Here is a great picture to start this year off right. This is a late-style O'Day Mariner sitting on her mooring off Busby Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Named after William Busby who made the first mining claim in the Sound in 1893, the island sits at the entrance of Valdez Arm, a long corridor which leads to Port Valdez 24 miles to the northeast. This, of course, was the site of the infamous Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. Although the massive oil spill has left its mark permanently on the shoreline, it is nevertheless a beautiful and tranquil place to sail and explore today.
For a number of years, illustrator Brian Gilbert has provided drawings for the Small Craft Advisor magazine each time they review a boat. This one appeared in edition #49 which reviewed the Mariner, and Brian has given me permission to post it here. The actual review boat, #4186, is a Stuart Mariner and was featured in this column mid-June of 2009. Brian is also an author, having published two books: Fix It And Sail and The Complete Trailer Sailor.
Jim Watson's #1647 NAUT-A-TOY has been featured in this column several times. This picture, as he writes, was taken on a mid-October weekend. "The weather was unseasonably warm, and the little sailboat seemed to be begging us to take her out to play one last time. As it was our last sail of the season, there were no thoughts for the little 'projects' that had not been completed this year. There would be enough time to plan for refinish and upgrades during the coming winter. Today was all about the sun and the wind and the little boat." Notice Jim's two kids on the V-berth below!
Ed Wise has owned #2862 CHRISTINA T for many years now. Ed makes a number of trips with CHRISTINA T each year to places like Long Beach Island, New Jersey; Lake George, New York; Chincoteague Bay, Virginia; and even Long Island Sound in Connecticut when he joined the Connecticut Fleet's rendezvous last year to Mystic Seaport. "After a long day of sailing," Ed writes, "it feels great to set the hook and kick back, relax in the cockpit and take in the onset of a beautiful sunset."
Jan. 30-Feb. 5
Taken during the 2006 Nationals at Narrasketuck Yacht Club, this shows #2376 BLON-DEE III and #738 GUMBY (using second-hand sails) moving along smartly in light winds. #2376 was bought new in 1972 by Art Leiz who still owns and actively races her today. In this regatta, however, BLON-DEE III was sailed by Art's two sons, Jim and Arthur Leiz, and they would go on to place second in the rankings. GUMBY, another active racer, is owned by Tom and Michelle Green who scored an impressive first-place finish in the President's Fleet the year before.
Ben Bandt owns a mid-style keel Mariner and is based in the Great Lakes region. This picture was taken during his first voyage with his boat and shows her tied up at a dock in the Huron Islands - notice the old railway at the bottom right extending into the water. Ben has been considering some serious offshore sailing in his Mariner, intending to make modifications and upgrades in order to sail from Lake Superior all the way to Newfoundland! He even considered changing the rig to a gaff-rigged cutter to experiment, although it is likely he will be staying with its current configuration.
Imagine sailing your Mariner in the summer almost every day, taking people out, sailing to various destinations in Wellfleet Harbor (Massachusetts) all day long, and getting paid to do so. That is exactly what Captain Gary Flomenhoft does with his #3468 SYNTROPICAL 2. Gary was an ocean lifeguard for 18 years before starting his sailing business which includes his Mariner. Since acquiring his Mariner in 2006, his business, Outer Cape Sailing, has flourished so much that he now offers charters in other boats to places like Buzzard's Bay, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
These great sailing days are coming again soon! This picture of Mariner #100 was taken by David Anderson who was sailing in his own Mariner, #2540 MOONRACER. A Maine resident, David writes, "We trailered our Mariner up to Sebago Lake for a day sail with the kids. We were headed south across the lake and spotted this Mariner. We told him he had the best [sail] number. He told us not to go too far as the wind dies around 2:00 pm. We took his advice, and, sure enough, it died just after lunch, which turned our boat into a swim platform."
Feb. 27-Mar. 4
Here is a picture of #3054 beating through choppy seas as a powerboat blasts by in the background. Built in 1975, this particular Mariner sports a few unusual features such as a custom sheer stripe which curves downward at the bow as well as a loose-footed main. A closer inspection of the picture reveals that she is also set up for a genoa; white rollers on the shroud turnbuckles to prevent chafing from the genoa sheets are visible, and a genoa track with a turning block can be seen on the port coaming top with a small winch mounted just in front of it.
Mariner #1685 LA MOUETTE was owned by a gentleman who kept her in Charlestown, Rhode Island. He set to work refurbishing her back in 2008. He installed brand new portlights, fixed some leaks in the hull, purchased new sails and refinished all the wood. LA MOUETTE is a true cruiser; she is fitted for a genoa as well as a storm jib, and a solar panel to recharge the battery can be seen mounted on the top of the mast. At the beginning of September 2008, however, she was put up for sale, and her whereabouts are now unknown.
Mariner Class Association member Marty McLean of Allentown, Pennsylvania is pictured here sailing his restored Mariner, #735 PROXIMUS at Lake Nockamixon State Park. Marty and family members are enjoying a sunny July sail demonstrating the Mariner's capability as a great family boat. Lake Nockamixon hosts a number of Mariner owners throughout the season; for a few years, a Mariner fleet was organized at the nearby Sail Club. While the sailing area is limited, it is still a beautiful area to explore. Thanks to Steve Hock for the picture.
This handsome-looking boat is actually #1922 when she was still owned by Louise McCarthy. After I purchased #1922 from Louise in 2007, we kept in touch, and she later sent me this picture entitled "Lunch Break" she had taken in back in 2003. She wrote, "Two seasons ago, we were sailing and were hit with a hurricane that wasn't supposed to be there. It laid the boat over on its side and she came right back up again. We found out later the wind was gusting to 50 mph. She's a tough little boat."
Tim and Erin Reiche, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, own #2170 MAGGIE. This particular picture was taken last year at Brant Beach, New Jersey, during the weekend of the Mariner National Championships. While Tim did not race, he did spend the weekend sailing around the area. He writes, "I went to cruise and got several odd looks when people asked what hotel I was staying at and, in response, I pointed out to my boat in the water." What a great sunset picture.
Taken during the 2008 Riverton Fall Wind-Up, this picture shows #938 with owner Glen Smythe and crew heading downwind. Photographer Read Howarth writes, "It was a crisp and windy fall day as the Riverton Wind-Up commenced. The winds blew upward of 30+ knots, so racing was halted on Sunday after one race." A closer look at the photograph reveals that #938, an older-style Mariner with the open cuddy cabin, has been retrofitted with mid-style portlights, although they are facing backward!
Jack Anderson, of Longwood, Florida, has owned #1335 CAVU since 2009. (CAVU is a pilot's term for "Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited".) He restored her in the winter of 2009 with new paint, new varnish, homemade (!) main and jib roller furler gear, a custom stainless steel bar on the stern for attaching various pieces of equipment, and he relocated the mainsheet to the transom so he could install a bimini, which Jack says is "flimsy aluminum and very thin canvas, but the shade is a godsend."
Take a look at the great paint scheme of this boat! At first glance, you might think this Mariner, owned by Mark Newman of Centerville, Massachusetts, is a wooden sloop with canvas-covered decks like sailing boats of another time period. Mark's clever paint job with his mid-style Mariner has produced a beautiful work of art. Notice how the sliding hatch, rubrail and toerails on the foredeck have been painted to also look wooden. A custom forward hatch and teak handrails add to the look, and the painted portlight frames look fantastic. Mark writes that her restoration is nearly complete.
One of the Mariner's advantages is the capability to sail and anchor in very "thin" water with its ten-inch draft. Here, Zach Katzenmeyer of Clinton, Mississippi, has anchored his boat, #3595, near Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, Alabama. His crew, Max, is searching for shells on the sandbar. There have been many times when Mariner owners have sailed their boats with only a foot of water beneath the keel, much to the amazement of onlookers. Zach's outboard motor gave out on this trip due to a torn fuel line, although he managed to sail all the way home without incident.
Apr. 30-May 6
David Stone's #3647 BIGENUF has been featured in this column several times, and the fantastic pictures just keep on coming. According to David, this picture was taken as he was anchoring after a beautiful sunset "dinner-destination" sail in Gulf Breeze, Florida with friends visiting from Utah. After dinner, a violent thunderstorm swept through, but once it had passed, he and his friends capped off the day with a full moon return sail. BIGENUF was launched for 2012 on Easter weekend, and David even treated himself to a new set of sails.
All the various Mariner fleets are starting to get back into action! Here is the first race of the 2012 season at Riverton Yacht Club on April 25th. Frank Pelosi (#3599) and Dan Walsh (#2778) head toward the windward mark in steady winds. This picture was taken by Byron Campbell who has posted many photos of boats racing at Riverton over the past few years. He has just started a new 2012 sailing photos page and plans to update it weekly with each race. He enthusiastically writes, "The Riverton Mariner Fleet is open for business!"
How neat would it be to have your Mariner painted by a professional artist? John Blackburn's (#2270) brother-in-law, Ken Stetz, painted this image of John's Mariner tied up at an inlet in Maryland on a very early summer morning. Ken writes, "I have sailed on that boat with John on a number of occasions, and this painting is the third time the boat has appeared in my work." Be sure to check out more of Ken's fantastic images at www.kenstetz.com.
The last time the Mariner Class National Championships were held at Surf City Yacht Club was in 2008, and this is a great action shot from that Saturday's racing. The gold boat, Bill D'Autrechy's #2537, is running neck-and-neck with Frank Pelosi's white boat (#3599), while Dan Walsh's Stuart Mariner, #4181, is close behind. The Nationals are coming once again to Surf City this August, and every Mariner owner is encouraged to join in the fun!
May 28-June 3
This past week, Steve Hock sailed with me in ORION and Chris Albert sailed his #2714 DOG DAZE for a three-day trip from Niantic, Connecticut to Shelter Island and Greenport, New York and back. This picture was taken by yours truly of Chris motoring across Long Island Sound as we headed toward Orient Point. Despite calm winds the first day and intense fog the third day, we had an absolutely fantastic trip exploring places like Coecles Harbor and Greenport.
Here is another great shot taken from the Shelter Island and Greenport trip that Steve Hock, Chris Albert and I took from May 23-25. This picture, snapped by Steve of Chris's boat, #2714 DOG DAZE, was taken in the beautiful anchorage of Coecles Harbor on the east side of Shelter Island. We had rafted up for dinner beforehand, and Chris eventually relocated a short distance away for the night. We were treated to this fantastic sunset before turning in.
This picture, taken in 2006, shows a mid-style Mariner on her mooring in Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island, Maine. The origin of Burnt Coat Harbor's name is not verified, although it is suspected that a Revolutionary War deserter symbolically burned his coat before fleeing to the island in 1776. The harbor is home to one of Maine's many famous lighthouses which has been in continuous operation since 1872.
Barry Waldman was the owner of #3306 QUIXOTIC who is pictured sailing here with his family in April 2010. QUIXOTIC has been featured in this column a few times since 2009, and I like to periodically remember Barry as he died of cancer just a couple short months after this photo was taken. Barry absolutely loved sailing, and he even built a model of his Mariner. His wife later told me how happy she was that Barry had a chance to enjoy his Mariner even if not for very long. Rest in peace, Barry.
June 25-July 1
Eric Lesniak, owner of #3485 SHOAL MATE, went sailing last weekend for the first time since 2010. Eric writes that his boat "never made it off the trailer last year with all the things on my 'to do' list. But this year, I did get her in the water, and Saturday, June 16th saw mild winds coming from the east. There are other things [I need to do for the boat], including some work on my trailer, but those will be for the really windy days when it's just too rough out on the Bay. It felt great to be back in the saddle!"
This past weekend, the Southeast Connecticut Mariner Fleet had their 2012 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport for the WoodenBoat Show. It was a fantastic sight to see six Mariners sailing together at one time! The first day we sailed to Mystic from Niantic; the second day was spent attending the Show and sailing to West Harbor, Fisher's Island; and on the third day, everyone sailed home. Boats from left to right are #2024, #2170 MAGGIE, #1922 ORION, #2186 GYPSY ROSE, #2714 and #2290 SWEET CAROLINE.
Although the sail number reads "3172", this boat is actually #2186 GYPSY ROSE, owned by Bill Collins of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Bill and his daughter Julianna joined ten other sailors on the Mystic Seaport Rendezvous last weekend, and here they are sailing by Hawks Nest Point by West Harbor, Fisher's Island. Towing a small dinghy did nothing to slow him down - he remained ahead of most other sailors over the course of the weekend.
Here is another shot taken during the Mystic Rendezvous trip held at the end of June. This is Tim Reiche sailing #2170 MAGGIE and using sails from another Mariner (hence the different sail number). Besides his Dyer Dhow dinghy, his bow pulpit is also a new addition this year, a great help when anchoring singlehanded. In this picture, Tim has just entered West Harbor, Fisher's Island, and is searching for a place to drop anchor for the night.
Last week's "POTW" was of Tim Reiche's boat, and here is a picture taken by Tim of a fellow Mariner sailor. Tim writes, "I spotted Dan Mulhern sailing his mid-style #1545 while sailing on Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania on June 2nd. We both seemed to change course towards each other after recognizing such a nice-looking boat. Dan will be keeping his Mariner in a slip just one dock down from my slip. There is a growing number of Mariners on Lake Nockamixon which is a promising trend!"
July 30-Aug. 5
Black storm clouds did not stop Ed Wise (#2862 CHRISTINA T, pictured) and Steve Hock (#3627 WHITECAP) from having a great time with their Mariners a few weeks ago. The two spent five days sailing and exploring the lower Chesapeake Bay area. On their trip, they cruised many rivers of the Bay and stayed on their boats overnight in remote anchorages. Steve writes, "If you have not tried some extended cruising, you are missing out on a really fun aspect of your Mariner's capability."
"Today, the leaves are drifting down in greater quantities than last week. My LAPWING skims across the surface of the sea embracing the wind. She loves to haunt the shallow bays and coastal inlets of my native Boston. Now, in early autumn, each day we have spent together has been a gift." So writes Alice Hawrilenko, owner of #4082 LAPWING (named after a plover), in her blog back in October of 2008. Alice recently completed a remarkable trip to Martha's Vineyard and back through the Cape Cod Canal.
Chris Albert's #2714 has already been featured twice in this column this year, but this shot deserves to be displayed here as well. Chris went sailing in his boat while photographer Steve Hock and I sailed in ORION during a three-day trip to Shelter Island and Greenport at the end of May. On the second day of the trip, we circled Shelter Island clockwise, and this picture shows Chris beating through the vicious currents at Conkling Point. You can see the multi-million dollar houses in the background atop Shelter Island Heights.
The 2012 Mariner National Championships last week went off without a hitch at Surf City Yacht Club in New Jersey, and this photo, taken by Tony DeCicco, shows some of the great racing that took place. Despite threats of thundershowers for Saturday, they managed to fit in four races with two more on Sunday. It was good, clean, fun racing - just as it should be. No protests were lodged, and all participants (a whopping 28 boats) had a fantastic time. A great success!
Aug. 27-Sept. 2
Oly Shooter, of Tennessee, owns Mariner #1071 SWEET KATE. This picture was taken on Bear Island, one of the many islands in Percy Priest Lake near Nashville. Oly writes, "One of my favorite things about the Mariner is how easy it is to pull up the centerboard and beach the boat for a lunch break and/or a short hike before I resume sailing. Shallow draft is a huge advantage with the centerboard Mariner, and it doesn't compromise its sailing abilities for that advantage." Agreed!
Byron Campbell, photographer at Riverton Yacht Club, was kind enough to send me another one of his photos for this column. "I took this picture from my boat on a Sunday race for Mariners. Harry Mayer is in the lead (#664 MARE) going about 'A' mark, with Dave Reily (#1249 SILK PURSE) second, and Dave Oldham (#1534 FROGGER) third with the Riverton shoreline in the background. The wind was pretty light that day, about 5-8 knots."
Look at this tiny model of ORION motoring! Or is it...? This was actually taken at the beginning of August when my father and I took a short trip to Fisher's Island. Using a procedure called "tilt-shift" photography and adjusting various color, blur and focus parameters, most any picture that has been taken from elevation can be made to look miniature. We had a nice sail to the Island, although a visiting Yacht Club monopolized all dock space and light winds on the way home prompted us to motor for a while.
Paul Coward is in the lead with Mariner #584 at last year's Nationals at Brant Beach (New Jersey) in this shot - he and crew Ginny Fine ended up taking seventh place overall. Mariners are wing and wing as they head toward the leeward mark, and you can even see #1922 ORION in the mix. It is worth noting that the oldest known centerboard Mariner, #20 LORELEI, was on the race course and can be seen at the very left in the picture.
Karen Ellison recently purchased this 1976 Mariner she named PATIENCE. A pilot as well as a sailor, Karen has been maintaining a blog about her experiences. She writes, in a portion of her blog, "I was sailing! I headed out to Caswell Beach, crossed the channel and then turned back. Now I just needed to get back, lower the sails and get back into the slip. I had to try twice to get PATIENCE back where she belonged, but I didn't do any real damage, so I was happy. My first solo!"
Ed Wise's (#2862 CHRISTINA T) and Steve Hock (#3627 WHITECAP) completed a fall cruise to Maryland's Eastern Shore on the Chesapeake Bay in their own boats. Their five-day trip included overnighting at Reed Creek, Grays Inn Creek, Gibson Island and a call at Annapolis for a look at the boating mecca as well as for a delicious crab cake lunch. The two covered about 105 sailing miles as well as some ten miles of motoring. In this photo, Ed Wise is sailing in strong winds near Sandy Point Light, Maryland.
Surf City Yacht Club has a very active racing fleet of Mariners, but every once in a while, some of them get together to sail around just for fun. This picture is from 2010 when four Mariner families took a Sunday afternoon trip through the back creeks of Manahawkin Bay to sail in places they had never been before. Here, four-time Mariner National Championship winner Newt Wattis (#2604 MY LIGHTNING) and another member of the Club take a pit stop in one of the back creeks.
Colin and Ginny Steel are seen here motoring with their boat of 35 (!) years, #2588 CRAMOND in some marshes near Wayland, Massachusetts. According to Ginny, "The picture was taken in August of 2006 by our friend Alice when we were bringing CRAMOND from her mooring to the dock to take Alice and her husband Larry for their annual sail with us. Our guests, from a few days before, thoroughly enjoyed some challenging conditions off the New England coast after several days of strong winds. CRAMOND can handle it all!"
This is a fantastic picture showing Drew Thompson and #3214 SWELL flying an asymmetrical spinnaker, courtesy of photographer Grad Dewar. Drew constructed a sprit that, according to him, "slides in an ABS tube, which is attached to a deck cleat. The rear of the pole goes from a shroud to an eye on the foredeck. The rope from the trailer bow eye goes through a ring at the end of the pole to transfer vertical loads to the bow eye. He goes on to write that the pictures were "taken at the start of a race. There was supposed to be more wind."
Oct. 29-Nov. 4
Stuart Watson, owner of #2154 TUSSLE, took this beautiful shot after spending a "12-hour day finally pulling last bits together to get TUSSLE down to her slip on the Northeast River off the Chesapeake Bay. I spent an hour cruising in complete silence and watching the sun set. It was a magical night of bird songs, water lapping on the hull, water fowl soaring around, light breeze and a reward brew! I stepped back to hank on the jib from using a furler for the last few years; I had a hankering to go old school this fall."
At the end of October, Mariner owners Oly Shooter (#1071 SWEET KATE) and Bob Chandler (#3048 SWAY) went out for some "fine fall sailing on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville." Oly continues to write, "We are at peak fall colors which made for some great photography. I was able to get some nice shots of Bob's Sway including a couple of action shots of the boat sailing to weather in a nice breeze." Be sure to take a look at those photos here, and while you are at it, check out Oly's movie he created.
Here is Ed Wise, aboard #2862 CHRISTINA T, enjoying a challenging sail down the Honga River near the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He and photographer Steve Hock (#3627 WHITECAP) made a 100 mile plus trip over five days to test their sailing mettle. Overcoming some sailing challenges, the two battled hot temperatures, a boat breakdown and high winds to finish safely in Crisfield, Maryland.
On a mild November afternoon in Middle River, Maryland, Rob Jones took a crew of two (son Chris and new daughter-in-law Erin) out on his boat, #2026 NUNYET. The 8-10 knot wind forecast for Veteran's Day on the rivers of the Chesapeake was not ideal, but sometimes there is more to be enjoyed than a little wind in your sails. While they were on their relaxed excursion, Erin, a professional photographer, snapped a few photos to document the outing.
Nov. 26-Dec. 2
Here is a great picture of Karen Ellison sailing in her 1976 Mariner PATIENCE, taken by John Barry. In this photo, Karen writes, she is "sailing into the sunset on the Cape Fear River near Southport, North Carolina." According to Karen, she purchased PATIENCE "to expand her sailing repertoire". Hurricane Sandy only brushed by her location in North Carolina, and PATIENCE comfortably rode out the storm at her marina slip.
This may be the best year yet for the "Picture of the Week" column with pictures like this one. Stuart Watson's #2154 TUSSLE is shown here in mid-November with an incredible sunset dead ahead. Stuart writes, "TUSSLE and I like the latter half of the day to catch these sunsets blossoming over the waters across the Northeast River near Charlestown, Maryland. Even with zero-wind conditions we have time to relax and enjoy the serenity of the area."
This past summer, Rich Weston, with wife Natasha and daughter Chloe, joined the Southeast Connecticut Mariner Fleet's Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. Rich trailered their boat, #2290 SWEET CAROLINE, to Niantic and joined five other boats, sailing to the Seaport on Friday, Fisher's Island on Saturday, and back to Niantic on Sunday. Rich writes, "What a fantastic adventure we had! We had made new friends and never had a dull moment."
Oly Shooter's #1071 SWEET KATE is captured here in a fantastic photograph taken by fellow Mariner sailor Bob Chandler (#3048 SWAY) during a sail on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tennessee. This image, as well others of SWEET KATE and SWAY, are featured on some items in the Mariner Class Association's online store celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the O'Day Mariner. Be sure to check out all the gear available to purchase.
This close-up shot, courtesy of Grad Dewar, shows Drew Thompson's #3214 SWELL moving along nicely in light airs during a regatta this past spring. Drew has made his Mariner a true racehorse for PHRF races, including adding a retractable bowsprit for an asymmetrical spinnaker. He has also slightly modified the mainsheet by adding a bridle at the transom - a configuration that is not acceptable for Mariner Class Association National Championship regattas, but PHRF racing is another matter!
Dec. 31-Jan. 6
On this last Monday of 2012, I offer my own ORION as the final Picture of the Week for this year. This was taken during this year's "Rendezvous" to Mystic Seaport back in June. I had put the awning up, hoisted the anchor light and opened the forward hatch to let in a little cool air and was getting ready to relax for the evening when I took this shot of the sunset directly in front of me. It was a memorable trip. I hope everyone reading this website has a safe and healthy 2013.