Sea History 168 - Autumn 2019

Page 6

Deck Log


Leaning Into Life

courtesy tall ships america

courtesy ocean classroom fdn.

n the process of going through some of our archived files recently, we uncovered correspondence from Alix Thorne, founder and president of Ocean Classroom Foundation, which for decades provided education under sail aboard the schooners Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts, and Westward. Alix is a pioneer in the sail training community, a woman whose dedication to the values of hands-on maritime education has made a difference in the lives of countless young people. For her dedication and contributions to For nearly 20 years, Ocean Classroom the maritime heritage community, she Foundation took kids to sea for extended was awarded the NMHS Walter voyages, from high school semesters to shortCronkite Award for Excellence in er, coastal programs. (l–r: Schooners HarMaritime Education in 1998. As we vey Gamage and Spirit of Massachusetts) prepare for the NMHS Annual Awards Dinner this fall (see pages 10–13), Alix’s note reminds me of the great footsteps in which this year’s recipients follow and in which Alix Thorne the rest of us aspire to do so. Ding Schoonmaker, an international champion yachtsman and past Olympian, has developed and supported programs to help young people learn to sail and race, giving them opportunities they would never have otherwise. Pam Levy Rorke and Matt Brooks restored one of the great ocean-racing yachts of all time—Olin and Rod Stephens’s Dorade—to race again, an inspiration to sailors and preservationists everywhere. NMHS’s own Capt. Jean Wort, another pioneer, brought the 1917 excursion vessel Commander to the Hudson River and for many years brought countless groups of students down to the water to teach them about the history and ecology of the Hudson Highlands. All of these leaders share our mission to preserve our relationship to ships and the sea, which NMHS does through special projects, events, educational programs, and, as Alix Thorne points out, through our quarterly journal. Sea History is much more than a collection of articles for maritime aficionados. It is an endorsement of a philosophy of life, a belief of each new generation. We cannot afford to lose the image of a young boy or girl aloft, wrestling a topsail into submission, and ‘leaning forward into life,’ as Irving Johnson so aptly put it, and that is the way of life that Sea History encourages. I am humbled that Alix, one of my role models, sees that Sea History espouses a philosophy that encourages leaning into life. This is a philosophy readily epitomized by Alix Thorne, by Ding Schoonmaker, by Pam Rorke Levy and Matt Brooks, and by Jean Wort through their struggles and successes. That NMHS is able to honor them and feature their work in Sea History is a key part of our mission, of bringing our readers aboard so we can all lean into life. —Burchenal Green, president


NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY PUBLISHER’S CIRCLE: Peter Aron, Guy E. C. Maitland, Ronald L. Oswald OFFICERS & TRUSTEES: Chairman, Ronald L. Oswald; Vice Chairman, Richardo R. Lopes; President, Burchenal Green; Vice Presidents: Jessica MacFarland, Deirdre O’Regan, Wendy Paggiotta, Nancy Schnaars; Treasurer, Howard Slotnick; Secretary, Jean Wort; Trustees: Charles B. Anderson; Walter R. Brown; Christopher J. Culver; William S. Dudley; David S. Fowler; William Jackson Green; Karen Helmerson; Denise Krepp; Richard M. Larrabee; Guy E. C. Maitland; Capt. Brian McAllister; CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); Michael W. Morrow; CAPT James A. Noone, USN (Ret.); Richard Patrick O’Leary; ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.); Timothy J. Runyan; Richard Scarano; Philip J. Shapiro; Capt. Cesare Sorio; William H. White; Chairmen Emeriti: Walter R. Brown, Alan G. Choate, Guy E. C. Maitland, Howard Slotnick FOUNDER: Karl Kortum (1917–1996) PRESIDENT EMERITUS: Peter Stanford (1927–2016) OVERSEERS: Chairman, RADM David C. Brown, USMS (Ret.); RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.); George W. Carmany III; Clive Cussler; Richard du Moulin; Alan D. Hutchison; Gary Jobson; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston; John Lehman; Capt. James J. McNamara; H. C. Bowen Smith; John Stobart; Philip J. Webster; Roberta Weisbrod NMHS ADVISORS: George Bass, Francis Duffy, John Ewald, Timothy Foote, Steven A. Hyman, J. Russell Jinishian, Gunnar Lundeberg, Conrad Milster, William G. Muller, Stuart Parnes, Nancy Hughes Richardson, Joyce Huber SEA HISTORY EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Chairman, Timothy Runyan; Norman Brouwer, Robert Browning, William Dudley, Daniel Finamore, Kevin Foster, John Jensen, Joseph Meany, Carla Rahn Phillips, Walter Rybka, Quentin Snediker, William H. White NMHS STAFF: Executive Director, Burchenal Green; Director of Development, Jessica MacFarlane; Membership Director, Jean Marie Trick; Membership Coordinator, Nancy Schnaars; Comptroller, Anjoeline Osuyah; Staff Writers: Shelley Reid, Julia Church; Executive Assistant, Heather Purvis; Marketing Director, Steve Lovass-Nagy; Membership Assistant, Irene Eisenfeld SEA HISTORY: Editor, Deirdre E. O’Regan; Advertising Director, Wendy Paggiotta Sea History is printed by The Lane Press, South Burlington, Vermont, USA.