as astronomers had a right to the stars, and that future generations had a right to see them, went unanswered . Some of the public did write to their congressmen, but since most lived in smoggy cities and never saw the stars anyway, few letters were sent. A young congressman from one of the states with an exceptionally clear sky did, eventually,
By tnen the night sky was beginning to look a bit faded. Investors were after the really bright, sparkling stars first so the first-magnitude stars were disappearing at an alarming rate. Astronomers made joint and private outcries about what was happening. "Precious knowledge about the creation of the universe is being lost forever. It doesn't do me any good to see Betelgeuse in the cavern of some Austrian duke," one wrote. " It's been taken out of context.'' A senator from a rather foggy state submitted a piece to a family weekly: At last astronomy is making money, not simply spending it. Millions of dollars of National Science Foundation grants will now be saved that would otherwise have been wasted on larger telescopes and more radio telescopes. Have all the astronomers , spending all that money for centuries ever made a dime for the public? They talk about knowledge. Claude Blakely is the first one ever to show common sense!
When Polaris was snatched, I was sure that the tide would turn in favor of amateur star gazers and professional astronomers. But, except for a few yachtsmen, most people were watching their TV screens and couldn't be
bothered about it. "Why didn't he use Loran?" my sister asked when she saw the article about the sailor who lost his way through disappearing stars and ended on the rocks . "That's what all those satellites are for, anyway, isn't it?" "They'll be snatching satellites next," I mumbled. I let the sharp photographs of the starry night sky drop one at a time in a pile on the floor between my feet." "That's the way it used to be."
* * * Dr. Bass, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and a member of the Society's Ship Trust Committee, sent us this story as part of a long letter. "Peter," he said, "if you substitute shipwreck for star in this story, you 'II have a precise description of what is happening in this country, and the world, with regard to nautical archaeology. " He continued: "Even the ending is based on my visit to a noted French archaeologist some years ago, who showed me a stack of 'before and after' photographs of classical shipwrecks on the bed of the Mediterranean. The letters, columns, newsletter, and statements are all based on actual publications. "Why don't we sell Mount Vernon, brick by brick, to make some money? If we allow the Parthenon to stand, wouldn't it be all right to sell bits of marble from the rest of the Greek temples as doorstops? After all, if it's under water we allow it-in the name of free enterprise!" The Ship Trust Committee believes the only "enterprise" was that of the men who sailed these ships. We deplore the "let's play pirates" attitude which has led a science editor in a leading magazine to glorify the lifting of "booty from the brine" by adventurers who loot ships on the seabed. No real economic benefit flows to society from this; and the loss in knowledge is irreparable. Dr. Bass's letter has been circulated and has become something of an underground classic. We are proud to publish it. and we urge those who wish to act on it to be in touch with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, PO Drawer AU, College Station TX 77840. ..ti SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Every wreck is a time capsule rich with information about the life of its era. Until recently this undersea history has been protected by its inaccessability. Now it needs the protection of law, protection which for generations we have readily granted to buildings and other historic sites.
The undisturbed remains of this 4thcentury ship can reveal the nature of shipbuilding and trading of 1500 years ago. Selfish attempts to find salable items will destroy a rare opportunity like this. Photos by George Bass.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Programs of instruction offered to qualified seafaring personnel seeking U.S. Merchant Marine Deck or Engineering and employment aboard District 2 MEBA-AMO (AFL-CIO) contracted tug boats, tow boats, Oceans or Great Lakes Ships. Qualifying seatime of three or more years in the deck or engineering department of Merchant Ships, Na val, Coast Guard or Army Vessels is required. The Schools of Marine Engineering and Navigation in Brooklyn, New York, and Toledo, Ohio-offer their students: • Free schooling with all course material supplied • Dormitory space • Upgrading courses for career advancement thru the rating of ships Master or Chief Engineer The Schools of Marine Engineering and Navigation are equal opportunity educational institutions available to all U.S. Citizens by birth or naturalization.
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SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
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May 29, the Pride at Mystic Seaport, berthed near the Charles W. Morgan .
At Sea in the Pride of Baltimore By Wm. Gilkerson The Chasseur, the original Pride of Baltimore.
Fresh from her encounter with a spring gale off Hatteras, the Baltimore clipper Pride of Baltimore picked up the noted marine artist Bill Gilkerson at Mystic, Connecticut. Master of his own vessels in broad and narrow seas, he is the author of the recently reissued classic, The Scrimshander. He sailed in the Pride to Halifax, Nova Scotia. His impressions are recorded in these extracts from his journal, as written (and drawn) during the voyage. May 29. Came aboard around 5 PM. A new foresail is set in the still air of a balmy afternoon, with a bonnet being laced onto its foot. The previous sail blew out in the recent storm. The Crew's age seems to average around 21 years-an amiable gang. Pride takes a crew of 12, but is now without bo'sun and cook, so she's short-handed. Captain Charles Whitcomb tells me I'll be standing watch schedule. Stowed my gear below, where all is open-no yacht this. Below decks shows plain, strong construction and no fancy stuff, except in the skipper's and mate's cabin aft, where a sheen of varnished mahogany prevails. Just forward of the skipper's quarters is Âˇan engine room for the small diesel motor which is one of the vessel's few concessions to modern technology. Forward of that are the open galley area, mess table and crew's quarters, which merge in a friendly clutter of gear. The hammocks are in rows along each side of the vessel, and under them are rows of sea chests. Towels, laundry, oilskins and ditty bags hang from every available peg, and into every cave and corner something is stuffed. How did these ships carry 100 to 150 men? My hammock is next to a wood-burning stove, and my gear is lashed to the woodpile. A cluster of lanterns hangs close to 36
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
my hammock, so that I bump them with my elbow when I'm sleeping. The ship has a small dog with pointed ears named D-0-G (pronounced dee oh gee) who can climb the companionway ladder, although it is nearly vertical. Pride carries four cannon, six-pounders, on trucks. Standing between deck guns and looking up at the steeply raking masts and crossed yards, I feel transported to another age. The illusion is reinforced by the Charles W. Morgan across the wharf, a single halo'd deck light illuminating her rigging, and beyond her the Joseph Conrad, her crossed yards only dimly visible in the deepening twilight. All are framed in the manicured environment of 1800s Mystic. Went ashore with the skipper for a few libations. May 30: It is possible to sleep comfortably in the hammock, although it took some adjusting. Tension is critical. At first mine was too slack, and I awoke with the feeling both ends of me were pressing in on the middle. There is a deck beam overhead which makes it necessary to disembark with a kind of rolling movement without sitting up. Noon: Cast off in calm air and chugged off downstram past the meticulous old buildings, Pride the focal point of everyone's attention onshore. All the doors and windows of the boat shop sprouted heads. Master of the guns, Matthew Willing, cursed himself for having so busied himself with getting under way that he had not charged one of the cannon to rattle the windows ashore with a parting salute. By the time we reached the drawbridge, however, he had one loaded up and rectified the oversight resoundingly. Pride has no difficulty in drawing an audience. A word about the storm mentioned earlier. Three weeks ago Pride was reported lost in a gale by the national press. She was lost only to the various folks ashore who try to keep close track of her. Beset by a gale off Cape Hatteras, she experienced 50 and 60 knot winds which blew out her foresail. She ran off under her staysail before the storm for nearly three days, unable to contact the shore with her low-power radio, but running easily and without any particular danger, although one greybeard did manage to stove her yawl boat, which hung from the stern davits. She was finally able to round to off Nantucket Shoals and head for home. The Coast Guard had mounted a limited search for her, from which came the "lost" reports. Tied up at Noank to refuel and repair radar. May 31, 0800: Cast off and got under way at 0530. Clear morning with haze to the SW, gentle breeze from the same direction, but not yet enough to sail. We were unable to obtain enough fuel because of the current shortage, and so we are making for Provincetown where it is hoped we will have better luck. Powering up Long Island Sound in gentle swells.
0820: Set square topsail. 0900: Matt Willing brought a fiddle on deck, seated himself up at the bitts and played reels, jigs and waltzes for an hour or so. Getting headsails on. Breeze increasing a bit. Fine morning. 12:30: Grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti soup for lunch. Breeze still freshening. I'm on the noon-to-six watch. Took a two-hour trick at the tiller, a big stick. Pride handles sweetly under sail, almost effortlessly, slipping along very elegantly under square tops'!, t'gallant, foresail, staysail and jib. Neither of the last two draw with the wind dead aft. 2245: By 1800 breeze had increased, and with this Pride made some 7 knots up Buzzards Bay. Cleared the other side of the Cape Cod Canal a few minutes ago. June 1, 0130: Anchored off Provincetown, and I turned in.
0800: Departed Provincetown, tanks full. Powering into a NW breeze making slow headway. I meditate upvn the unique vessel I find myself aboard. The Pride was built by Melbourne Smith in nine months, in a yard he set up on the downtown Baltimore waterfront. She is 90' on deck, 79' on the waterline, 23 ' in beam and draws just under 10 ' . She was launched as "another in the series" of a type that had become extinct, on February 27, 1977. Shipbuilding techniques contemporary with her type were used in her construction: hand-forged iron fastenings and fittings, treenails, stropped blocks, etc. Some of the woods used in her are a little more uptown than she would have had in her day; tropical hardwoods for stern post, stem, keelson and deadwood floorings, with lower futtocks of bullet wood . Lignum vitae was used for the keel. The frames are of Santa Maria. Hull planking and decking are pitch and pine. Belaying pins and tiller are rosewood! Pride flies 9,327 square feet of sail. Working sails are of cotton duck and flax, and the light weather sails are light cotton. Originally her standing rigging was of Dacron, cable layed, wormed, parceled, served and tarred, but it stretched intolerably and has subsequently been replaced with wire. Pride has been kept moving since her launching in 1977, spending winters in the West Indies, coming north summers. She is owned by the City of Baltimore and supported (as she was built) by donations from Baltimore private industries matched by civic funds. She is managed by the city's Office of Promotion and Tourism . As a relic of Baltimore's history, she's hard to beat. The original namesake of this vessel was another Baltimore Clipper, the Chasseur, a privateer in the War of 1812. Under the aggressive command of Captain Thomas Boyle, she devastated enemy shipping in the West Indies and the English Channel itself. Boyle impudently declared a blockade of the British Isles! Later, he used her to outfight and capture a regular warship of the Royal Navy in an equal ship-to-ship duel. Boyle was rightly acclaimed a hero, and his ship was nicknamed Pride of Ba/ti-
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
when at the same time it is chugging away the sails are drawing -those that are set. I must say that with the exception of the afternoon out of Provincetown, we could have sailed this entire trip, for although the winds have been light, Pride has all the qualities of a good ghoster, and there are lots of light weather sails furled and waiting for just these conditions-including a studdingsail ! It does seem that the existence of an engine-even a weak one designed only to push the ship around in a harbor-creates too much of a temptation to rely on it. This happened when I sailed (or motored) in the brig Unicorn a few years back. But Bob Douglas's topsail schooner Shenandoah, is handled so efficiently and with such practiced skill as to keep quite close to the schedule upon which her livelihood depends, carrying paying passengers.
"Matt Willing brought a fiddle on deck . . . "
more. This original Pride was a somewhat larger vessel, and her plans do not survive, so her namesake takes nothing from her except the qualities of line and balance of her type at the hands of her designer, Thomas Gillmer. June 2, 0200: Flat sea, starry sky. In talking with the crew, I find only three of them or so seem to know anything much about the handling of this ship, and with the important exceptions of the skipper Charlie, and mate Bob, nobody at all has had previous experience with square rig. There is no drill or systematic instruction in sail handling, etc. Coming into the dock at Provincetown was as exciting as a Chinese stock car race on a greasy track. As we nudged in toward the dock with clear water and a gentle head breeze and stream, heaving lines went in all directions, there was yelling and leaping, and finally a tangle of warps, springs and breastlines which had to be sorted out at length . Charlie was chagrined, but said nothing. He is always patiently straightening up after his crew-pausing to re-coil a halliard, correct the belaying of a sheet. Noon: Wind ENE, maybe 5 knots. Sun trying to show through grey skies, not making it. 1800: Weather continues light. Tracy, one of two girls aboard, is temporarily saddled with the cook's job. Dinner was one of the most memorable I have ever had good luck to eat aboard a sailing vessel: roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cranberry sauce. Terry has been sainted . June 3, 0630: Double lookouts set, thick weather. We steam through the day. 2010: Light breeze at twilight, gentle swell from the east. Pride bearing north with wind abaft the beam and sails drawing, although motor still on. Fishing boats in sight, perhaps out of Lunenburg. Now I've got to talk about this motoring business, because the rumble of the engine is an irritating thing to me, especially
June 4, 0400: Well, the Pride is sailing. On the last watch the mate turned the motor off, and since then we've been slipping easily and silently along our course, making the same speed as we were under motor, even though the breeze remains very light and the mainsail and jib remain furled. 0530: Got permission to put up the jib and did so, which has increased our speed slightly. Pride is a ghoster for sure, and apparently a good heavy-weather performer, too. More and more the virtues of these craft become apparent to me. 0630: (Before the end of the last watch) Laid out along the tops'! yard, my first working experience of a situation I have many times painted. The footropes took more getting used to than I had imagined . A careless movement can shift one's weight suddenly abaft the rope, which then swings abruptly forward and tries to tear you off the yard, which is some 85 feet or so above the deck . I avoided that. The other surprise was how quickly my hand muscles tired from clinging to lines. Aloft there is considerable chafe, and Pride is due for a lot of attention. Her new Bo'sun when he comes will have his work cut out for him. She has experienced some failures in gear. However, on the whole everything seems to have been well set up indeed, considering the handicap which her riggers faced-the problem of setting up a 180-year-old rig without a 180-year-old rigger to whisper instructions. A couple of fore shroud chainplates broke under stress one time, leaving her mast with insufficient support for a breathless moment or two till she could be rounded to. (Her builder feels that failure stemmed from rigging set up too taut-it is all meant to give, using the whiplike strength of the big masts.-ED.)
1400: Fog lifted to reveal low, ironbound coast lined with scrubby pine woods. Rocks everywhere. Halifax pilot boat standing off and various other traffic in the approaches, including a Russian trawler. 1700: Berthed just south of Bluenose II. The young crew from this replica of Canada's most famous fast fishing schooner ran over and handled our lines, competing in their zeal to help. The crews of the two vessels are of the same average age, and there is an immediate comraderie between them. All these working ships seem manned by the same crew somehow. I went ashore and made airline reservations home for tomor, row. On returning to the ship I drank rum with the skipper and Matt. In the course of our conversation, Charlie mentioned his nephew had been on the Bourne Bridge taking pictures the afternoon we went through the Cape Cod Canal under sail. I asked Charlie if his nephew's photographs were the reason he set the topgallant sail that day. This was such an outrageous question it tickled a laugh out of Charlie. His job as defined is to deliver the boat. w SEA HISTORY, 'FALL 1979
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Captain Horka (at left), the author and their friend Karl Kortum join forces on May 22, 1967 to sail the schooner Athena down the East River in New York for the opening of the South Street Seaport Museum. Photo: Gertrude Brett.
''Make Way for a Sailor'' A Memoir of Captain Archie Horka, 1901-1979 By Oswald L. Brett When my friend Karl Kortum, stouthearted Cape Horner and Chief Curator of the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, heard that Captain Horka had succembed to cancer on May 29, he wrote me of his sense of loss. "He was one of the rare ones," he said: "perceptive, imaginative, articulate, and vastly experienced." To this one might add that he had a rare capacity for friendship, and for enjoying life on his own terms. Archie's experience at sea began in Cape Horn windships, and ended in 1967 after 25 years in command, ending with some of the most advanced cargo carriers at sea. Retirement did not faze him or curb his sometimes acid wit. "Should I raise a beard?" he wrote me soon after he'd hung up his oilskins. "Chew tobacco, or hitch up my pants at intervals and spit out oaths like 'damn your eyes?'." Archie's choice of a sea career was not prompted by any family tradition. His father was in the woollens business in New York. As a boy Archie saved up carfare to explore what to him was the city's most fascinating scene, the Brooklyn docks and South Street waterfront. At seventeen he shipped out as deck boy in the steamer El Valle on a voyage to Galveston and back. Intrigued by the yarns of older seamen, he resolved that his next voyage would be in square rig: "Fascinated with life in a sailing vessel I determined to make a sailor of myself, since no other occupation held such interest and promise. The deepwater sailor of sixty years ago was a wanderbird, cosmopolite, and internationalist. It was the ship he wanted to serve in, assuming the pay and food were decent. The flag at her gaff was secondary. " On his return he signed aboard the little Peruvian bark Callao. She departed South Street in October 1919 bound for
Buenos Aires with a cargo of timber. Right at the end of her outward voyage she was hit by a pampero off the River Plate. The savage storm threw the bark over nearly on her beam ends. Topsail and topgallant yards would not lower due to the extreme angle of heel, and all hands struggled to shorten sail. Ships were lost this way, since the latter-day windjammers had steel masts and wire rigging which did not carry away as wood and hemp did in extreme cases. The ship could be simply overwhelmed, capsize and founder. Archie was learning about square rig. Assembled in Buenos Aires was one of the last great fleets of square riggers, loading grain for starving, ravaged Europe right after World War I. In his journal for Monday, December 22, 1919, Archie noted: " . . . a veritable forest of masts, and a maze of rigging of the square-riggers and schooners that were berthed alongside, their crews engaged a/ow and aloft, painting, tarring down, scraping and doing the myriad jobs performed in port. We were towed far up the Riachuelo to Barracas and made fast to the quay late in the afternoon after much shouting and gesticulating. " "First night ashore was a revel," he added later, "for the gang headed for the wineshops and whorehouses, with the result that it was a swivel-eyed, boisterous crowd that came aboard that night." At the time, Archie had eyes only for the ships, many of them on their Âˇlast voyages, as it turned out, since on their return to Europe they were scrapped. There was a former German ship in port, one of the war prizes picked up without firing a shot, and "the long, gaunt five-masted schooner Edna McKnight, "as he later remembered. And
among many others one that never made it home: "During our stay of two months we later saw the beautiful Hilston, a British full-rigger, white aloft, whose rigging, stayed with a clipper's rake, seemed to my boyish eyes the loftiest climb into the never-never land of a boy's imagination! On her way to sea this haughty beauty was cut down in a collision, and when we towed by her, she was on her beam-ends, only the yard-arms showing. Seven men drowned." Archie next shipped as able seaman in the American four-masted barkentine Cecil P. Stewart, New York-Newport News-Bordeaux and return. He throve on the life in deepwater sailing ships and said that what he found so appealing was "the challenge it gave a man under sail in an angry winter sea, or rolling in a broiling calm." He met plenty of "winter sea" on his next voyage, in the Norwegian bark Som, on a stormy 53-day passage with a cargo of coal to Copenhagen. "Rigged for the weather I went to the galley abaft the foc'sle to dry some of my wetted clothes, for the cook gave us leave to do this. Acccess to the galley was by means of two steel half-doors, and while holding onto the upper one of these, a huge sea broke over the bulwark, tearing me from the door and floating me free. I felt myself thrust about and struck out with my arms only to feel I was afloat in solid water, alone in a black night on the wintry North Atlantic. 'God,' I thought, 'I shall never see home again. ' I was not yet a hardened seaman, and home was still a fresh memory. Surely I was washed overboard. One can imagine my great joy then in feeling a rope slip into my grip and feeling the deck under me. I regained my feet, battered, breathless and thoroughly soaked. Then the sound of SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Hands aboard the Gustav , 1927 (Archie in doorway). Photos courtesy the author.
eight bells brought home the fact that mine was the first wheel trick with my mate (we were two on the wheel in bad weather) and we scurried aft along the flooded deck to gain the safety of the poop." Archie paid his own way home from this passage, and, "as things were slow in sailing ships," he signed on early in 1921 as ordinary seaman in the steamer General O.H. Ernst to Haiti, Panama, and ports on the north coast of South America. After a Mediterranean voyage as able seaman in the steamer Hog Island, he got under sail again, joining the coasting schooner George W. Elzey for several months. Then came a voyage to Australia, New Zealand and back in the steamer West Cheraw. Then a voyage from October 1922 till February 1923 in the Italian-built, five-masted barkentine Molfetta, from New York to Cuba and back. On his return, he joined the steamer Steel Scientist, leaving her in San Francisco to sign on for seventeen months in the fivemasted bark Katherine Mackall. The vessel loaded lumber in Portland, for Melbourne, Australia. She had a monthlong battle with southwest gales in Bass Strait; the big barkentine was finally forced to give up the struggle, put her helm up and run back up the coast to Sydney, arriving there reported overdue after a passage of 137 days. Sydney's blue, sparkling and sunlit harbor surprised Archie with the magic and pageant of its sailing ships in early December, 1923, furnishing him with some of the memories that made him feel "chosen among men." One such ship was the giant five-masted bark Kobenhavn. The men on the battered barkentine looked with envy on this powerful ship. "Long and deep in the bay water she sat, black and glossy and arrogant, the thin white stripe emphasizing her smart sheer and bringing her aristocratic bearing into full focus at the brightly painted figurehead and scrollwork on the muscular bows. She looked so able, so confident; and yet, five years later she was swallowed up in a manner as yet unexplained." Another ship that made a deep impression was the Mount Stewart," beautifully symmetrical as only a three masted fullrigged ship can be." Deep-laden, "her rakish sticks seemed to rise right out of the water . . . a thoroughbred from the look of her, and from her staff fluttered the Red Duster." From the forecastle head of the Mackall, Archie watched as the tug came in to move her: SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
"Then that big gang of men and boys began to walk up the anchor to 'The Maid of Amsterdam' .. . They were no singers, those chaps, but they had the words, they had the spirit, and did they roar it out! We stopped all work and took in the rare sight, envious-sick with envy of those chaps who were privileged to sail in such a majestic and gallant ship. Being a 'Limey' and holding to tradition, she was probably hungry as sin, but no one thought of it that way. She was the last of the wool clippers and she knew it as she haughtily towed by under our big stern, past the point of Rushcutters Bay and beyond our view forever. " The Mackall towed on to Melbourne where she discharged her cargo of "Oregon," the Australian term for US West Coast lumber. Then she loaded coal at Newcastle and ran down the westerlies for Antofagasta, Chile, and thence to Seattle, where Archie left her. He joined the steamer West Calera for a one-way passage to Sydney, being anxious to return to Australia where the great windships were to be found. He signed on at Adelaide aboard the big Norwegian fullrigger Skaregrom, formerly the limejuice Castleton, built in 1903. Her passage to London to discharge her grain in 1925 was published in SEA HISTORY Nos. 1, 2 and 3 as Archie recorded it in his private journal-including his organizing a "Crossing the Line" ceremony, and his "attachment" for the skipper's daughter which lasted throughout his lifetime. A few years ago he said: "Still a handsome woman and matriarch of a lovely family, she can still set a flame alight!" Archie stayed with the ship as she went on home to Norway, where she picked up a cargo of lumber for her next Australian voyage. He made that voyage in her, and then left the vessel to join a little 70-ton ketch, the Erskine, which sailed out of Melbourne with local cargoes. This was an idyllic time, in a very simple world. "The ketches that fished for spiney lobsters in Bass Strait attracted a loner type of man, Scandinavian boys who ran away from their hungry square riggers and sought adventure in the land down under. Of course there were many local men, especially Tasmanian lads, and for all, it had a peculiar magnetism, that life. A couple of weeks fishing and then back to Melbourne and a 'drink up' and a bash at the girls. " Archie next joined the American fivemaste barkentine Forest Dream at Adelaide in March 1926, as able seaman, making a voyage in her to Mauritius . Returning to Newcastle, NSW, the vessel was sold. Archie proceeded south to
Sydney where he joined the German fourmasted bark Gustav, a heavily rigged former limejuicer, built as the Austrasia in 1892. She sailed from Sydney February I, 1927, arriving in Queenstown (Cobh) after a 123-day passage round Cape Horn, and then proceeded to London to discharge her grain. In London Archie met Captain P.C. Grening of the US Shipping Board who advised him to return to New York, attend nautical school, obtain his certificate, and begin a professional career. Archie was then 26 years old and had spent nine years-one third of his life-at sea. He heeded this advice, and next went to sea as third mate of a steamer in the coal trade between Norfolk and New York. He then joined the United States Lines, in February 1928, where Captain Grening was his sponsor. Archie never looked back, and promotion followed steadily in the company's service. Just before America's entry in World War II he served for a year in the US Navy. Discharged from the Navy after five months illness in hospital, he rejoined US Lines in 1941, and received his first command in December 1942, when he was appointed to the " saucy and handsome" little motorship Cape Spencer. The Cape Spencer took a deck cargo of aircraft to the Southwest Pacific. This vulnerable and precious load was routed southabout, around Cape Horn and into the teeth of the Roaring Forties in the Southern Ocean, much to Archie's concern. It was delivered intact with careful seamanship, and on the way Archie had a close look at the Horn: " It was a fine, smooth day, though gray with overcast that February 14, 1943, when we came round. The good weather enabled us to pass five miles off one of the outlying islets, Ildefonso, which was often mentioned by the old timers who dared to venture close in. We had us a good, long and respectful look at old Caba Harnos and Cape Spencer next to it! Elated with the coincidence (our 41
ship and the neighboring headland were similarly named) we dipped our flag in salute.. .. " On her way back around the Cape of Good Hope, the Cape Spencer, now in convoy, met a U-boat off West Africa. "Our for'ard gunners opened fire but we did not make him ours. All I saw of that fellow was a puff of yellow diesel smoke and a swelling of waters as he crash-dived! The artillery must have splashed the blokes in the conning tower, and they likely tasted the adrenalin on their tongues, but I'm here to tell you they . .. weren't staying on top, making muscles, and arguing the toss as they do in the movies!" In 1944 he took the Cape Spencer again to the Antipodes, threading the Great Barrier Reef to deliver rockets to New Guinea. There were no pilots available, and one of his officers said he felt like Captain Cook. "To one re-tracing the track on a map today it seems like sheer lunacy, " said Archie later. But they made it, as Archie always did. He left the Cape Spencer in July 1944 and took over the motorship Lightning, on the North Atlantic run, until taking the new American Scout in January 1946. He remained in her until called in to stand by the building of the prototype of the new "Challenger" class freighter, going on to command that first ship, the American Challenger, and later her sister, American Crusader. In 1965 he consulted on the "Challenger II" class American Reliance, which became his last command. The Reliance, a handsome, fully automated 13 ,600-ton ship, traveled at the remarkable speed of 27 knots, faster than all but a handful of passenger liners. "I am glad to report," said Archie, "that I am not yet too old to become enthusiastic about things." Nearing retirement, he thought much of his days in sail: "It is awe-inspiring, a view of a windjammer pushing along under a press of canvas. It appears lifeless ... until you perceive that whole creation of 'stick and string' rear its head, heel toward you, then plunge its be-netted jibboom into the creaming foam. Only then are you made aware that the thing is alive, that it is of this world. You could almost feel the lift the ship was given by her press of sail, and hear the exhilerating wash of the bow wave and an occasional boom as the ship pitched yet more deeply to the towering pressure overhead. " He was proud of his Cape Horn roundings, and flew his mollyhawk pennant of the International Cape Homers "just to 42
see who would recognize it" when we sailed to Mystic together in the Stanfords' schooner Athena. (Typically, he ended up giving the pennant to the schooner, "a good little ship."-ED.) But he objected to too much mystique about the "Cape Horn breed." "I bear witness to the heresy that it was easier on the mind and body to weather one east or west rounding a year of the 'dreaded Horn' than to earn one's livelihood beating back and forth across the wintry North Atlantic... . You had no 'Falkland Islands and Trade Wind skies' to look forward to. Nowt but the howling equinoctials of spring, then the fogs and ice of April and May . .. . I have no regrets about coiling down my gear for the laaast time, and no longer chewing the hard bread of the Western Ocean!" In retirement, Archie testified and served as expert counsel in various maritime affairs, and served as volunteer secretary of the American Council of Master Mariners for a time. He was active in the founding of the South Street Seaport Museum, on the waterfront where he'd first shipped out in the bark Callao over half a century before. I understand that he refused to take any office in the Museum, or in the National Maritime Historical Society, of which he was a dedicated and not uncritical member. He preferred to maintain a independent stance, corresponding with like-minded souls, sitting in an occasional seminar or going abroad for the boisterous reunions of the International Cape Homers. Archie pursued a broad range of interests: politics, foreign affairs, the arts and ballet engaged him outside his professional field. He strove for accuracy and realism in history, and his letters on topics that interested him were published in learned journals here and abroad. He approved the idea of getting young people to sea under sail, but kicked out at overblown claims for the experience: "It has degenerated into a fine weather pastime for boys (and girls) and I'm here to tell you that sailing a big windjammer is not small boys' pastime." In Captain Horks's presence one could also expect a blast of deep-sea language if one incautiously used the term "tall," rather than "lofty" to describe a sailing ship. This was not sailor's language as he knew it. He would sometimes conclude an iconoclastic blast by saying: "You had best take the sledgehammer out of my hand, or there will be no idols left in the Pantheon." He didn't mind stirring up a fuss; witness this account of a recent Bath Marine Museum Seminar, on schooners:
"Quite innocently a fellow asked the meeting about 'whorehouses' . .. I was not certain I heard aright but rolled up my trousers and waded in . ... One stiff protested we were demeaning the standard of the proceedings or some such footling nonsense, so we rolled him up and stowed him under a chair! It was our stout contention that this was an exercise in social history, quite an important part of a man 's life, any man 's life, were he a sailor or bishop of the diocese . ... Afterwards I was pointed out as the rowdy who nearly turned the proceedings into a pornographic rout! Bigger and better things are promised for next year, so be there, Os. "
Archie and David aboard American Scout, ca. 1954.
Archie was widowed early in his married life. He is survived by a son, David, born in 1940. David sailed with Archie in his schooldays, on coastwise passages in the American Scout, and now lives in Michigan . Archie's trim brick home nestling in shrubbery and surrounded by green lawns in Fairlawn Heights, New Jersey is now sadly deserted . Visitors no longer strike the bell by grasping its seamanlike sennit lanyard, no longer are the colors ahoist at the masthead on the lawn. Archie's worn-out body was lowered, as he wished, "alongside my gal," and those who had the privilege of knowing him can share that now only in memory. But what memories he left. <lJ Mr Brett, marine artist, sailor and scholar, is an Advisor of the National Society.
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SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
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SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
At right, San Francisco in October 1849, not long after the Niantic was hauled ashore at high tide and beached. Courtesy, the Smithsonian Institution.
Mr. Delgado, National Park Service Historian, was assigned by the Service to evaluate the significance of the Niantic when her bottom sections were unexpectedly unearthed. He pursued the story further, to "partia//y recover what we had thought lost. "
By James P. Delgado
The Niantic: Depicted by the visiting Englishman Frank Marryat, the Niantic was an early landmark of Gold Rush San Francisco. Courtesy National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
LONG LIVE THE NIANTIC! On April 28 last year, workers excavating for a new 19-story office building to be erected by J . Patrick Mahoney in San Francisco, uncovered the remains of an old wooden ship at the corner of Clay and Sansome Streets. By May 2, the staff of the National Maritime Museum at San Franciso, under Chief Curator Karl Kortum, had identified the timbers as the bottqm section of the famous Gold Rush ship Niantic. The Niantic arrived in San Francisco in midsummer 1849, one of the fleet of over 700 ships that came to Frisco in that Gold Rush year. Hauled ashore later that summer, she became a San Francisco landmark. The traveling Englishman Frank Marryat, son of the Captain, Frederick Marryat who wrote Mr. Midshipman Easy, made the portrait of her that heads our page. This appeared in his memoirs, Mountains and Molehills, published in London and New York in 1855, and became a world-famous image of how the metropolis of San Francisco came into being on the hulls of the ships that built the city. The overwhelming importance of this shipping to San Francisco's future was recognized at the time. An editorial in the Alta California in June 1851, commenting on the fires that swept the jerry built city, put the matter bluntly: "So long as only the buildings on land are burned, San Francisco can with comparative ease recover from the shock, and rise Phoenix-like from her ashes; but 44
should the shipping in our harbor be once destroyed, confidence in the safety of goods sent here would be almost entirely lost, and San Francisco would be well nigh ruined ... " For ten feverish days after discovery of the Niantic's remains, museum people conducted an archarological dig and sought funds to save the vessel. Ordinary people cut holes in the fence around the site with their penknives to glimpse their city's founding ship, while the bulldozers waited. ! The developer agreed to accept even earnest money, perhaps $25,000 on account to save her: but no funds were forthcoming. In the end he saved an eight-foot section at his own expense, and on May 11 the bulldozers moved in. The bow of the ship presumably remains under the Transamerica park adjoining the new building. No one had known any of the ship was left; a hotel had been built atop her ruins after the fire of 1851, and in 1907 it was reported that the remains were completely removed when a new building was put up. Kortum has pointed out that only one survivor of the Gold Rush remains, the Vicar of Bray in the Falklands, in the keeping of the National Society. "Maybe now," he said, as the Niantic was broken up, "the community can get together." In a future issue we shall report on that effort. Here, as homage to the Niantic, we offer accounts of her history, and of the kind of ship she was.
The discovery of gold in the hinterland of San Francisco Bay in 1848 transformed the sleepy settlement of Yerba Buena into the bustling, growing city of San Francisco. With news of the discovery of gold in California sweeping the civilized world, hundreds of vessels of various sizes, makes, and registries made their way to San Francisco, their holds packed with gold hunters. This movement reached a crescendo in the Gold Rush of '49. Among the ships arriving at the height of the Gold Rush was the New England whaler Niantic, a full-rigged, threemasted sailing vessel. Named for a Rhode Island Indian tribe, she had been built in Chatham, Connecticut for N.L.&G. Griswold of New York. Registered in New York on October 29, 1835 at 451 tons, the sturdy 119-foot vessel seems to have been designed on the lines of the bluff-bowed ocean carrier of her day. She was entered by her owners in the growing China trade, under Captain Doty. At the onset of the Chinese Opium Wars the Niantic was caught in Canton with her Captain ill and the port about to be blockaded. Fortunately the Niantic carried as a passenger the famous Captain Robert Bennett Forbes of Boston. Forbes took command and the Niantic cleared Canton and arrived in New York in December 1840. The Niantic continued to sail the waters of the Orient under the Griswold house flag until sold off as a whaling ship to a Mr. C.T. Deering in 1844. She was getting on for ten years old, and new, bigger, faster-sailing ships were coming into the China trade, precursors of the China Clippers. On June 4, 1844, under the command of Captain Slate, the Niantic, sailing from China, embarked on her first whaling voyage in the Pacific. "She was absent until February 1, 1847, when she arrived at Sag Harbor with 120 barrels of spe:rm oil, 2,400 barrels of whale oil, and SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Participant in Creating a New California 10,000 pounds of bone," as noted in the papers of F. C. Matthews, now on file at the San Francisco Public Library. The Niantic was then sold again, this time to the whaling firm of Burr and Smith of Rhode Island . Captain Henry Cleaveland of West Tisbury, Massachusetts took command. An experienced seaman, Cleaveland was a taciturn old salt who had raised three sea-going sons. All of the Cleavelands were aboard the Niantic when she set sail for the Pacific whaling grounds on September 16, 1848, as we learn from her logbook, fortunately preserved in the collection of Mrs. Dionis Coffin Riggs in Martha's Vineyard. The eldest son, James, was the first mate, with brothers Sylvanus and Daniel second and third mates, respectively . Rounding Cape Horn, the Niantic stopped in Payte, Peru for provisions. There Captain Cleaveland learned of the discovery of gold in California. A message from Burr and Smith ordered him to abandon whaling temporarily and set sail for Panama, where thousands of anxious gold seekers awaited passage to San Francisco. Captain Cleaveland had the crew dismantle the whaling installations and stow aboard provisions for the trip to Panama. At daylight on March 25, 1849, the Niantic weighed anchor and set sail for Panama. Arriving on April 7, 1849, Captain Cleaveland advertised that he was willing to take on passengers for
An artist's conception of the Niantic as described in 1858 (see column 3).
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
San Francisco, first come, first served. Panama was pandemonium. Thousands of men had paid for passage to Panama, landing on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus and then crossing by foot or by mule across the dangerous, swampy land to Panama City, where they anxiously awaited passage to San Francisco. There were very few ships to call in those early days of the Gold Rush, and the Niantic was mobbed. Turning down offers of exorbitant sums for a berth, Captain Cleaveland signed on 249 passengers, most of whom paid $150 for a bunk in the hold. A few better-off adventurers paid $250 for a cabin. On May 2, 1849, the Niantic packed with eager fortune seekers, set sail for San Francisco. After a slow passage of sixty-six days, the Niantic entered San Francisco Bay on July 5, 1849. Anchoring in Yerba Buena Cove, which fronted the growing City of San Francisco, the Niantic sent her passengers and their luggage ashore. The crew began to melt away as well. Many other crews had abandoned their vessels for the gold fields; by a year later, over 500 ships were crowded into Yerba Buena Cove. Nine of the Niantic's crew deserted on July 7. When the remaining crew was sent ashore on liberty on the next day, three more deserted. There was trouble with the crew who returned. The steward attempted to stab the captain, was subdued and sent to the sloop-of-war Warren under close arrest. Captain Cleaveland, realizing he had no recourse but to allow his men to go to the gold fields, discharged five men who had asked his leave to go gold mining on July 11. The log breaks off on the 12th-Captain Cleaveland and his sons are ashore with no crew to take the Niantic out of San Francisco, and with little likelihood of raising a new crew. Lying abandoned at anchor, the 14year-old Niantic was useless and an in-
surance risk to her owners. Burr and Smith decided to sell her. In fast-growing San Francisco, labor and building materials were in short supply and very expensive. A feasible alternative to building was to beach and use one of the many vessels lying in Yerba Buena Cove. The Niantic was purchased in the late summer of 1849 for that purpose by Samuel Ward and Adolphe Mailliard. The Niantic was hauled ashore at high tide. Once beached, as the Matthews papers note, "her masts were taken out, her rigging and some of her ballast removed, piles driven into each side to keep her erect, and she was used as a storehouse, if not quite a storeship." The Niantic was used to store merchandise, private luggage, and was also in use as a hotel and offices. A visitor, quoted in Soule's Annals of San Francisco (1858), describes a visit by water to the ship in her new career: "On inquiring where my friend , Mr. S., was located, I was told that I could be landed at a stair-foot leading right to it; and was not a little surprised when we pulled alongside a huge dismantled hulk, surrounded by a strong and spacious stage, connected with the street by a substantial wharf, to find the counting house on the deck of the Niantic, a fine vessel of a thousand tons, no longer a bouyant ship, surmounted by lofty spars and streamers waving in the wind, but a tenement divided into stores and offices and painted over with signs and showboards of various occupants. To this base use was my friend obliged to convert her rather than let her rot at anchor, there being no possibility of getting a crew to send her to sea. Her hull was divided into warehouses, entered by spacious doorways on the sides, and her bulwarks were raised about eight feet , affording a range of excellent offices on the deck , at the level of which a wide balcony was carried around, sur-
mounted by a veranda, approached by a broad, handsome stairway. Both stores and offices found tenants at higher rates than tenements of similar dimensions on shore would, and returned a larger and steadier income, 'as my friend told me, than the ship would have earned if afloat."
The Niantic became part of the quickly changing scene of the San Francisco waterfront, and as the city expanded, the Niantic, like many of her neighbor vessels, found herself part of the shoreline as "waterlots are filled up with sand hills which the steam excavators remove," as noted in the Matthews papers. "This has left many of the old ships, which were a year ago beached as store-houses, in a curious position; for the filled up space that surrounds them has been built upon for some distance, and new streets run between them and the sea . . . "The Niantic was more than three blocks from the sea, and was literally "high and dry" as one resident recalled her. The entire waterfront, the business section of the city and the seat of government in San Francisco were destroyed on May 2, 1851, when fire swept the hills of San Francisco clean. Gone was the Niantic, all but her bottom burned. But that bottom made good foundations for futher building. And the buildings upon the site carried on the tradition of the Niantic; the Niantic Hotel stood on the site from 1851 to 1872, the Niantic Block from 1872 to 1906, and the Niantic Building from 1907 to 1977. Construction activities through the years encountered the remains of the Niantic, causing public comment, especially when portions of her stored merchandise, notably champagne, were uncovered. The Niantic surfaced from her earthfill grave in the heart of San Francisco's financial district in April 1978. Time and financial restriction prevented the preservation of the ship herself. Due to the concerted efforts of the developer of the project, J . Patrick Mahoney, and the San Francisco Maritime Museum, in conjunction with the National Park Service, the artifacts and the stern of the ship were saved along with an eight-foot cross section of the hull. Plans are to preserve these remnants and exhibit the hull section with the artifacts found inside it as they were uncovered, a fitting memorial and reminder of the Niantic, a modern relic of San Francisco's Gold Rush days. In her career and her transition from ship to shoreline, the Niantic was a witness and a participant in creating a new California. .ti 46
The Niantic Observed By William A. Baker
When the Niantic's remains were untion. As shown above, it depicts a plan view of the vessel's structure with covered in San Francisco last April, the waterlines on the inside of the hull at 25 National Trust called in Mr. Baker to centimeter (nearly 10 inch) intervals; the recommend a way to record the characteristics of the ship. Here is his report. standard vertical error of the waterlines is about 11 / 64 of an inch. Knowing the Photogrammetry has been used widely thickness of the ceiling (inner sheathing) in Europe and the United States to record of the frames, it is possible to work and historic buildings and three-dimensional back from these contours to approxart objects. It also has proved a reliable imate the molded lines of the hull-that means of establishing land contours for a is, the shape at the outside of the frames. variety of purposes. Inasmuch as people The run of the contour lines on the plot working with ships tend to think of ship (the waterlines) give an idea of the shape shapes as being defined by waterlines-in of the Niantic's bottom and after body. effect contour lines-photogrammetry In what remained of the Niantic and was an ideal way of preserving the is preserved by photogrammetry, there is characteristics of the ship Niantic. nothing to show that her form differed Photogrammetry, measuring by means from that of the standard packet ship or of photography, has evolved in the past freighter of the 1830s. Thomas Child, century and a quarter into a science inwho built 237 vessels in his Connecticut volving complex procedures and expenRiver shipyard at what is now Middle sive equipment. As a formal science, Haddam, Connecticut, launched the photogrammetry is considered to have Niantic in 1835 for N.L.&G. Griswold begun in France in 1850 with the recordof New York, Connecticut Yankees ing of details of fortifications and other from Old Lyme who formed their New buildings by means of lines of sight deYork firm in 1796. They knew where to rived from photographs taken from two obtain a sound, no-frills ship. .ti or more widely separated positions. This procedure was similar to plane table Mr. Baker, distinguished naval architect surveying. A common procedure today and historian, designed the Mayflower employs stereo photography-a pair of now at Plimoth Plantation, Massaimages taken by two cameras at the same chusetts, the Dove at St. Mary's City, Maryland (see SH 14) and other ships. time-which by means of complicated He is the director of MIT's Francis optical equipment can be studied and Russell Hart Nautical Museum in Cammeasured as if they were the actual obbridge, Massachusetts. ject. Unlike the ordinary stereo camera which produces paired images within a compact body, the two cameras employed for a photogrammetric survey might be several feet apart. The portion of the Niantic uncovered was about 65 per cent of her registered length; the remainder still lies below Transamerica Park west of Sansome Street in the heart of San Francisco's financial district. From the top of her keel to the top of the structure found, close to ~ the turn of the bilge, is about four feet. E The photogrammetric survey of the
Niantic was made and plotted under the direction of Dr. K. Jeyapalan of the California State University of Fresno for the National Trust for Historic Preserva-
By Michael Gillen The growth of interest in ship preservathe Newport News Shipbuilding Co. in tion and maritime history is leading to a Virginia. Named the UST Atlantic, this new sea-awareness among Americans. Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC) is capable of carrying 390,000 deadweight But what about the continuities of that history? tons of oil-about 20 times the capacity I'd like to have two bits for every time of a World War II-vintage T-2 tanker. someone has said to me, in reference to She is 1,187' long, 228' in beam, and my career in the merchant marine: "Oh, draws 70' loaded. She towers 95' from you were in the Marines?'' keel to maindeck, and her rudder is as tall "The merchant marine," I explain. as a four-story building. To explain what that is takes some do"The job was no tougher, really, than ing. For the sake of the old-timers who've any other," said a Newport News Shiphad ships torpedoed out from under yard supervisor, "We just had to think them, and had friends and shipmates bigger." The crew of the UST Atlantic numbers freeze to death in Arctic waters, who kept our ships going when the nation' s exjust 30 seamen. That's fewer than it took istence depended on them, it seems worth to man the old T-2 tanker. And they are trying to explain how American merchant delivering enough oil, when refined, to ships work in seaborne commerce. drive 20,000 cars for 50,000 miles, plus Today the merchant marine is in sad enough heating oil to keep 30,000 homes shape. We're carrying far less of our own warm for a year, plus 26 million gallons commerce than any other maritime naleft over for use in such products as soap, tion. Of goods shipped to or from US aspirin, clothing and lightbulbs. The ships are getting bigger and bigger, ports, only 5 percent-one ton out of twenty-is carried in US ships. That conwhile the crews are getting smaller. What trasts with 50 percent carried on US botthis adds up to is a tremendous increase in toms at the end of World War II. And it productivity of seamen over the last contrasts with these percentages of their decade. This is just one reason why I take strong issue with the claim that American own commerce carried by their own ships, among other maritime nations: seamen are overpaid, and that their wages are the cause of the merchant marine's China-over 30 percent decline. Japan-over 40 percent It may cost something to be strong-a Norway-over 30 percent price that other, poorer nations pay gladSoviet Union-over 50 percent ly. It's to be hoped that we do not have to West Germany-20 percent be taught by history again, how much it costs to be weak. .t What is the matter with us? The lack is clearly not in our ability to build comMr. Gillen, assistant editor of a maritime petitive ships, nor in our ability to sail them efficiently. union newspaper, served in the merchant These facts were dramatically confirmmarine during the Vietnam War. He is ed in a ship launching in February this Assistant Director of the National Socieyear, when the largest ship ever built in ty's Liberty Ship Project, and editor of its newsletter Liberty Log. the Western Hemisphere was floated at UST Pacific was launched at the Newport News Shipyard on September 8 to join her giant sistership Atlantic-the largest ships built in this hemisphere. Photo: Dennis Lundy. Seafarers International Union .
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Photos: Beth Haskeff
The Leavitt Is Launched The coasting schooner John F. Leavitt was launched at Thomaston, Maine on August 8, a little less than two years after her keel was laid by her builder Ned Ackerman. Built of traditional materials to traditional design, she is outfitting as we go to press and scheduled to take a cargo from Quincy, Massachusetts to Haiti. Ackerman, 25 Wadsworth St., Thomaston, ME 04861.
Liberty Ship Is Saved
National Park Service Photograph.
The Jeremiah O'Brien steams triumphantly across San Francisco Bay to Bethlehem Shipyard where she will be restored for public display at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Efforts by thousands of American citizens through the National Liberty Ship Memorial raised more than $600,000 towards the cost of her restoration. In addition, the National Trust for Historic Preservation made a matching grant of $446,000 towards the effort. Major shipbuilders and maritime labor unions pledged repairwork and manpower towards repair of the vessel. The O'Brien, built in 1943 and laid up since 1946, was in such good shape that volunteer engineers were able to raise steam and bring her down under her own power on October 6 for an enthusiastic civic welcome. She is expected to go on public display next May at San Francisco. 47
SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS INTERNATIONAL HMS Warrior, the revolutionary warship Napoleon III called "the black snake among the rabbits," was transferred in June from the Ministry of Defence to the Maritime Trust in Great Britain for preservation. For the past half century the Warrior has served as a hulk at Pembroke Dock near Milford Haven.
The Vancouver Maritime Museum will haul out its schooner Thomas F. Bayard (SH 12:41) as the first step in her restoration. The City of Vancouver has approved the addition of a yacht basin and breakwater in a $2 million upgrading of the city-funded museum facilities scheduled for completion in late 1981. The Bayard, the prime floating exhibit, will be joined by the 70-foot steam tug Master. Museum, 1905 Ogden St., Vancouver BC, Canada V6J 319.
Launched in 1861, her guns, heavy armor and speed made her "the most epoch-making warship in history," in the words of Frank Carr, Chairman of the World Ship Trust Committee. Mr. Carr was interviewed aboard her in a television program attracting international intention, shortly before her adoption by the Maritime Trust. He reports the main structure of the ship and much detail and fittings astonishingly intact. The Yarmouth County Historical Society Museum of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is conducting a study of Yarmouth fishing and transportation under a grant from the Canadian government. The project, including research and display facilities, is due to be completed this year. Museum, 22 Collins St., Yarmouth NS, Canada BSA 3C8.
The Maritime Heritage Fund, adopted at the initiative of the National Society last fall, has now been disbursed by the Department of Interior working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation . Eighty-four projects, in 26 states and Puerto Ri co, have been awarded a total of $5 million in grants that must be matched from other sources. Grants of $50,000 or more follow: California: The China Cabin-$61,500; Capitola Wharf Acquisition-$75,000; East Brothers Light Station-$66,579; Liberty Ship Jeremiah
Historical Ass'n- $31,000; Old Dartmouth Historical Society-$70,000; Peabody Museum of Salem-$124,740; Sea Education Ass'n.-$70,000; USS Massachusetts$125 ,000 . Minne so ta : Split Rock Lightlhouse-$90,000. New Jersey: Twin Lights at Navesink-$132,500. New York: Snug H a rbor Cu ltural Center-$53,600; Wavertree-$180,000; Suffolk Marine Museum$71,174. South Carolina: Brown's Ferry Vessel-$150,000. Texas: Elissa- $527,350. Vermont: Steamer Ticonderoga-$117,500. Virginia: Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeology-$239 ,3 I 5. Washington: Schooner
Wawona-$176,750. For further information: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036. The Ernestina, former ly the Gloucester fishing schooner and Arctic exploration vessel Effie M. Morrissey, is undergoing basic restoration
O'Brien-$436,532 . Connecticut: Charles W. Morgan and Joseph Conrad-$139,032. Hawaii: Falls of Clyde-$59,000, "Look to the Secrets of the Sea"-$104,000. Illinois: Illinois & Michigan Canal-$113,555. Iowa: Upper Mississippi Riverboat Museum$135,000. Maine: Maine Maritime Museum-$60,775; Steamer Katahdin- $37,176: Schooner Bowdoin-$95,000. Maryland: Patuxent Fisheries-$94,826; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum-$56,000; Constellation-$600,000 . Massachusetts: Bosto n Waterfront Planning-$50,000; Nantucket
Bending sail and sending up yards nearly a half century ago, USS Constitution, the frigate launched in 1797 to uphold the rights of the US flag at sea, prepares for her tour of 90 US ports in 1931-34. The tour followed upon an extensive rebuilding started in 1927. Two years earlier it had been planned to scrap the vessel. A national campaign sparked by the contributions of school-children averted this calamity, and led to her rebuilding and recommissioning in the US Navy. Leaving Boston on July 2, 1931, shortly after our picture was taken, she proceeded under tow of the Navy minesweeper Grebe to seacoast cities from Maine to Texas, and from California to the State of Washington, with in-between stops at Cuba and the Panama Canal Zone . Over four million people boarded her in these port visits. The USS Constitution Museum in Boston, keepers of the ship and her heritage today, opened a major exhibition on this tour in August, which will continue through January 1980. USS Constitution Museum, PO Box 1812, Boston MA 02129.
in the Cape Verde Islands under the supervision of th e Massachu sett s Schooner Ernestina Commission, chaired by Julius Britto. The naval architect and historian William Avery Baker is a member of the Commission. The cost of this work is met by the Cape Verde Government, aided by broad-based contributions from friends of the project in the US . She received no support under the Maritime Heritage Fund grants program, although she was named as one of four critical cases in the campaign to secure that fund. A grant of $10,000 made from money rai sed through Operation Sail-1976 has been held ";n escrow" by the National Trust for over a year now. Friends of Ernestina/ Morri ssey, NMHS , 2 Fulton St ., Brooklyn NY 1120 I. The Second Annual Ship Trust Awards were presented to Captain Irving Johnson, on the fiftieth anniversary of his rounding Cape Horn in the bark Peking, and to the Philadelphia Maritime Museum' s 1883 barkentine Gaze/a Primeiro, at the National Maritime Heritage Festival at Newport, Rhode Island on Jul y 14. The Festival , sponsored by the American Sail Training Association , att racted heavy visitation and included educational workshops by such marin ers as England's Stan Hugill. The replicas of the British frigate Rose and John Paul Jones's Providence (see SH 12 for plans and history) , were on hand for on-board demonstrations, along with a host of lesser craft. Shi p Trust Committee, c/ o NMHS, 2 Fulton St. , Brooklyn NY 11201. Th e Philadelphia Maritime Museum and Heritmge Ship Guild joined forces to receive
Continued on p. 50
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The He-Stew From The Watermen by James A. Michener, illustrated by John Moll. ÂŠRandom House, New York, 1979.
Rebuilding the Lockwood over the past five years accomplished one major objective of a museum devoted to continuities in Bay life, showing that a crumbling 90-year-old vessel
could be fully restored for use. It also engaged and gave new life to another important resource-the vanishing skills that build such vessels. Photos: T. Gregory Lynch.
The Lockwood Is Relaunched By R. J. Holt, Director Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum The relaunching of the bugeye Edna E. Lockwood on July 21, 1979, took place at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaeis, Maryland, eight miles northeast of Tilghman Island and 90 years after her original launching in 1889 from John B. Harrison's yard on the island . At this time Harrison was 24 years old-a remarkable young man who had developed a fine reputation and who had already built five bugeyes and numerous other craft. This particular nine-log bugeye had an unusually long working life-78 yearsand had dredged oysters from Tilghman and Cambridge throughout this span of time. By 1968 she was badly run down. Jack Kimberly bought her to save her. A working life of 78 years (compared to the average 20 for Bay workboats) attests to the fine workmanship which went into the Lockwood's original construction. She was given to the Museum in 1973 by Mr. Kimberly and was a "tender," but important, addition to the Museum's growing collection of Chesapeake Bay vessels-the last nine-log working bugeye on the Bay. Over her long career the Lockwood had been repaired many times. Her patch-on-patch condition indicated that
much restoration was vital for her continued existence. In 1975 she was hauled on the Museum's railway and was carefully taken apart to find the stable platform upon which to rebuild. The process of disassembling was carefully recorded. It was decided that all that could remain were her nine bottom logs, which were sound. She was originally built in less than a year; but reconstruction took almost five years, as available funds set the pace for the work. Through small contributions of many interested friends of the Museum, an important gift from Richard H. Grant, Jr., and a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, relaunching occurred on a bright July day with many well-wishers, including descendants of the original builder present. James A. Michener, a friend of the Museum, was also on board to make this day an especially festive one. Jim had arranged through Random House to donate to the Museum the first 500 copies of his new book, The Watermen, illustrated by John Moll, a local artist. These books were given to subscription guests at a fund-raising party to support Museum projects at which the working skipjack captains of the Bay were also honored guests. Jim Michener's continued interest and support of the Museum, and his participation in the launching ceremonies, made the Lockwood's deck a most fitting spot upon which he and John Moll discussed with the press The Watermentheir tribute to these working men of the Bay. Author Michener, at left, and artist John Moll discuss their joint effort, The Watermen-illustrated extracts from Mr. Michener's novel The Chesapeake. The author moved to the Bay area to write the novel, and spent much time with Bay people, afloat and ashore.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
A she-stew was the traditional one served throughout the Chesapeake ... a great opening course but somewhat feeble for workingmen. A he-stew was something quite different, and Big Jimbo mumbled to himself as he prepared his version. 'First we takes a mess of bacon and fries it crisp.' As he did this he smelled the aroma and satisfied himself that Steed's had sold him the best. As it sizzled he chopped eight large onions and two hefty stalks of celery, holding them back till the bacon was done. Deftly he whisked the bacon out and put it aside tossing the vegetables into the hot oil to saute. Soon he withdrew them, too, placing them with the bacon. Then he tossed the forty-eight oysters into the pan, browning them just a little to implant a flavor, then quickly he poured in the liquor from the oysters and allowed them to cook until their gills wrinkled .
Other ship's cooks followed the recipe this far, but now Big Jimbo did the two things that made his he-stew unforgettable. From a precious package purchased from the McCormick Spice Company on the dock in Baltimore he produced first a canister of tapioca powder. 'Best thing ever invented for cooks' in his opinion. Taking a surprisingly small pinch of the whitish powder, he tossed it into the milk, which was about to simmer, and in a few minutes the moisture and the heat had expanded the finely ground tapioca powder into a very large translucent, gelatinous mass. When he was satisfied with the progress he poured the oysters into the milk, tossed in the vegetables, then crumbled the bacon between his fingers, throwing it on top. The sturdy dish was almost ready, but not quite. From the McCormick package he brought out a packet of saffron, which he dusted over the stew, giving it a golden richness, augmented by the half-pound of butter he threw in at the last moment. This melted as he brought the concoction to the table, so that when the men dug in, they found before them one of the richest, tastiest stews a marine cook had ever devised. 'Do we eat this good every day?' Caveny asked, and Big Jimbo replied, 'You brings me the materials, I brings you the dishes.' .t
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the Polish sail training ship Dar Pomorza at Penn's Landing during Freedom Week celebrations, June 30-July 8. A fleet led by the Museum's barkentine Ga.zela Primeiro was on hand to greet her. The Dar Pomorza was on its last visit to the US before retiring to become a museum ship . The Polish Government is building a new sail training vessel to take her place.
The Long Island Nautical Heritage Foundation held a two-month program of concerts, seminars and visiting ships in eight Long Island ports, September 2-0ctober 28 this fall. Program centered on the brigantine Young America. The Fomndation's long-range plans include setting up a permanent historical center, perhaps at Port Jefferson. Foundation, 882 Mid Island Plaza, Hicksville NY 11801.
The Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones's Revolutionary War flag ship sunk off Flamborough Head, England in battle with HMS Serapis (SH 12) , was the subject of an extensive underwater search this summer, covering 106 square miles of ocean bottom in four weeks with side-scan sonar. Clive Cussler, best-selling author and sponsor of the effort, reports much accomplished in narrowing the field of search for the wreck, which will be the subject of future expeditions. Says Mr. Cussler: "Captain Cousteau has shown us the natural beauty of the oceans. It's time we discovered how much of our human history is down there, too ."
The Oceanic Society's Long Island Sound Task Force held a festival, "Soundfest 79, " on September 29-30. Soundfest brought the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Society's newly launched 40 ' research vessel Oceanic, and Schooner Inc. 's bugeye J. W. Carter to Bridgeport, along with a number of Sound working craft. Society, Stamford Marine Center, Magee Ave_, Stamford CT 06902.
The Oceanics Schools, founded in 1970, has made voyages in the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, the Captain Scott and other ships in a unique program in which "the world is a classroom." Their program is now affiliated with Prince Henry College in the Azores, an institution devoted to broad-spectrum learning from the sea. Both full-semester and shorter programs are offered. Financial assistance is given to more than half the students, thanks to the generosity of various supporters. Oceanics, 365 West End Ave., New York NY 10024.
The Suffolk Marine Museum has received a $60,000 matching grant from the Endowment for the Humanities for a two-year study of shell fishing on Great South Bay, focusing on 1890-1900, which will lead to a major museum exhibit and publication. The Museum has also received matching grants totalling $71, 174 for restoration of the oyster sloop Modesty and for the Frank F. Penney Boatshop. Museum, Montauk Highway, West Sayville NY 11796.
The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum has named Robert Farwell, formerly of Mystic seaport, as its first full-time director. The Museum plans to strengthen membership and educational program centering on its fine collection on the history of the famous whaling port on the north shore of Long Island. Museum, Box 25 , Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724.
The Gloucester Fishermens Museum, a relatively new venture, reports growing visitation to its exhibits on the port's 356-year history. Launched three years ago, with the support of local businesses, its program includes harbor tours, and visits to the working fleet at Community Wharf. Open 10:00-4:30 (Sunday 12:00-4:30). Museum, Rogers and Porter Streets, Gloucester MA 01930.
The Philadelphia Maritime Museum has announced the appointment of Philip Chadwick Foster Smith as curator. Mr. Smith, associated for the past 16 years with the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, will continue as Managing Editor of their scholarly journal American Neptune. Museum, 321 Chestnut Street., Philadelphia PA 19106.
The historic fleet at Mystic Seaport was joined this summer by a small working tug, the Kingston II. Donated by the Electric Boat Works, the tug served for 42 years at their Thames River shipyard. The 44 ' tug now works with the veteran 34' lobster boat Star in handling Seaport ships, and is also equipped for fire-fighting. As summer ended the seaport, which runs a very active year-round program, opened a new show in the Schaefer Gallery. Entitled "Fifty Years of Collecting," it is the first in a series of exhibits commemorating the Museum's fiftieth anniversary. Seaport, Mystic CT 06355. Schooner Inc. now conducts its Long Island Sound environmental program in the bugeye J. W. Carter, which replaces the schooner Trade Wind, now sold to private owners. (SH 14 erroneously reported Trade Wind had been retained in addition to Carter.) Schooner Inc., 60 South Water St., New Haven CT 06514.
The Calvert Marine Museum held a festival October 6-7 to celebrate Patuxent River Appreciation days, focusing on the " economic, cultural, and scenic and recreational importance of the Patuxent River." Boat rides in tugs and historic bay craft by sea, seafood feasts and pony rides by shore were offered. The Museum is the recipient of a $94,826 grant from the Maritime Heritage Fund for "Historical Preservation of Patuxent River Commercial Fisheries Industry." Museum, PO Box 97, Solomons MD 20688. The Mariners Museum has acquired the 135-ton triple-expansion engine of the Liberty Ship Dionysus, which served as a repair ship in the Pacific during World War II. The giant steam engine will be a central feature of the Museum's planned display on the history of marine propulsion. Museum, Newport News VA 23606.
Continued on p. 53
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Commerce& Culture in South Street South Street Seaport Museum announced on September 27 an agreement in principle with the City of New York, New York State and the Rouse Company of Columbia, Maryland, to undertake a major commercial development in the historic Seaport district on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Governor Carey, Mayor Koch and others joined with James R. Shepley, Chairman of the Museum , in outlining the $210 million plan. The Rouse Company, sponsor of major seaport developments in Boston and Baltimore, will invest $60 million in creating a Seaport Market on the site. This will include a 110,000 square-foot pier platform replacing delapidated piers just north of the Museum's fleet of historic ships, centering about the square riggers Wavertree and Peking. Earlier, it was announced that the Wavertree had
received a $180,000 grant from the Interior Department's Maritime Heritage Fund, adopted at the initiative of the National Society last fall. The Museum's primary block of buildings, dating from 1797, is currently being restored with a $3.8 million Department of Commerce grant, under restoration plans funded by the Vincent Astor Foundation. The plan also includes new facilities for the Fulton Fish Market, located on this site since the 1820s. The Museum's income from the commercial development, derived through complex leasing agreements, will be used to support its educational programs and to maintain its public areas, historic ships and buildings. "With this arrangement," said Chairman Shepley, "the Museum will not have the day-to-day worries that have confronted it since its founding."
NEW YORK GUIDE New York's Free Weekly Paper The paper that supports New York supports the National Maritime Hi storical Society
East River Renaissance Report It's not time for the fireworks yet, but across the East River from South Street Seaport, new progress is being made in the cultural and economic development of the whole East River basin in a joint planning and action project called "East River Renaissance.'' (A summary report of these plans and activities appeared in SH 13.) Public interest and support has brought forward projects ranging from a revived Fulton Ferry to a restoration of the Fulton Street trolley (dodging the trolley gave the Brooklyn Dodgers their name; and the trolley opened the seaside experience of Coney Island and the Rockaways to families long in city pent). On October 17, hundreds of riverside dwellers and visitors assembled to ride a "ferry for a night" provided by various vessels lent for the occasion, and the City Department of Ports & Terminals an-
nounced the opening of bidding for the establishment of a full ferry service. During the summer, an interim State Park opened in Empire Stores, the nineteenth-century warehouse property north of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn shore, and Federally funded improvements were made to the pier site south of the Bridge, landing point for the Fulton Ferry, where the National Society has its headquarters. A permanent fixture at the National Society's pier is Olga's Music Barge, which provides a meeting hall for the Society and the community, and remarkably well received concerts. The Brooklyn Bridge itself, one of the wonders of its age celebrated by poet, novelist and painter, will celebrate its hundredth birthday on May 1983. Kenneth L. Burns of Florentine Films is producing a movie for that event, and an enterprising crew in Holland is getting out a newsletter on Bridge lore (subscription is $12: Brooklyn Bridge Bulletin, Kwendelhof 113, Tilburg, Holland). Feeling that the most important celebration of the Bridge would be the revival of life on the river it spans, and the opening of its shores to public enjoyment, the National Society invites the world to join in support of the East River Renaissance project. Those contributing $5 or more will receive regular bulletins to be kept apprised of progress. Renaissance, NMHS, 2 Fulton St., Brooklyn 11201.
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Capt. McDonald of Moshulu on His 99th Birthday glasses but he doesn't miss anything. On leaving I thanked him for allowing me to visit. He took my hand and with a firm handshake said l was a fine looking woman andl he was glad to see someone still knew how to dress (thank God I'd worn a skirt!).
By Karen H. Love, Curator, Moshulu
"Put this Moshulu against the best and, all things being equal, l can show you the winner, "said Captain McDonald in a letter to the New York Herald Tribune in December 1931. There had been talk of getting a ship under the American flag in the Australian grain trade. The big bark Moshulu, seized by the US Government in World War l, had sailed under McDonald's command then been laid up. Later bought by Gustav Erikson, she did indeed win the last Grain Race in 1939, in the fast time of 91 days. The Moshulu is now restored as a museum ship with a restaurant aboard in Philadelphia; here the curator records a visit to Captain McDonald. Captain P.A. McDonald, last surv1V1ng master of the Moshulu, turned 99 on July 31. In J. Ferrell Colton's Windjammers Significant, there is a passage describing McDonald: "A big man who is every inch the seaman, Captain McDonald is stern of mien, imbued with a deep sense of justice, skilled, as were few men in his profession; he is a rigid disciplinarian with a keen appreciation for those who did their best while possessing an intuitive dislike of inefficiency and sham." Now I was on my way to see this extraordinary captain. He stood erect as I entered his apartment, invited me to sit down and was rather slow to talk. I described the restoration work that is taking place aboard the Moshulu and reassured him on the quality of the work with numerous photographs and articles. I also delivered greetings from one member of his crew who asked to be remembered to him. He immediately answered with the man's nickname and a quick story about him. I noticed all my correspondence in a neat pile next to his chair and was gratified that my letters were in the excellent company of Windjammers Significant. When I finally convinced him that I was the woman who had been writing him for two years, he loosened up. He told me he would be 99 the last day of July, and that he lived alone, adding with a chuckle that Inez, his daughter, came on alternate days to check on him. We then walked along his study area full of momentos-an excellent painting of the William Dollar, photographs of the Moshulu, the Dunsyre, the Buckingham and many of his other commands. When asked about the different ships he had sailed aboard, he spoke well of Flying Cloud, built as the Buckingham.
* * * Captain McDonald's Career Compiled by Andre M. Armbruster, Harbormaster, Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Capt. P.A. McDonald aboard the William Dollar, 1925. Courtesy the author.
He went on to tell me the ship had been christened by Queen Victoria in Liverpool in 1888-"I call you Buckingham, a fit name for a royal ship. May all your voyages be fortunate and prosperous,'' he quoted. He said that all who sailed her felt the beautiful figurehead was Queen Victoria. He had come aboard her in 1918 as chief officer. They had sailed to New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines, where the Captain passed away and McDonald took command. I asked him about the Moshulu. He said he had been rather busy while aboard her, he had other ships to care for at the time. He shared lovely photographs of his wife and Inez aboard the Moshulu, where they had lived . He firmly stated the quarters were very nice but didn't compare with those aboard American ships. I asked him about his favorite command and he replied that the William Dollar was because she was a very big ship (3239 tons) . We then talked generally about crews and life aboard. His alert eyes light up when talking about his ships, and he seemed delighted when I told him I'd have recognized him from his 1935 photograph. He may wear
1880: Born July 31st. Went to sea at age 16. 1896 to 1905: Sailed before the mast first in British & Nova Scotian vessels, then American square-riggers and schooners. 1905: Went as 2nd mate on the ship William H. Macy and later in the Charles E. Moody; then as chief mate in the barque Carondelet. 1906: Mate in the ship Henry Failing. 1907: Mate in the ship William H. Smith. 1908 to 1917: Mate in a number of big schooners and barkentines such as the 5-masted schooner Crescent and the 4-masted barkentine Lahaina. 1917: Mate, then captain of the 4-masted bark Flying Cloud, (later named Muscoota). 1918 to 1921: Commanded the 3-masted schooner Corona, the 4-masted barkentine Jane L. Stanford and the ship Dunsyre. 1922 to 1926: Captain of the 4-masted bark
William Dollar. 1927 to 1935: Captain of Moshulu. After her last US voyage ended in 1928, he remained aboard her with his wife and daughter until she was sold to the Finnish shipowner Gustav Erikson in 1935 . During the years the Moshulu was laid up at Lake Union and Winslow, Washington, Captain McDonald with a small crew, maintained her and other Nelson Company vessels such as the 4-masted bark Monongahela, the 6-masted schooner Fort Laramie, the 5-masted schooner Thistle, the 5-masted barkentine Monitor, the 4-masted bark Daylight, etc. With the sale of the Moshulu the McDonalds moved aboard the Monongahela until she was sold several years later to become a logging barge. 1941: Helped in the conversion of the gam bling barge Tango (Moshulu's sister ship Hans, converted to a barge in 1936) into a 6-masted schooner. She was sold to Portugal in 1943 -the last large cargo-carrying sailing vessel under the US flag. .t
Moshulu, from a portrait in Captain McDonald's home. Courtesy Col. Phillips Melville.
SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS The Hampton Mariners Museum put on its annual Heritage Boat Show and Regatta, September 24-30, highlighted by rowing demonstrations, and a maritime history cruise in Beaufort Harbor. The Museum' s Heritage Boat Shop, open to visitors daily, exhibited two traditional craft built under the direction of master builder Geoffrey Scofield. Museum, 102 Turner St., Beaufort NC 28516.
CAPE COD CATBOAT
LAKES & RIVERS The Alvin Clark, built of oak at Trenton, Michigan in 1846, and recovered by the salvage diver Frank Hoffman in 1969, goes begging for support as she deteriorates at her
from Osterville, home of the Cape Cod catboat, we are pleased to offer a traditionally styled tie, available in three colors: navy blue with two catboat motifs in white with red pennants; Brewster green or burgundy red with two white motifs and gold pennants. One catboat is tacking toward you, the other passing on a broad reach. Of soft-weave polyester. Please specify blue, red, or green. On ly $8.95 (please add $1 for delivery) each. © 1979 Yankee Accent.
WEST COAST The Los Angeles Maritime History Museum, which has been working five years to establish a facility in the former ferry terminal at San Pedro, reports that the building has now been renovated at a cost of over $1 million through an Economic Development Administration grant. Further progress has been arrested while authorities debate how the museum should be set up and funded. Museum, PO Box 1470, San Pedro CA 90733. The San Diego Maritime Museum Association received from the National Trust its annual President's award for achievement in historic preservation. The Trust especially commended the restoration of the British iron ship Star of India, built in 1863 as the Euterpe (see SH 5). The Museum also maintains the Berkeley, a San Francisco ferry of 1898, and the Medea, a 120-foot British steam yacht which served in both World Wars and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. Museum, 1306 North Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92101. San Jose State University will hold a one-day conference on November 8, 1980, entitled "Passage to the Promised Land; The Role of Shipping in Pacific Coast Development, 1849-1939." Suggestions for topics should be forwarded to the University by May 1, 1980. Maritime History Conference, History Department, San Jose State University, San Jose CA 95192. The National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, assumed title to the paddle tug Eppleton Hall on August 23. Built in 1914 in South Shields, England, the Hall was restored and steamed 11,000 miles to San Francisco by Scott Newhall in a six-month voyage in 1969-70 (SH 8). The Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien, recipient of a $436,532 grant from the Maritime Heritage Fund, is being moved to Fort Mason prior to restoration and possible acquisition by the National Mu seum . Museum, GGNRA, Fort Mason, San Francisco Ca 94123 . The Mary D. Hume, built as a coastal freighter and towboat in 1881 , which subsequently served as a steam whaler in Arctic waters, and in her latter days as tugboat in Puget Sound, was donated to the Curry County Historical Society in Oregon by Crowley Maritime last spring. A grant of $22,500 toward her restoration has been made from the Maritime Heritage Fund.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
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berth in Menominee where Hoffman and hi s wife keep her on public display. Although listed as one of four critical "must-do" projects in the campaign for the Maritime Heritage Fund, she has received no support from that fund or from any other. The National Society, with two other critical ship projects on its hands, cannot unaided muster the organi zational support needed for the preservation of thi s priceless relic-the most intact l 9thcentury ship in America. Those with ideas or access to support are invited to be in touch , before the unforgiva ble happens and we lose this ship, to the shame of the nation. The Hudson Maritime Heritage Museum held a festival September 8-9 at Rondout Creek in Kingston, the timeless Hudson River town founded in Peter Stuyvesant's time , which served as the first capital of New York during the Revolution. The Museum , formed under the aegis of the National Society is th e o ffspring of a coalition of fourteen institutions interested in the heritage of the river including the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Sleepy Hollow Restorations. Among the participants in the Fest ival were the American Maritime Academy' s steam-yacht Kestrel, last coal-fired steamer on the river, the Delaware & Hudson Cana l Society and South Street Seaport Museum, whose contributed exhibitions spanned the Hudson navigation from Indian times onward. Mu seum, NMHS, 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY I 1201. The USS Cairo, the last surviving gunboat of the Civil War, was raised from the Yazoo River in 1964-and for the last fifteen years has been a prime example of "how not to do it," with nearly half the recovered structure lost through lack of proper conservation. The National Park Service has now embarked on a $1 million program to display her remains in the Vicksburg National Military Park. Regional Director Joe Brown has said that the restoration of the Cairo, with the restoration by the State of Mississippi of the steamer Sprague, will make Vicksburg a center of Mississippi River history: "Two historically significant boats; the real thing." .t
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SEA HISTORY PRINTS Presents a set of four Hudson Steamboat Prints by the noted marine artist WILLIAM G . MULLER
Th e Syracuse of 1857
Finely printed on canvas-grained paper, these full color prints capture the elegance and romance of a vanished era. Image size 8" x 12". Set of four $20 To: National Maritime Historical Society, 2 Fulton St., Brooklyn NY 11201. sets(s) of Please send me four Hudson Steamboat Prints. My check for$ is enclosed. NAM E
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Z IP _ _ _ __
When in Mystic visit the TRADEWINDS GALLERY Currently showing:
Paintings by Suzy Aalund, ASMA Watercolors by Willard Bond Marine photos by Frank Klay And other marine and New England scenes
TRADEWINDS GALLERY 15 W. Main St. (near the bridge) Mystic, Conn. 06355 Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM or by appointment (203) 536-0119
AMERICAN MARINE A Research Project By Raymond D. White My present home port of Nashville is a long way from blue water-although you can get to the sea from here by way of the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It hasn't always been this way, though. Years of vacationing in Florida brought me into contact with the Atlantic at an early age, and residence in south Mississippi only a few miles from the Gulf Coast led to more contact with the sea. I can still remember a trip to the docks at Mobile when I was about ten or eleven, and one of the freighters that was loading there. It was a Panamanian ship, absolutely covered with rust from its dead vertical stem to its jutting poop . The ship was a good forty or fifty years old then, and it reeked of the romance of far away places as well as the exhaustion and decay caused by a hard life and monumental neglect. From that start I went on to college in the Boston area; graduate school in New York; then spent two years on one of Uncle Sam's destroyers operating in the Atlantic. All of these experiences planted in me an attachment to the sea and ships that I' m sure will never be erased by time and distance-both of which now separate me from those years. After settling down as a civil engineer and accumulating enough extra funds, I began to acquire a few paintings and prints. One of the first was an etching by the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, showing a turn-of-the-century steamer with two staysails set, plowing through a choppy sea off a headland . This etching was followed by a Chinese oil showing a British warship anchored in Hong Kong harbor (ca. 1860). Through these pictures and others I developed an interest in marine art. I wanted to learn more about it-particularly about American marine art. It didn' t take too much work to discover that there was only a minimum of information available. Until just a few years ago, once you got past Professor John Wilmerding's books and M. V. and Dorothy Brewington' s catalogues you were down to articles and show catalogues. Since then there has been a substantial increase of interest in marine art and number of valuable and enjoyable books on American marine artists have appeared. Among these are Rudolph J. Schaefer's book on J . E . Buttersworth,
A. J. Peluso's book on James and John Bard and Katrina Sigsbee Fischer's biography of her father Anton Otto Fischer. Marine art is vigorous today in America, and the most famous artist are becoming known to the general public through shows, articles and books such as The Marine Paintings of Carl G. Evers. But the subject is still far more in the shadows than in the light. One important gap in our knowledge is the lack of any comprehensive directory of American marine artists. By the time I determined to my satisfaction that there was no such listing, I had already garnered the names and other information on several hundred artists. I decided that whatever the outcome, it would be enjoyable to pursue this search, and for about five years that's what I've been doing. I now have the names of over 1300 "confirmed" American marine artists as well as over 100 "possibles." I hope someday to turn this and other information into a book that combines a dictionary of American marine artists with a text that covers aspects such as regional schools, very early work, and others that either have not been explored or haven't been very thoroughly covered . At my pressent rate of advance this book won't be finished for five to ten more years, so I'm very happy that the National Maritime Historical Society and the American Society of Marine Artists have colaborated to publish a checklist giving the names and life dates, or working period, of all the artists currently identified. I hope the checklist will be useful to scholars, aficionados and art dealers and that it will encourage people to send me corrections and new information. My research has been enjoyable in personal terms because of the fine people I have met and the beautiful and interesting works of art l have seen. Its greatest fascination has been that I have come to realize that this school of art that is generally relegated by serious art scholars to a remote position in the heirarchy of art, is in its own way a great mirror of American life. Perhaps, in fact, it is a greater reflection of the life and times of our people than some other schools o f art that are acorded higher status and have received much more study and attention . It is true that marine art as a subjective SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
ARTISTS: art has some limitations. It can ' t go the distance to complete abstraction-but, then, neither can portraiture. It is also true that some historic marine " art" that is embraced with open arms by the faithful would never pass muster as academic art and might not even qualify as good primitive art. Some of it is only illustration, and poor illustration at that. But this only serves to point up one of the charms of marine art: the subject is all important. It may be clothed in great technique and presented with a depth of feeling that combines to form a masterpiece, or it may barely have gotten from the pencil to the paper, but either way the marine subject strikes its chord with those who know the sea. The breadth of American marine art stretches from the abstract works of Lyonel Feininger and John Marin through impressionists such as Childe Hossarn and Mabel M. Woodward, luminists William S. Haseltine and Fitz Hugh Lane, realists like Thomas Birch and Robert Salmon to inspired primitives like the Bards and Jurgen Friedrich Huge, and on to old sailors like Ashley Bowen whose works are crude but have the ring of truth. There have been many artists whose work has been limited almost completely to marine works, such as A. T. Bricher, Antonio Jacobson and J . E. Buttersworth. But there are many, famous for their work in other fields, who have made exciting contributions to marine painting on the few occasions when they turned their ,,
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At top, The Embarkation o f Domine Bogardus from New Amsterdam August 17, 1647 attributed to Augustine Herrman. Herrman is one of the earliest recorders of American scenes. N ote the shape of the row boat and the small size of the waiting ships. Courtesy, Museum of the City of New York. The renowned American portraitist John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) showed a fin e hand f or the look and feel of the ships of his day in his dramatic painting of a harbor rescue, "Brook Watson and the Shark." Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Paul Revere is not thought of as a marine artist, but in this engraving of his of 1768, the vessels are meticulously drawn. Courtesy, the Ne w York Public Library.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Second Annual Exhibition of the
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MARINE ARTISTS .. WAVERTREE .. by Chas. Lundgren
Featuring Fifty of AmericaÂˇs Leading Contemporary Marine Artists at the
GRAND CENTRAL ART GALLERIES, INC. Biltmore Hotel. 43rd St.& Madison Ave. New York. N.Y.
December 5 through 21. 1979 catalog available Nov. 15. â&#x20AC;˘2 00 Monday to Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ~ from: A.S.M.A.. 44 Pearl Road. Nahant. Mass. 01908 Sponsored by:
IOT CORPORATION, PHILADELPHIA, PA.
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hand to it. Artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Sully, Saint"Memin and John Singleton Copley come to mind. Along with those whose names are well known, tthere is a legion who are obscure or virtuailly unrecorded. Every sizeable port, and many of the small ones, had its local seascape or ship painter almost unknown to the rest of the world. These paintings are either lost or have been handed down through the generations of the original purchaser's family with little comment or excitement. Many an old sailor drew a few pictures to recall for his friends or family the old days when he was before the mast-or on the quarterdeck. The growing interest in marine are is beginning to bring some of these people out of their obscurity, but there is still a great deal left to be revealed. American marine art has flourished on and in sight of salt water on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. It has also nourished itself on fresh water-some of it pretty muddy at that. The Great Lakes, are just as broad as some of the worlds salt water seas and shipping on the lakes holds all of the fascination and danger of ocean shipping. This milieu has produced a number of fine marine artists such as Seth Arca Whipple and George Washington Whistler, who was James A. McNeill Whistler's father. And, of course, J. A. M. Whistler is well known for his marine paintings . The Hudson River has provided the locale for a great many marine paintings and the Mississippi-MissourOhio River system has been the inspiration for marine paintings ranging from George Caleb Brigham's "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri" and Seth Eastman's views of the upper Mississippi to numerous works ranging from river steamboats to ocean-going ships at New Orleans. In time, American marine art stretches back from today's vigorous activity to a good many eighteenth and even seventeenth century works and even further to one amateur artist who worked in the new world in the sixteenth century. The artist was John White, an English explorer-adventurer who produced at least five marine watercolors in what is now North Carolina during colonization attempts in the 1580s. The subject of American marine art has been a fascinating study and it promises to continue indefinitely to provide more to study and to delight. .t Mr. White lives and works in Nashville, and invites inte"ested readers to send their suggestions for th1e checklist to him at 3901 Harding Rd., Apt 5([)4, Nashville, Tenn. 37205.
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Announces a limited-edition of 1,000 signed and numbered full -color lithographic art prints of Charles Darwin's Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle from a painting by the marine artist
RAYMOND A. MASSEY
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Seaport Magazine is just one of the benefits of membership in the South Street Seaport Museum ... Advance no ti ce of eve nt s, free admission to ou r hi storic shi ps. a nd d iscou nt s in th e Museum shops, to eve nts, and to ha r bor sai ls a re just a few of the o th ers.
In 1832, the Admiralty assigned Captain Robe rt Fitzroy to explo re and map tht dangerous wate rs surrounding Tierra del Fuego. Charles Darwin , a young, unknown naturalist accompanied this historic five year voyage of the Beagle. From his no tes and observations of thi s adventure, Darwin published his Origin of the Species in 1859 and rocked the civili zed world. Print image size is 25" x 20". Signed print, $40. Signed and remarqued print, $85. Order from:
TYNE PRINTS 112 Walton Drive, Buffalo, New York 14226
SEA HISTORY PRINTS
South Street Seaport Muse um 203 Front St., New York, NY 10038 O Please send me more information!
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A collection of important harbor and river views during the heyday of the merchant sailing ship by the renowned marine artist
JOHN STOBART PITTSBURG H IN 1900 (show n above) • MAIDEN LANE, NEW YORK• WAYNE C ITY LANDING • VALLEHO WHAR F, SAN FRANC ISCO • START OF TH E SANTA FE TRAIL
Published as signed, limit ed edition collector 's print s, prices are $200 signed and $400 remarqued, except for "Start of th e Santa Fe Trail" which is $300 signed, $600 remarq ued. Other prints are also available. All prices are su bject· to change by availab ilit y and the dictates of the co ll ector' s market. Through th e generosi ty of the art ist, half the cost of each print will go to benefit the work of the NMHS, and is therefore, tax-deductible. This offer is ava ilab le to NMHS members only. For more information please contact:
NATIONAL MARITIM E HISTORICAL SOCIETY 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Tel : 212-858-1348 SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
THE BOOK LOCKER By Alfred T. Hill The sea novel bloomed early with Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Smollett ' s Roderick Random in England, and James Fenimore Cooper's The Pilot in the United States~books that live in the general body of literature two centuries later. In our exploration of what may be counted as literature, two giant figures emerge unquestionably from the swamping flood of novels on seafaring: England's Joseph Conrad, and America's Herman Melville. Charles Lewis, in that invaluable handbook, Books of the Sea, says that "Conrad has done in modern literature for sailors what Millet with his brush did for the French peasants." Of the old seaman Singleton in The Nigger of the Narcissus, he observes: "This monumental and elemental character practically sums up Conrad's philosophy of the sea, which he thought tested all the superficialities and pretenses of civilization and soomer or later revealed the real character of a man and the fibre of his stuff."
To this Morton Dauer Zabel adds: ''There can be little doubt that he brought the sea tale to its finest point of artistry in English literature." And Conrad's contemporary Virginia Woolf, who wrote of quite different scenes, noted simply: "The Nigger of the Narcissus is one of the books which are surely secure of their place among the classics.'' Herman Melville's reputation has only grown in the century since he wrote. England's poet-laureate John Masefield, himself a seaman, said: "Melville seems to have spoken the very secret of the sea, and to have drawn into his tale all the magic, all the sadness, all the joy of many waters ." Somerset Maugham, naming Moby Dick one of the world's ten best novels, says: " . . . at its best it has a copious magnificence, a sonority, a grandeur, an eloquence that no modern writer, so far
Joy in the Work as I know, has achieved." Strong language! And he continues: " But, of course, it is the sinister and gigantic figure of Captain Ahab that pervades the book and gives it emotional quality. I can think of no creature of fiction that approaches his stature. You must go to the Greek dramatists for anything like that sense of doom with which everything you are told about him fills you, and to Shakespeare to find beings of such terrible power."
From these heights, I come with sinking and uneasy feelings to much of what passes for sea literature today. We find clever craftsmanship and exciting plots, but little vision, little of the beauties and terrors of the sea. Crude incident and shocking language do not mask these deficiencies . The spirit of sea literature lives elsewhere lately, in non-fiction works-most notably in the writings of the late Samuel Eliot Morison. A recent anthology of his work, Sailor Historian, makes a good introduction to his varied interests, on which he wrote with ultimate authority and grace. His work is a touchstone against which to measure all other writings on the sea. Rachel Carson' The Sea Around Us and Under the Sea Wind are classic introductions to the natural history of the sea. For all the special interests that cluster round man's relations with the sea, one might well turn for guidance to the Book Catalog of the Mystic Seaport Museum Store (Mystic CT 06355). Sea literature, from Homer's and the Psalmists' day to this, is as varied and lively as the sea itself. Smith and Weller in their admirable Sea Fiction Guide, say it all: "Here then is the stuff of nations, the full complement of humanity on its ship of state .. . . " This concludes Dr. Hill's thr:ee-part series on sea literature, excerpted from lectures given for the Sea Education Association at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Books of the Sea
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CHARLIE BROWN 'S
In Praise of Sailors: A Nautical Anthology of Art, Poetry, and Prose, ed . Herbert H. Warden, III (New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1978, 299 pp., illus., $45). This glorious retrospective gathering of art and literature admirably reflects the ways of life of men at sea toward the end of the Cape Horn trade in sail. Forty tipped-in color plates do full justice to the work of leading artists of this scene, from yesterday's Jack Spurling to today's John Stobart, and there are almost 100 line drawings and engravings, from Arthur Briscoe, who sailed in turn-of-century ships, to the very-much-alive Wm. Gilkerson, whose sailing in a latter-day ship is recorded elsewhere in this SH. What pleasure, too, to come on Whistler's Thames River scenes, and
James McNeil/ Whistler, 1859
other unexpected treats along the way. The writings are all alive, and follow upon one another in a loosely strung sequence approximating a voyage to China and back. John Masefield, Felix Riesenberg, Joseph Conrad speak authoritatively of experience at sea, the main burden being carried by such sailormen who are also artists of the written word; they are joined by Herman Melville, Rudyard Kipling, C. Fox Smith, and others who have true things to say. What a company to bring to one table! Each artist speaks for himself, and Mr. Warden brings out their best, from wide and deep acquaintance. This is no mere babble of voices, or accidental gathering; an era and a way of life speak fullblooded in this testament. Details shine: R.G. Herbert, Jr ., contributes a diagram showing where clewlines, sheets and halyards are belayed, so you can find your way to the right pin on a dark night aboard a full-rigger; Joseph Conrad's letter to the men sailing in Tusitala half a• century ago is reproduced in holograph (and what art is reflected in the actual shape of the words as he wrote them! ) as an envoi to the whole. Mr. Warden is a yachtsman, as was SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
BOOKS Joseph Conrad's Marlow, and indeed Conrad himself. That perspective shows at some points, as a modest counterpoint, a way to come at the sea today. But above all he is a good host. The scholar may join the general reader at his table. (How many remember Riesenberg's defense of Bully Waterman, incidentally picked up here?) Some have poked at holes here or there in commenting on this book, or found things they would have done differently. They may sit back from this table. The rest of us may join Mr. Warden's party with more than some joy, and thank him, as this reader does, for holding it! PS
Sailing Fishermen in Old Photographs, by Collin Elliot, (Tops'! books, 9, Queen Victoria Street, Reading, England, 64 pp., illus ., ÂŁ1.50). Steam Fishermen in Old Photographs, by Collin Elliot, (Tops'! books, 9, Queen Victoria Street, Reading, England, 64 pp., illus. , ÂŁ1.'75). These beautiful books present photographs made by three generations of the Jenkins family, who have observed
A $.iilor's Life in 1he Ni nc.' tt'(TUh Cnwury
the comings and goings of the British fishing industry since the 1890s from their home in the Suffolk port of Lowestoft. Beginning with Harry Jenkins in the years of the sailing fishermen and continuing with the work of son Ford who portrayed the steam-powered drifters, and grandson Peter who today photographs the dieselengined stern trawlers, the Jenking have created a priceless record of the changing fishery. Colin Elliot's excellent text gives the story behind the photographs, and he brings the reader right to the waterfront. Sailing Fishermen chronicles the life of Lowestoft from 1890 to the early 1900s. The most important fish for the port was herring, and the fish trade boomed as the railway expanded in the late 19th century. The port was crowded with drifters, luggers, Scottish zulus and fifes. Lovely fisher girls salted and packed the incoming catch; fishermen mended nets while purchasers offered skipper/ owners a price for the haul. The scene began to change at the turn of the century, with the introduction of steam powered vessels. Nature's importance diminished, and a new man was introduced to the crew: the engineer. In fact, the lack of engineers was a limiting factor in the ascension of steam. As salaries for this position climbed, more
rtrittme Art& Histor from The Naval Institute Press
A Pim:irial Cak'Olfar f0r 1y&>
VICTORIAN AND EDWARDIAN MERCHANT STEAMSHIPS FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS By Basil Greenhill and Ann Giffard. Here are the passenger steamers, tugs, cargo steamers, coasters, and paddle passenger steamers of years past. As the illustrations in this book so superbly demonstrate, the steady development of steam has been fully recorded since 1843. Basil Greenhill, Director of the National Maritime Museum, and Ann Giffard introduce and explain the old photographs in an interesting and factual way which adds greatly to their significance. Where and when was a particular ship built? How was she powered? How many passengers and what kind of cargo did she carry? Between which ports did she sail? These are the kind of questions to which you will find full and satisfying answers. Visually, the book is immediately arresting, and a highly expert text gives it a permanent value beyond that of a mere collection of fascinating photographs. This companion volume to the authors' Victorian and Edwardian Sailing Ships From Old Photographs (see page 32), is a stunning triumph of maritime history. Nowhere else will you find the kind of detail that is presented in these pictures and their accompanying text. 1979/120 pages/lllustrated/$10.95
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
men were attracted to the pos1t10n; in turn, more steam-powered vessels appeared. Ironically, the herring did not cooperate with the steamers. Following World War I, the fishery declined substantially; it has not recovered to this day. At the same time, diesel-engined fishing boats were introduced, enabling the fleet to travel farther and to capture more groundfish. As prices on these fish dropped, and as concoctions like fishand-chips grew in popularity, demand for herring fell, further damaging the steampowered trawlers. By the 1930s, the age of sail and steam was history. That history went largely unappreciated at the time, and today few examples of those early boats are preserved. This fact makes these books and the photographs they contain all the more precious. As Mr. Elliot notes in Steam Fishermen, the boats and their men "served the country magnificently in war and peace for 80 years and deserve their place in the national memory." ETHAN B. KAPSTEIN Mr. Kapstein, Research Associate in History at Brown University, and Visiting Scholar, U.S. Dep 't of Energy, maintains a special interest in ancient and modern fisheries.
A SAILOR'S LIFE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURYA PICTORIAL CALENDAR FOR 1980 The unique steel engravings which illustrate this desk calendar capture the drama of a seaman's life in an age of romance and change. Battles of the past come to life again as a brave crew fights with drawn swords on a deck littered with burning rigging ... courage and determination are understated as a lifeboat is launched in a raging storm bound to rescue a shipwrecked crew ... and long days at sea bring the riotous delights of liberty and too much grog. Highlighted by a full-color cover, the handsome calendar is spiral bound and lies flat when open. Ample space is provided for daily notes and reminders. ,,__1979/ 128 pages/53 illustrations/$6. 95
Book Order Department SH U.S. Naval Institute Annapolis, Maryland 21402 Please send me the following: _ _ copies of A Sailor's Life In the Nineteenth Century ($6.95 each) __copies of Victorian and Edwardian Merchant Steamships ($10.95 each) I have enclosed my check or money order for $ , including $1.50 for postage and handling. (Please add 53 sales tax for delivery within the State of Maryland.) Name - - - -- - - - - - - -- - - -- - -- Address - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - -- - - -City State Zip - - - -- - - - - -- -- -- --
BOOKS Grays Harbor, 1885-1913, by Robert A. Weinstein (New York, Penguin Books, 1978, 190 pp., illus., $7 .95). This book presents a spectacular collection of photographs taken between 1885 and 1913 in the rugged Grays Harbor region on the coast of Washington State. Most of the photographs, on plate glass negatives, were taken by Charles R. Pratsch of Aberdeen, Washington . A few were made by Colin S. McKenzie, whom Pratsch introduced to photography, and some were taken by Jesse 0 . Stearns. A few have not been identified, but all were collected in the Pratsch Art Gallery, in Aberdeen. After Pratsch died in 1937, the negatives passed to his youngest son, Fred V. Pratsch. In July 1971 they were purchased for the library of Washington State University by Earle Connette, then Chief of the Manuscript-Archives Division of the library. Robert A. Weinstein, former graphics editor of American West magazine and art director of the Quarterly of the California Historical Society, has used 266 of the photographs, organized into four chapters: ''The Harbor and the Rivers" "The Towns and the Life," "The Dark Woods," and "The Ships on the Harbor." We encounter first, in "Harbors and
Rivers,'' sturdy tugboats, log booms, some sternwheel steamers, and the tallmasted ships, lumber schooners that came to Grays Harbor to load at the mills. Describing the harbor Weinstein calls it "that wet, insect-ridden confluence of five rivers." One wonders whether he would have written with more feeling for the region, if he had grown up there, and attended one of its one-room log schools. Certainly most of the robust individuals in the photographs had come to the region from elsewhere. They frequently expressed the opinion that this was "the best damned country to be found anywhere," and if they hadn't thought so, self-reliant souls that they were, they would have rolled their blankets and moved on! In two photographs of "Towns And Town Life," we find the famous Captain Ralph (Matt) Peasley, who commanded the schooner Vigilant for many years and was the prototype of rugged Matt Peasley in the Cappy Ricks books by Peter B. Kyne. Shipping on the Northwest Coast was always closely allied to logging, because ships from all over the world came to the Northwest to load lumber. In the chapter headed "The Dark Woods" are some of the finest logging pictures to be found
anywhere. They cover the period of logging with ox-team, and extend through the era of the steam donkey engine. Here are the big trees and the men who felled them, the skidroads, log chutes, logging camps and humming lumber mills. Mr. Weinstein, however, is more at home among ship pictures than among logging pictures. He writes of choppers when he means fallers and once mentions mule skinners when the animals pictured are oxen. The drivers stand near the teams, leaning on the long sticks with which they prodded the oxen to keep them moving. The slang name for them, instead of mule skinners, was "bull stickers" or "bull whackers." These minor details will only bother readers who have grown up in logging country, however. They detract nothing from the excellence of the photographs and the artistry of the layout. The last 35 pages of the book, moreover, are devoted to shipbuilding, launchings, steam schooners, famous windjammers at the docks, loading operations, and towboats: here Mr. Weinstein's deep mastery of his subject shines. ROLAND CAREY Mr. Carey, historian of the Steamer Virginia V Foundation, has explored and written widely on the history of the Pacific Northwest, where he grew up.
In Praise of Sailors Special Offer to Readers of SEA HISTORY This beautiful anthology of poetry, prose and art of the sea retails for $45. We offer it to our members at the special price of $37 .50, a saving of $7.50. For readers who are not yet members, we will send you the book for the retail price of $45, enroll you as a Regular Member for one year, and send you the next four issues of SEA HISTORY. In Praise of Sailors is a work you will be proud to own, and it makes an especially fine gift.
-----------------1 To: National Maritime Historical Society 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 D I am a member. Please send me In Praise of Sailors at $37 .50. My check is enclosed. D I am not a member. Please send me In Praise of Sailors at $45, enroll me as a Regular Member of NMHS, and send me SEA HISTORY for one year. My check is enclosed. NAM E
I I I I I
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"Imaginative in conception, handsome in design, and satisfying in range and depth of material ... " Publishers Weekly '' ... combines marine art and literature, matching eac!J. page of poetry or prose with an appropriate illuatration. '' Bay & Delta Yachtsman " ... there isn't a medio1cre piece in the anthology, nor a bad illustration .. .. " The Houston Post
SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Master Mariner: Capt. James Cook and the Peoples of the Pacific, by Daniel Conner & Lorraine Miller (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1979, 176 pp., illus., $16.96). This handsomely produced book worthily commemorates the bicentennial of Captain James Cook's American discoveries, on his third and fateful Pacific voyage. While ably presenting Cook's entire career and achievements, the authors have chosen to emphasize this last voyage. It was during this voyage that Cook made his great contribution to the geographic and ethnographic knowledge of the northwest regions of this continent, and of Hawaii which he also discovered in 1778. Although failing in its object to discover the legendary Northwest Passage in Arctic seas, this voyage of over four years was not only the longest, but one of the most important in the history of exploration. The present volume is largely illustrated with the line engravings from the official account of the voyage published in 1784. They are based on the paintings and drawings of the brilliant and prolific young artist, John Webber, who was appointed to the expedition, and whose graphic records supplement the written accounts of the voyage. These engravings now stand as a unique, anthropological record of those first encounters between European, Polynesian and American Indian, just as these fragile Pacific cultures were about to disappear through the incursions of European commerce and settlement : a tragic encounter whose destructive impact Cook noted with real sorrow. The two best-known contemporary portraits of Cook, painted in 1776, are also reproduced beautifully in color. One is by the fashionable London portraitist, Sir Nathaniel Dance, the other by John Webber. Differences between the two portraits suggest two different people. The Dance portrait, which Mrs. Cook, and Cook's shipmates thought an excellent, if severe, likeness, shows the distinguished and commanding presence of the now famous post captain in his impressive uniform. The same captain who on a Saturday night at sea in the presence of his officers, would congenially toast absent wives and sweethearts with a glass of rum. Webber, however, conveys something of the darker side of Cook's nature: secretive, stubborn, violent tempered , and upon occasion during the last voyage, bafflingly irrational which perhaps contributed to his tragic and untimely death on Hawaii in 1779. OSWALD L. BRETT SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Mr. Brett, a noted marine artist and historian, published his own appreciation of Captain Cook in SH 11-a work the Society hopes to publish in expanded form . Spritsails and Lug Sails, by John Leather (St. Alban's, UK, Granada Publishing Ltd., 1979, 387 pp ., 80 illus., 108 drawings & plans, $30). This is the second of three companion volumes by Mr. Leather on the rigs of small to medium sized sailing craft. (The first is his well received Gaff Rig, the third a forthcoming book on the famous sailing barges .) Having a family background of fishing and professional yachting, he has been involved for over thirty years in the design, construction and repair of all types of vessels as surveyor and naval architect. He notes the growing concern with small, wooden-hulled sailing and rowing boats, and comes in this work to meet that interest with considerable compet ence and warmth of appreciation. An extensive introduction gives an early history of sprit and lugsails in different parts of the world with pictures and sail plans . Part I then presents a detailed description of the sails, their masting, fittings, rigging, and handling, with a chapter for each type. One comes on some errors. The authorillustrator shows a "rolling hitch" unlike any this ex-seafarer has ever seen. I cast one around a spar: it didn't hold . Another sketch shows without further explanation "a single, simple, practical method of bending a lug sail to a yard," but fails to show whether the lashings are individual robands or ties, or just turns of a marlin hitching. Part II embarks on a detailed exploration of construction and hull shapes peculiar to different sections of the British Isles, while Part III goes on to do the same for North America . Methods of beach launching and retrieval, varied procedures of line and net fishing are taken up, with names of builders, owners and crews, and vignettes and anecdotes of life 'longshore, fishing problems, smuggling escapades and racing activities. These two sections have not only photographs and sail plans, but also hull lines and construction details of boats ranging from the 12-foot Barnegat sneak box to a 134-foot, three-masted, lugger rigged yacht. Since the lug and sprit sail rigs had limited use in North America, the third section is considerably smaller than the second, and the author does not go into the minute detail of their work that he does for his home waters. But he does in-
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U.S.S. Monitor by LT. Edward M . Miller, USN
This book follows the famous ironclad from the early days of her designer through the recent search for and finding of her wreck-an excellent and wellrounded historical account. Over JOO illustrations. Bibliography. $14.95
Leeward Publications, P.O. Box 149, Annapolis, MD 21404
elude that little known (outside its own area) St. Lawrence skiff, a canoe-like craft handled without any sort of rudder, and with description and diagram explains the unique way she was sailed. This reviewer does not like the unbalanced page design, two columns of type off-center, and finds too many typographical errors-but he rejoices in the sailorly use of language, and in a short glossary explaining words and terms of text peculiar to these rather special rigs. ROBERT G. HERBERT, Jr. Mr. Herbert, a longtime seafarer, engineer and historian, is an Advisor of the N.M.H.S. Victorian and Edwardian Merchant Steamships, from Old Photographs, by Basil Greenhill & Ann Giffard (Annapolis MD, Naval Institute Press, 1979, 116 pp., illus., $10.95). The camera came of age about as the steamship did, and here in smoke and iron, the very feel of the steamship age is captured, sometimes in passing beauty. The authors chose to present the variety of the experience, from evolving luxury liners to small coastal vessels. Many quite special types are caught on their varied occasions. This reader would wish more depth in covering the basic drayhorse, the "dirty British freighter," as she plowed the world's economy in the later nineteenth century. And there is a lovely little photo of the hands on a small tug with the captain, "whose first command she was," posed behind them in the wheelhouse. How one would like to know more of these men, and follow the work of their tug, beyond this split-second glimpse! But these are matters of choice in a slim volume covering much ground. An informative introduction gives solid grounding in the technical history of the era, notably in the revolution of the 1880s which ultimately drove the long-voyage sailing ship from the ocean trades she had held till then against the onrush of steam. This is a thoughtful as well as pictorially engrossing book, one worthy of the series that has flowed from England's National Maritime Museum, of which Mr. Greenhill is director. PS Champlain to Chesapeake: A Canal Era Pictorial Cruise, by William J. McKelvey, Jr., (Exton, PA, Canal Press, Inc., 1978, 224 pp., ill., $25). Here's a canal cruise in which the reader can "glide on its placid surface through lovely glades of dense silent forests, with here and there a clearing;
further on you see well kept farms and picturesque villages; an ever changing panorama." So a 1914 promotion piece quoted in this fine new book from a leading cana\ authority describes the scene. Nearly 500 photographs and illustrations cover canal operations since the mule-drawn era. Few of the illustrations have been published before. And how they bring the canals to life, as you look past the snudding posts with their deep rope burns to the bearded locktender with his back hard-pressed against the balance beam! There are drivers as young as eight years old, mules working and feeding from nose bags, helmsmen, passengers, captains, skinny-dipping boys, and canal lighthouses, all adding to a sense of life in which you begin to hear the creak of harnesses attached to hundred-foot tow lines and the sound of canal horns. ,/
'/I . I/ 1\- • ' (y I
Cana/boat New York, built at Wilmington, Delaware in 1861 for service on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, dries auxiliary mainsail at Aquia Creek Landing, Virginia, during the Civil War.
There is a brief chronology listing dates and events important in canal history. The illustrations have informative captions and the author has taken considerable pains to list not only vessel names but also registration numbers for those wishing to do further research. A detailed bibliography is also provided; one misses a table of contents listing the eight chapters and an index to canal names, boat names and other features portrayed, which would further assist those wishing to locate facts. The book is a worthy successor and companion to Mr. McKelvey's first book, The Delaware and Raritan Canal: A Pictorial History, and is a fine addition to anycanal buff's or industrial archaeologist's library shelf. Orders for either book can be sent to the author at 98 Waldo Ave., Bloomfield, NJ 07003. MEL VIN J. SCHNEIDERMEYER Mr. Schneidermeyer is co-founder of the Farmington Canal Corridor Association and Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Enviromental Protection. SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
The Master Mariner: Running Proud, by Nicholas Monsarrat (New York, William Morrow & Co., 1978, 524 pp. $12.95). Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea became a classic, because landsmen and seamen found in it the very stuff of life aboard an English corvette in World War II. In Master Mariner, some twenty book later, he set out to do the same for different generations of seamen in England's wars, beginning with a young fellow who betrays a weakness of character in the confusion of the Armada campaign of 1588. The work opens up scenes of life the author had studied and wondered about over the years: in the cabin of a storm-beset Spanish ship seeking her way home northabout, where the officers debate their course; on the beach where a marooned pirate finds a new life with a surviving lady prisoner; in Sam Pepys's London, where we take up life in a seventeeth-century townhouse while a Navy is reformed through the energies of one dedicated man . Monsarrat's hero lives through all this, doomed to life through a curse on his cowardly act in the Armada campaign, gaining wisdom (and courage) as he lives. There's evidently much of Monsarrat himself in his hero. He died soon after this volume was published, before a successor volume coming down to the present day was finished . One hopes that second volume of Master Mariner will appear, to complete this testament to a lifelong passion for the ways of ships and men at sea, wrapped in the form of a spiritual autobiography. It was a valuable life. It makes awfully good reading. PS The Man Who Led Columbus to America, by Paul H. Chapman (Atlanta, Georgia, Judson Press, 1973, 202 pp., ill., $6). The past decade has seen rekindled interest on the part of scholars and laypersons in claims of pre-Columbian voyages to America. The magisterial scholarship of Samuel Eliot Morison notwithstanding, less academic persons such as Thor Heyerdahl have through practical demonstration indicated the possibility of such trips having been made by Polynesians, Egyptians and others. In a fascinating book published in 1978, Tim Severin related his experiences with a crew of four in sailing in a replica of the medieval Irish fishing currach from western Ireland to Newfoundland . Severin was endeavoring to bolster the claims of the Irish St. Brendan to American discovery in the sixth century. Paul H. Chapman seeks to do the same in this fascinating, highly readable book . SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
BASIL LUBBOCK'S LOG OF THE CUTTY SARK 344 pages, 9 plans ONLY
SEAWAYS BOOKS Box 27 4, Rte. 94
Salisbury Mills, NY 12577
The first-hand account of a crew marooned in the subarctic by the shipwrecked men they had rescued " This betrayal of a good Samaritan is certainly one of the most infamous episodes in maritime history, and Captain Barnard's account of it and of his valiant fight for survival is the most stirring of its kind. His writing is plain and graphic . .. and often moving in its simplicity."
_,_ -The New Yorker
MAROONED A Narrative of the Sufferings and Adventures of CAPTAIN CHARLES H. BARNARD, Embracing an Account of the Seizure of his Vessel at the Falkland Islands, &c., 1812-1816 Edited & with an Introduction by BERTHA S. DODGE Out of print for more than a century- now republished with historical documentation. Illustrations, end paper map, bibliography, index. $14.95 WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PRESS Middletown, Connecticut 06457
A SPECIAL SELECTION OF BOOKS for the Readers of Sea WHALING AND THE ART OF SCRIMSHAW by Charles Meyer. Encyclopedic history of a bygone era and gripping true drama-the perilous past of square-rigged whalers and a vanishing folk art. Lavishly illustrated with photos, prints, drawings; large 7" x 10" format; glossary & bibliography. No. 839245/$17.95
RIDDLE OF THE SANDS by Erskine Childers. A true classic first published in 1903. "The most famous seagoing spy story ever written, now reissued in a new edition .... Beautifully cadenced suspense and superb descriptions of sea [and] tide."-Smithsonian. No. 507728/$12.50
CHINA TEA CLIPPERS by George Campbell. Lavishly illustrated account of squareriggers in all their glory. Delightful for historians and model builders. 8'12' x 11" format. No. 202919/$12.95
THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR by Hervey Garrett Smith. An artist and curator of the Suffolk Marine Museum presents this classic account of old-time seafaring skillstime-honored skills that have never changed. Fully illustrated; 8 1/ 2" x 11" format. No. 600449/$7.95
DESIGNING SMALL CRAFT by John Tea le. Detailed, stepby-step instructions for building small sailboats and cruisers. Also includes practical solutions to problems encountered in creating almost any type of boat. Fully illustrated. No. 506942/$9.95
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BOOKS Severin's voyage showed you could get to America sailing westward across the North Atlantic despite the arduous difficulties encountered on this route. Chapman feels, however, that the intrepid St. Brendan followed a less strenuous route. He comes down foursquare in favor of St. Brendan having initiated the route that Columbus was to take during his peregrinations to the west. Indeed he believes Columbus knew of St. Brendan's exploits but refused to acknowledge them so that Spain could assert prior discovery of the New World. Chapman relies almost exclusively on the medieval chronicle Navigato Sancti Brendani Abbatis for his evidence in favor of St. Brendan's voyage. Interspersing excerpts from the text in English translation with his own commentary and eschewing the more fabulous portions of the Navigatio, the author demonstrates to his own and hopefully his readers' satisfaction that St. Brendan and his crew of fourteen, after a false start in the Faroe Islands, made their way to the Azores, westward to Barbados, thence to the Bahamas, up the Gulf Stream to Newfoundland and back east to Iceland, finally making their landfall in western Ireland. Chapman presents plausible evidence for his claim thr01,1gh comparing physical and natural phenomena mentioned in the Navagatio with practical realities found along the route that he and presumably St. Brendan charted. The manner in which he constructs his case provides for absorbing reading, although the more skeptical will probably render his brief the Scots verdict of "not proven." NORMAN LEDERER Mr. Lederer, Dean of Occupational and General Education at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, has reviewed over 700 books for various periodicals. Cruising the Inland Waterways of Europe, by Jarret and Stanley Kroll with photographs by Stanley Rosenfeld (New York, Harper and Row, 1979, 290 pp., illus., $19.95) . One good thing frequently leads to another. In 1972 the authors read Electa and Irving Johnson's Yankee Sails Through Europe and were enticed into their own first tour of the European canals. When they could find no comprehensive guide to help them plan their cruise, they decided to find out for themselves and write this book. The result is a joy. In their seven years of vacation touring they travelled from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, from the Black Sea to the narrow canals in the SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
heart of England. Each chapter describes a tour taken by the Krolls and their two young daughters, with much history of the canal and the region being travelled. Stanley Rosenfeld's color photographs enliven the text and are in turn given greater depth by the Kroll's descriptions of the people, customs, food and other aspects of local life. Every section ends with a few pages of "Practical Information" about prices, how to travel and whom to contact for more information or to book a cruise. Final chapters are on "Cruising with Children," "Skippering Your Own Cruise" (with drawings showing how to operate an unattended lock), and how to charter a self-drive boat or choose a cruise ship. All this will make you want to go and will equip you to do so. But for those of us who cannot, this book itself is surely NS the next best thing. Famous Paddle Steamers, by F.C. Hambleton (Allied Publications, 14 St. James Road, Watford, Herts, UK, 100 pp., illus., $1.75). This small softcover book, first published in 1948 when there were paddlewheelers still around, gives invaluable information and close-up detail of some twenty-odd steamers, ranging from those in cross-Channel service to harbor tugs. Highly recommended. CONRAD MILSTER Mr. Milster, engineer at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, is an Advisor of the National Society and author of numerous articles on steam navigation.
Marooned, by Captain Charles H. Barnard, Embracing an Account of the Seizure of his Vessel at the Falkland Islands, Etc., 1812-1816, ed. Bertha S. Dodge (Middletown CT, Wesleyan University Press, 1979, 246 pp., illus., $14.95).
This long-out-of-print account of a crew marooned in the Falklands by the shipwrecked men they had earlier rescued makes colorful, at times incredible reading. Ms. Dodge in her thoughtful and scholarly introduction notes ruefully: "There are just too many coincidences, too many standard fictional situations. These begin with the ship Isabella leaving Port Jackson, Australia under the captaincy of an irresolute, wenching sot with a passenger roll that included so many rascals, male . and female, as could only have been conceived by the composer of a Beggar's Opera. "
One wonders at such characters as the titled Irish gentleman who tried to marry a wealthy woman through the device of a false priest-particularly when our upstanding Captain Barnard had apparently been expelled from his Quaker meeting for a similar offense. Hovering in the wings is Captain Barnard's partner, before the end of the book reduced to a mumbling paranoid. But the strangest of all is Sam Ansel, a party to the plot to maroon Captain Barnard, who knew that it was to be done when the Captain went on a hunting trip and volunteered to go along on the hunting trip. He too was duly marooned. R.L. STRICKLAND Mr. Strickland, until recently director of the Wyoming State Museum, has pursued an interest in the sea since childhood. w
Best Books on Nautical Subjects Excellent selection on history by Chapelle, Lubbock, Underhill and others. Send for catalog of over 500 titles-history, boatbuilding, design, navigation, cruising, fishing, cooking, etc. $2 refundable with first order. Books reviewed by SEA HISTORY are available at a 10% discount.
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Christmas in the Fo'c'sle By Captain Fred K. Klebingat
In the summer of 1906 the big bark Anna came across the North Atlantic to New York, meeting a hurricane en route. Sixteen-year-old Fred Klebingat was in the crew, and gave an account of that crossing in SH 6. He stayed in her and celebrated Christmas as she ran her easting down in the Roaring Forties in the South Atlantic. Captain Klebingat was 90 this October 7, and is a leading historian of West Coast shipping under sail. Here he recalls that Christmas in the Anna seventy-three years ago. "We ought to celebrate Christmas right, and make a Christmas tree,'' said Carl Schroeder, Top Dog and the oldest sailor of the port fo'c'sle. "We have plenty to be thankful for." And that we had, for just a few nights before, about midnight on December 17, 1906, we had barely escaped being wrecked on Tristan da Cunha, a lone and solitary volcanic island planted just about in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. The night was dark and misty, and the four-mast bark Anna, exOtterburn was logging more than twelve knots with all sail set. And it was only due to the vigilance of the Old Man, Captain Koester, that we escaped shipwreck-by the width of a cat's whisker. It was a miracle, that is sure, and it was a miracle that all were able to celebrate this Christmas. In that surf and on that high rocky shore, not all of us could have reached the beach alive. "And come here, Fred," said Carl, addressing himself to me. "You go and see 'Chips' and tell him that we want to make a Christmas tree. you are the only one who can get anything out of that old curmudgeon. See if you can talk him into loaning us some tools . .. " Chips was more than willing; he also had caught the Christmas spirit. At once he went to work to make a first-class base, and he handed me a piece of pine about two inches square and about four feet long. "Take a hatchet," said he, "and taper this stick a little and plane it off." Next we picked a piece of straight-grained soft pine about a foot long. We split this up in fine pieces and now notched the edges of these slivers to resemble pine needles. By this time I had finished tapering the stick and smoothing it with a plane. Chips now took his carpenter's pencil from the pocket of his overalls. He marked the tapered stick for three sets of holes. "Here is an auger; bore some holes" he said. "Bore them at an angle-you know how the branches of a Christmas tree look." That done, he fitted the stick to the base he had made. The rest of the sailors were notching pine slivers with their sheath knives like this :
c;,,.,pÂˇ,,,.->T. T.a.t!!E _!3/1.. I NCH
We managed to get hold of some green paint and thinned this out with turpentine and painted the branches. Now we assembled the tree. Chips cut a nice star out of an empty margarine can-this we mounted on top. Those days everyone 66
The four-masted bark Anna ex-Ottoburn at Commencement Bay, Washington. Photos courtesy National Maritim e Museum, San Francisco.
was familiar with cutting chains out of paper; we did the same. We made neat little baskets out of the silver-covered wrappers of our tobacco packages. We had no nuts to insert in these, so we used iron ones. "We should hang some cookies on the tree, too," someone said. "I have it," another answered. "We can cut them out of this piece of yellow laundry soap. For sugar, we can pound up some of that rock salt from the salt meat barrel." They looked good enough to eat! Then someone came along with some cotton, which we draped on the tree so that it looked like snow. From the steward we managed to bum some big candles. They were not exactly the size we wanted, but we cut them up in chunks and seized them to the tree with wire seizing. The tree was now complete, and a fine tree it was, if I say so myself. The Anna had two fo'c'sles under the fo'c'slehead, one to port (where I had my bunk), and one to starboard . After finishing the tree, we moved it into the starboard fo'c'sle, although this watch had no hand in making it. Christmas Eve came. The ship was in the "roaring forties," racing before a light westerly gale with all sail set. She rolled heavily, and seas boarded her from port to starboard, at times filling the decks up to the rails. The man on the wheel was busily spinning the wheel trying to keep her before the racing seas. But in the starboard fo'c'sle all wâ&#x20AC;˘as snug. With the candles on the tree lit, "Merry Christmas,'" it was-but what to do about Christmas cheer? "Let us go aft and wish the Old Man a Merry Christmas and SEA HISTORY, FALL 1979
Fred Klebingat, seaman, aboard the barkentine S.N. Castle, standing on the deck cargo of Oregon pine.
invite him to have a look at our tree," Carl suggested. He did this; the ship had a fore and aft bridge, a cat walk, so one could get aft without any trouble. A short while later the Old Man and the mate appeared (we had no second mate). Both of them removed their caps as they stepped into the fo'c'sle . "A Merry Christmas to all and what a beautiful tree," the Old Man said. "The best I have ever seen." The mate agreed. "And how about Santa Claus?" (And nobody could look more like him than the captain. His smiling face, his long whiskers, his generous girth and tall boots-all that was missing was the red suit.) "I notice that you have no refreshment," said the Captain. "I should have thought of that before-send a couple of the boys aft with buckets, and I'll see that you do." The boys soon returned with buckets of rum punch, and they also brought a box of cigars. Now can you beat this Christmas in the middle of the South Atlantic-a fine, lit-up Christmas tree, a mug of the skipper's famous rum punch and the smoke of a fine Havana! Too bad the man on the wheel could not join us, but he would be relieved as soon as his wheel turn was up. And there was also the man on the lookout, but he sneaked down from the fo'c'slehead now and then to fill his mug and take another drag at the Old Man's Christmas cigar. It was a "Merry Christmas and Good Will to All Men."
From Christmas at Sea by Fred K. Klebingat, published by the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1974.
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A spirit of hard work, enterprise & cooperation sailed the tall ships of yesterday ... and that's what makes things move today!
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The Elissa sets out from Galveston, September 26, 1886, as shown in this painting by John Stobart. This summer she returned, thanks to the efforts of the Galveston Historical Foundation, the National Maritime Historical Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and volunteer help of all kinds from all over. We at Pennzoil are proud to stand with these citizens and proudly welcome the Elissa back to Galveston after nearly a century in distant waters. Elissa embodies a priceless heritage which can now be passed on to future generations. We salute these efforts and wish fair winds to the Elissa and her gallant crew as she begins her new career.