Sea History 150- Spring 2015

Page 7

We Welcome Your Letters! Please send correspondence to:

LETTERS or Editor, Sea History, 7 Timberknoll Road, Pocasset, MA 02559

Saving the Originals Your story in the wi nter issue, "SS Columbia To Be Saved!" was a recent topic of discussion within my family. My sister-in-law read it wi th particular interest. As a little girl she once skipped along the decks of that now-withering hulk, in rhythm to joyous dance bands! She recalls many stories aboard that fabled passenger steamer: "I read that she is now New York bound, with som e additional information I h ad not known. I can tell yo u that some of my best childhood memories are from goi ng to Boblo Island, like the article says, and both the boat ride and the amusement park were awesome. On the way home, we always took the las t boat out, when they had bands playing in the ballroom and we danced . It was a riot. I went every yea r of my yo uth, at least once. I guess we'll be heading to New York once she's refurbished." Take it from a landlubber: Sea History lives in a whirl of excited memories! BILL BURGESS

Arlington, Texas I read the recent letter soliciting support for the replica and historic vessels in need ("Deck Log" Sea History 149), and while I agree wi th just about everything that yo u have written about with regards to the uncertainty of funding for many-if not m ost-of the current historic vessels still afl oat, there is one facet of the situation that no one ever to uches on. It is something that has bothered me since the 1970s, when I first went to work in the maritime industry in the shipyard at Mystic Seaport M useum. What really concerns me is the substantial amo unt of funding raised fo r rep li ca vessels, while the real ships languish or molder away. The Charles W Morgan is a counter weight to that issue, but it is the exception and not the rule. Further, I know that Matthew Stackpole (a fri end) and others labored long and hard to garner the money that was used to restore her. In fac t, although sending such a singular "artifact" to sea was troubling, it was probably the only way they could have gathered enough funding to restore the ship! Even so, a significant portion of the monies raised was necessary just to bring her up to US Coast Guard standards so that she could go sailing. There is a huge problem when orgaSEA HISTORY 150, SPRING 2015

nizations successfully obtain millions to build a new replica vessel, but then the funding either dries up or the organization foun ders because the incom e, the will, or the abi li ty to hold it all together falls apart. Fo r example, money can be foun d to build something like the new replica of the Bluenose in Canada, but there is little or no funding to restore the real thing, the fishing schooner L.A. Dunton. There has been money for Amistad but not for the lumber schoo ners out o n the west coast. The 1894 schooner Ernestina has been languishing for years but is now finally getting som e money for repairs and restoration, while the Mayflower replica is getting $2 million from the Commonweath of Massachusetts. Other Massachusetts historic vessels are rotting into compost. I'm not sure how the fo lks in Glo ucester obtained the m oney to rebuild the schooner Adventure, but good for them. She is the real thing. The sail training schooners Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts, and Westward at least had some spark of authenticity to them and I guess the Mayflower does too, but I look at the poor old Dunton and wonder about the inequities. New tall ships are being built as we speak. Why do we keep building new ships and schooners when the old ones should command our help? VIRGINIA CROWELL ] ONES

West T isbury, Massachusetts

Historic Ships Still Working I read every issue cover to cover with great interest. I most enj oyed Walter Rybka's catalogue of ships "on a lee shore." An insightful listing and analysis and, like the author himself, deep and well thought out. I co ncur with Capt. Rybka's choices, although, as he said, there is plenty of room for reasonable debate. W hen reading this excellent piece I am also reminded of the Maine W indjammer schooners, and, as remarkable as they are, how little attention they receive. This remarkable fl eet of commercial sailing ships, something like fo urteen substantialto-large schooners in this fleet and with only a couple exceptions, all are Age of Sail vessels. Many of them have never had power installed and several of them have a record of continuous trade unbroken fro m their day oflaun ch , in some cases a century or even more ago. Amazing. That these vessels sail today on their own bottoms, making their own livings on what the market will bear, contending with 2 1st-century regulatio n without compromise, and asking no one for donations or h ando uts should be a point in their favo r as well, and an interesting story point as well . Threemasted cargo schooners, old coasting schooners, fis hing schooners, oyster schooners, pilot schooners and others all making a living, keeping traditions alive and fresh and accessible, giving their young crews

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