Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Schooner DOLPHIN Auction November 18th

Schooner DOLPHIN to be auctioned in New Haven, CT.
Schooner Dolphin will be sold at Auction on Thur Nov 18 at 10:30 am at the Federal Court, 141 Church St.New Haven, CT. The opening minimum bid will be $10,000 with a cash deposit to bid of just $1000 or 10% of the amount bid. When complete, the winning bidder will own the boat including her masts, sails, rigging and all equipment free and clear of all liens. The 90 foot, 100 ton, 1943 steel and wood staysail rigged schooner “Dolphin” has been completely rebuilt over the past 8 years. Structurally, the keel, stem, horn, frames, planks, decks and entire hull are better than new. She is almost ready to launch and sail for another 60+ years accommodating 15-25 people in seven staterooms with seven heads and three saloons.
You may view photos of the boat’s present condition at http://picasaweb.google.com/schoonerdolphin/RefitPhotos2009?feat=embedwebsite# See the website for full history, plans and refit photos at http://www.schoonerdolphin.com/index.htm

Unfortunately after investing $1.4 million in restoring the boat, the owners have run out of money and are unable to finish and launch her. The boat will be sold at auction to the highest bidder on Nov. 18.
Of course the boat is not finished and ready to go sailing, a lot more work needs to be done, but she could be
launched for under $50,000, be ready to motor and sail under her own power for perhaps $100,000, and if done economically offshore, the interior accommodations could be finished for a very reasonable amount. The new owner will end up with a million dollar large sailing ship for a fraction of the cost.

Schooner DOLPHIN refit plan.

Here are websites for two of her identical hull sister ships where you can see what she might look like when done and provide examples of the type of work and missions she could do. Dolphin would be an ideal platform for educational, marine conservation, zero carbon sail transport, adventure travel or luxury charter sailing voyages http://www.svtreshombres.com / http://www.svtreshombres.com/%20
 http://www.pacifique.ch / http://www.antinea-foundation.org /

In case you know of any organization or individual who might have an interest in her, please let them know. If you know of any individual, group, foundation, angel or investor who might be interested in saving this big beautiful sailing ship, please email sequoia@schoonerdolphin.com or call me on 1-203-246-1369 for more information.

This article was reprinted from the American Schooner Association website at.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

21st Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race - A Retrospective by John Beauchamp

John Beauchamp aboard the schooner "Spirit of Independence."
With a budding interest in sailing and only a few days of training on a 2 person dingy sailboat, I took a leap of faith and signed on as passenger aboard the Spirit of Independence, stationed in Portsmouth, VA for the 21st annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. My girlfriend, Esther Simpson, with even less experience, signed on to the voyage as well. We visited the boat’s home port twice before the race and were able to meet some of the crew that we eventually worked with on the race. We also had the opportunity to go through safety drills, learn about the rigging and quarters, and get a feel for the boat on the water. This helped build confidence in our decision as the Captain and crew demonstrated a thorough knowledge, a willingness to teach that knowledge, and patience with us through our learning curve. We also sensed the confidence each of them had in each other, the vessel, and even us. We felt very comfortable joining such a friendly and competent crew.
Schooner "Spirit of Independence" with the schooner "Lynx" during the 2010 "Parade of Sail" in Baltimore Maryland's inner harbor. Picture by Allen B. Graves
We boarded the Spirit, as we affectionately call her, in Fells Point, MD for our one way “race down the Chesapeake” to Portsmouth, VA. The weekend before the race, we dropped a car off in Portsmouth so we could have transportation back. We joined the Captain and crew in the early afternoon on Wednesday the 13th of October, 2010 where the boat was tied at dock with many other schooners taking part in the race. The schooners all took part in a “Parade of Sail” that evening, gliding and showing off in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. We had a wonderful dinner that night for all of the participants, at the Latin Palace, listened in on the race meetings, and sang some “sea shanties” (with much help of course) at a local Fells Point pub, the Wharf Rat. We felt welcomed and a part of the crew.

Following a final race administration meeting the next morning with historic “Town Cryers”, we took our turn to pull out from the dock and make our way to the starting line of the race near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge close to Annapolis, MD. The weather had turned cloudy and it began to rain shortly before we left the dock. We helped hoist the sails and prep the boat for the race as we left toward the starting line. Captain JC Waters had maneuvered the Spirit so we were one of the first boats across the starting line. It was still raining with 5-10 knot winds out of the north (an estimate of my own). Just after a very good start the winds faded to calm and we sat almost motionless with the other boats in the race. With what wind we had directly behind us, we spread the main and foresail on either side of the boat in a wing-on-wing set to maximize the sail area catching what wind there was. This worked very well and we made our way south, slowly.

 Port view taken from the deck of the schooner "Spirit of Independence" during the beginning of the 21st Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Photo by Allen B. Graves.
 Going below deck was not even considered at this point as watching the boats, breathing in the salty air, and enjoying the conversations of the rest of the crew was exquisite. The sun set beautifully as the rain faded to nothing. What a wonderful experience!!

"Spirit of Independence" ship's bell. Photo by Allen B. Graves
We learned the ringing of the bells to define the crew shifts. Esther and I had a dog shift from 12:00pm to 2:00pm, a normal shift from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, another from 12:00am to 4:00am, alternating every 4 hours throughout the race. Or at least that was the plan…

Esther and I had completed our 4:00pm to 8:00pm shift in light winds and moderate seas and felt part of an incredible experience with some great sailors and a wonderful boat. Knowing that we had to be up for the 12:00am to 4:00am shift I had a cup of wine (from a box we had brought aboard) and we went to our cabin and fell asleep. I truly slept solidly. We awoke at about 11:30 to lots of commotion, requests for eyes on deck, and a boat truly lurching in the water. We scrambled to put on our foul weather gear as we were knocked against the walls of our cabin. Lesson learned: Fasten down your foul weather gear around your neck, wrists, and ankles before you head out on deck. As we came on deck the Captain and other watch crew were wrapping up the topsail that we had set earlier in the day when the winds were calm. The seas were stormy with 10-12 foot swells (that is purely my own estimate), winds of 30 knots (again, mine), and salt spray and waves crashing onto the deck of Spirit. I took a position on deck to watch for other boats as we had come dangerously close to one while the crew was scrambling to keep the sails in order. We had learned later that Spirit had reached a new speed record for being under sail (11.2 knots); the auto pilot shut down not being able to calculate under those conditions; and the shift in course caused an unexpected jibe. The jibe of the staysail fouled the rigging of the jib. This series of events forced us to lower the staysail and jib in the rough seas and winds. Esther took over watch (on hands and knees) while I helped out with the sails. While the Spirit handled the pounding of the waves with ease, it was not so easy on the rest of us. In pitch black, boat lurching in every direction, waves pounding in on us, sails flailing in the wind, the Captain showed his metal. He helped and directed us how to lower the staysail, secure it and move on to the jib.

All of the crew was heroic in taking control of an extreme moment. We brought the sails under control, rerouted the Spirit toward the finish line, and sped on into the night.

Spirit crew tries to stay dry wearing foul weather gear. Photo by Allen B. Graves.
 My feet, chest, and shirt sleeves wet, we stayed our watch as the waves lessened to 6-8 feet (another estimate). The stars came out incredibly bright. Following a truly harrowing experience I felt exhausted yet renewed. This was one of those life affirming moments that make you understand what it is to truly participate in something great.

My shift ended sometime near 5:00 am. Wet, cold, and tired, I collapsed in our bunk and slept solidly again until the bell rang 6 times (7:00). I had my morning coffee and was on deck to watch the sun rise. A true beauty. 

We sailed across the finish line 20 hours 11 minutes after we started the race, more than a three hour improvement over Spirit’s time last year.

Once reaching Portsmouth we stayed through Sunday participating in the various events, dinners, and parties as were planned. We enjoyed sharing our stories of the race, talking with the other crews, and quiet calm nights aboard the Spirit of Independence.

On this trip we got much more than we bargained for. We gained a true appreciation for sailing and instead of making acquaintances aboard a sailing vessel; we made extraordinary friends with the family of the Spirit of Independence.

I was asked several times whether I would do the trip again. My response: "In a second."

My thanks to: J.C. Waters, Joy Waters, Jim Dyson, Allen Graves, Whitney Rayl, Faye Bailey, Peter Mulhern, Esther Simpson, and the Spirit of Independence.

John Beauchamp, passenger/crew/sailor

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Schooner Racing on the Bay - A Photographic Essay of the 21st Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

As I sit here at my computer this evening writing this blog, I can honestly state that as soon as we moored the Spirit of Independence after finishing the race, if we had just turned the boat around and retraced the entire trip, I would gladly do it again without hesitation. What a fun time with a great crew, incredible boat, excellent captains - JC and Joy - terrific sponsors, and volunteers to create and incredible racing experience.

And I could easily write a book of information about our schooner racing adventures, but I decided to create a photographic essay instead so that you can look over our shoulders and experience our adventure though the eyes of my camera. So first I would like to introduce you to the captains, crew and guest for this year's Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (GCBSR). We will start and the end, go back to the beginning and come home again.

Jim Dyson, Whitney Rayl, Capt. Joy Waters, Peter Mulhern, Ester Simpson, John Beauchamp, Allen Graves, Faye Bailey, and Capt. JC Waters soon after finishing the race with our race banner signed by all.

On Thursday morning in Fells Point the day dawned gray, and while the capt. and most of the crew went to the meeting in the town's square, I had to go to a coffee shop called Bonaparte to use their internet. No sooner had I finished forwarding pictures to Joe Elder at Skipjack Nautical Wares than the heavens opened up and it started to rain. Having no rain gear for my camera and computer bag, I borrowed a few trash bags from a local coffee shop. Back at the boat at our appointed departure time of 9 am, I stored my gear, put on foul weather gear and by the time I was up on deck we were well underway.

Looking through the windows in the pilot house aboard the Spirit of Independence. Navigation station shows position, radar, depth and a view from the video camera looking toward the bow.
By the time we got below the Bay Bridge at Annapolis we began to set sail to be ready for the appointed start time of 13:40 hours.

Setting sails in preparation for the start.
Schooners soon after the start of the race.
Schooners after the start seen across the deck of the Spirit of Independence.
Soon after the start the wind died, we slowed and soon showed a speed of .1 knots. After about an hour, or so we were still within sight of the Bay Bridge near Annapolis.

South of the Bay Bridge after the race start, a moored commercial ship and schooners spread out across the bay.
Fortunately the wind picked up again and we sailed in rainy conditions with dark sky's and incredible views of other schooners in the race.

Schooners sailing in the rain.
Schooner seen across bow the Spirit of Independence.
By evening the sun came out and the wind was out of the north.

Sails rigged wing-on wing for a down wind run.
The Martha White illuminated with the evening sun.
Clearing skies and the deck of the Spirit of Independence.
Sunset and strategy session for the night.
Sunset Thursday evening with a lone schooner to the right
Sunsets bring out all the cameras and become an unannounced all-hands-on-deck.
Jim Dyson at the helm with the reflection of the sunset on the window glass.
Sunset Thursday evening.
After sunset Thursday evening we sailed into the night keeping watch and trimming sails. We set a new speed record, after midnight, for the Spirit of 11.2 knots. Dawn brought us close to our objective and the finish line at Thimble Shoal. Last year we completed the 127 nautical mile course in 23:44 hours. This year we shaved off some time and finished in 20:11. Not sure how the results will come out, but they will be announced later today and we should place well.

Spirit of Independence.
Traditional signing of the race banner just before the group picture at the top of this page.
Most of the schooners are moored here in Old Town Portsmouth where I am now writing this blog. Come on out this weekend for Schooner Days here in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia and see these magnificent vessels for yourself. Some are open for tours and all are great for photographs. The Schooner Virginia is unfortunately moored in Norfolk.

Fair Winds,
Allen B. Graves

All photographs were taken by Allen B. Graves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race! Pictures at Dusk From the Deck of the schooner "Spirit of Independence."

The "Spirit of Independence" Wing on wing down wind.
 6:45 P.M.- Received pictures via cellphone from the schooner "Spirit of Independence" who is doing well in this years race. It seems that most of the classes are within a close distance from one another.

8:30 P.M.- Just check the Kattrack satellite system and the "Spirit" is in third place of Class B, just slightly moving in front of the schooner "Martha White" with "Dove II" in second and the "Sally B" well in front. All four schooners are now averaging close to 8 knots. 

You can keep up with the race via Kattrack satellite by going to the link provided by the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. http://kws.kattack.com/kattacklive/Offshore.aspx?FeedID=288

Schooner "Mystic whaler" to stern.  

Sunset and "Mystic Whaler"
Sunset on the bay.

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is Underway! Pictures From the Deck of the schooner "Spirit of Independence."

These are the fist pictures sent by cell phone from the deck of the schooner "Spirit of Independence" with photos by Allen B. Graves. The last E-mail that I received reported that the winds had died and that they were making 1 knot in heavy rain. Hopefully more pictures to come before the sun sets.

The The 2010 Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is underway with light winds and heavy rain.
A schooner out in front and off the port side of the "Spirit of Independence."
From the deck of the "Spirit of Independence."
The schooners are beginning to separate out of the pack.
If you would like to live vicariously, sail the race and follow the schooners electronically, just follow this link. Fair winds to all competitors and may you all have a great sail. http://kws.kattack.com/kattacklive/offshore.aspx?FeedID=288  This feature is brought to you by the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race!

Parade of Sail in Baltimore Maryland's Inner Harbor

I was aboard the Mystic Whaler this year for the Parade of Sail to get a different perspective and a few shots of the Spirit of Independence. The boats pulled out into the harbor around 4 pm and maneuvered into parade position of AA, A, B, and C classes, with last year's place finishers up front, more or less. It was a crowded harbor and with the bright sun angling low on the October sky the lighting was near perfect. Throughout the parade many of the boats fired upon one another with friendly reports that echoed around the harbor.
Here is a collection of pictures that I shot during the 2010 Parade of Sails at Baltimore's inner harbor. 

Schooner "Spirit of Independence" and "Lynx" Photo by Allen B. Graves

Schooner "Spirit of Independence".  Photo of Allen B. Graves

Schooners in the 2010 Parade of Sail. Photo by Allen B. Graves

Schooner "Lady Maryland" with the "Spirit of Independence" and other schooners in the background. Photo by Allen B. Graves

Schooner "Sultana". Photo by Allen B. Graves

Schooner "Rusamee. Photo by Allen B. Graves

The American sail flies above a schooner. Photo by Jim Dyson

Stern board of the Privateer "Lynx". Photo by Allen B. Graves

 A schooner sails by the Lightship "Chesapeake" at Baltimore's inner harbor. Photo by Allen B. Graves

Privateer "Lynx" under sail. Photo by Allen B. Graves
If you would like to live vicariously, sail the race and follow the schooners electronically, just follow this link. Fair winds to all competitors and may you all have a great sail. http://kws.kattack.com/kattacklive/offshore.aspx?FeedID=288  This feature is brought to you by the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Aboard the Spirit of Independence - At Liberty - 10/12/10

For my full day off in Fells Point with shore liberty I thought it would be best to take the time to tour the USS Constellation. And as luck would later prove, it was the perfect decision for the day. The history of the sailing ship is best left to the Wiki, so I'm going to write and concentrate about today's adventure along with my fellow crew member and starboard watch member extraordinaire, Whitney Rayl. 

USS Constellation Baltimore Habour, MD. 
We walked to the USS Constellation - about a mile from Fells Point where the Spirit is moored - and after paying an $11 tour fee, we entered the museum portion of the tour. Lots of exhibits are available with sabers, pictures, artifacts and history to read. I found in one exhibit the comic below that conveys a bit of humor of the day. Granted it is taken out of context, and maybe you had to be there on the ship for it to be funny, but I think it is note worthy.

Once through the museum area, and up a flight of stairs, we were on the spacious wooden deck of the USS Constellation. Three stout masts full of rigging towered above our heads. Near the stern a guide called us over for a talk about history and the noon day firing of the gun, but being there so close to the appointed time of firing we missed much of the talk, but got the scoop on the gun which was loaded with a pound of black powder. Four men were asked as volunteers to pull the gun into firing position and I was among those that tugged the gun.  This was a little one and I can tell you first hand it took a bit of effort to roll it into position.

Loading the gun on the USS Constellation.
Once the gun was in position  (according to the gunner,  cannons are for land and guns for the sea)  we were told to cover our ears for the firing. A sharp report rang out over Baltimore Harbor along with a large cloud of white smoke. Soon thereafter the Pride of Baltimore II and the Lynx came into view further up the harbor under a full press of canvas. They were saluting each other, the harbor and soon, the USS Constellation.

Pride of Baltimore II and the Lynx in Baltimore Harbor near the USS Constellation.
Pride of Baltimore II saluting the USS Constellation in Baltimore Harbor. Below is the gun that was demonstrated for us earlier.
Lynx from the deck of the USS Constellation.
After the gun salutes, we toured the rest of the ship from stem to stern and four decks below. We were told that the USS Constellation has a shorter bowsprit on her now because, if it were the original length, at low tide it would pierce the roof of the restaurant in front.

USS Constellation and view of restaurant in front.
Whitney Rahl at the helm of the USS Constellation
Whitney Rahl beside one of the guns on the gun deck.
Guns lined up on the gun deck.
Captain's quarters.
Rigging USS Constellation.
Definitely check her out if you get a chance and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

As I write this blog outside my office - at race headquarters - Schooners and Crooners have warmed up and various bands are now playing. Tomorrow's another big day including the The Parade of Sail, the dinner for the participants and sea shanty singing at the Wharf Rat.

Schooners and Crooners setting up before it got crowded.