To start off the new year, here is the group picture of all the participants taken at Mystic Seaport during last year's Rendezvous. All these folks sailed in 17 boats at the beginning of August, and it was great to have so many families join in the fun. We are standing in front of a constructed in 1874 originally in New Haven that was later donated to the Seaport in 1970. I left this file a bit larger than most so you can zoom in and see some faces more clearly. Photographer Stuart Watson (second from left) is instructing someone on taking the picture, and I'm standing next to him.
Brian and Gina Williams are the proud owners of #2008 CORYCIA. Not only is CORYCIA their first Mariner, she is their very first boat, having bought her last August. Brian writes, "I've sailed with friends quite a bit, and my eleven-year-old son has really been into sailing the last three summers, so it was time to find a boat for the family. I did my research, and the choice was pretty clear, from my perspective." The Williams live in Mystic, and this shot is taken from a floating dock just south of the Seaport (which is in the background). They also joined the Southeast Connecticut Mariner Fleet.
Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) has gradually turned his Mariner from a regular daysailer into a true cruiser. Over the past few years, he has installed a roller-furling genoa jib (a real luxury for single-handed sailing, which he does most of the time), a new RudderCraft kick-up rudder, a bow pulpit (taken from a Catalina 22), a battery in the cabin for lights and a bilge pump, a "Mack Pack" mainsail system (a cover and lazy jack combination by Mack Sails), and more. His daughter, Michelle (picture here), often accompanies him on longer sailing trips. They make a great team!
Jan. 26-Feb. 1
Paul Coward (foreground) is shown here in the lead on the downwind leg of the 2011 National Championships. They were held at Brant Beach Yacht Club, the site of this year’s Nationals coming up in August. Paul, a racer from Brant Beach, has successfully raced his boat, #584 BONNIE D, since the early 1990s. He has won the Championship four times, arrived in second place twice, and finished in third place five times. In this race, he finished seventh overall, yet he did manage to come in first during one of the races on Saturday. A formidable opponent on the race course!
Steve Pawlowskis is shown here last September at the helm of #598 TALLY HO III in Rockport, Massachusetts. He is motoring in front of “Motif Number One”, a replica of a former fishing shack and known to art students as the “most often-painted building in America.” Steve writes, “If you look deeper into the background you can see… the entire north side of the harbor is filled with O'Day Rhodes 19’s and Mariners. We counted 20 Rhodes and three Mariners. They appear to be part of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club fleet.” Mariners are everywhere!
Amy McDermott is all smiles as she waves from her #3590 WINTER'S WAIT. She, her husband, twin children Michael and Josie, and a couple of friends participated in the 2013 Mariner Rendezvous, and Steve Hock snapped this photo of them as they approached the Mystic River highway bridge. They have just left the Seaport, and historic houses of shipbuilders and captains from the 19th century can be seen in the background lining the shores. Mariner #20, Lorelei, can be seen over WINTER'S WAIT’s starboard quarter – she is one of the oldest known centerboard Mariners currently sailing.
#2781 O’MITZVAH! is owned by Chris O’Brien and hails from the Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey, where she is raced every week during the summer. However, Chris made a special trip to Mystic for the 2013 Rendezvous along with three other pals, although he sailed solo for the return trip. Chris’s outboard is one of the newish Lehr models, powered by propane – you can see the green top of his propane tank beneath the tiller. In the background, the 1841 whaler Charles W. Morgan is still being restored in preparation for her 38th voyage which took place last year.
Feb. 23-Mar. 1
This picture was taken by Steve Hock at the 2009 Mariner National Championships which took place in Riverton, New Jersey. That's me at the helm of #1922 ORION with my father as crew. While I had raced Flying Juniors in my youth, it had been a long time since I was on the racing circuit, and ORION had never been raced competitively before. She received a number of light-hearted "jabs" for being the only Mariner there with a bow pulpit, mid-boom sheeting, and other characteristics indicative of a cruising boat. Nevertheless, we managed to place a respectable 12th out of 22 boats. Not bad!
Paul Sheppard is the owner of #16 CHANCE, the oldest known centerboard Mariner still afloat. Not many centerboard Mariners were produced in the first year of production in 1963, but Paul happened to get his hands on this one and did a fantastic job restoring her. He is the Fleet Captain of the Lake Champlain Mariner Fleet, and he is planning a fleet-level Rendezvous in the middle of July with an open invitation to any Mariner owner who wishes to join in. This picture was taken last year and shows Chance aground at the shale bar on Woods Island, Vermont.
Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) is shown here rowing skipper Dan Meaney back to his boat, #2024 CLEW SEA NUF. This took place during the 2012 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport when a group of seven Mariner sailors anchored their boats by the Seaport for one night and rowed ashore to check out the famous WoodenBoat Show before sailing the next day to West Harbor, Fisher's Island. It is an event that will hopefully be repeated this year at the end of June. I personally like Dan's hatch holder - a water bottle taped in position! (He has since installed something a little more reliable.)
Whenever skipper Bill Collins would set his genoa during the rendezvous from Niantic to Mystic in 2012 and 2014 (this picture was taken in 2012), he and his boat - #2186 GYPSY ROSE would be pretty hard to beat. His mainsail originally belonged to another boat, hence the different sail number. His daughter, Julianna, accompanied him on both trips and is a fairly constant companion on his other excursions. Bill recently sold GYPSY ROSE, but her new owners are enthusiastic and are looking forward to being her new masters; her new homeport will be Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts.
Here is #3043 boiling along in blustery winds with three crewmembers onboard. She just sailed by a bell buoy as she approaches a lighthouse in some unknown location. This picture is from the 1977 O'Day Sailboats catalog which touts the Mariner as possessing "Day sailer convenience in a comfortable weekend cruiser." By the time this advertisement went to print, over 3,200 Mariners had been built, and another 500 more would come off the assembly lines before O'Day stopped manufacturing the Mariner in 1979.
Mar. 30-Apr. 5
Stuart Marine has been manufacturing the Mariner since 1983, and although the output is nowhere near the quantity of O’Day Mariners, the quality is just as exceptional. PEARLY MAE is a 1989 Stuart Mariner and was recently re-sold to a new owner after a number of years in Union, Maine (where the picture was taken). She is loaded with goodies including a Coast Guard “safety package” made available through the manufacturer with items such as anchor and rode, life vests, paddle, pail, sponge, flare kit and horn. What a great-looking boat!
Paul Puckett, of Denver, Colorado, recently completed a major renovation of #933 CLASS OF '64. He sent me a great e-mail that tells it all: "Here she is, completely restored and sailing at Lake Havasu [Arizona] a couple weeks ago. It took 2 1/2 years, but my expectations were more than met. She sails like a charm. I'm ordering a furler next week and will add grab rails and maybe a new rudder. If it weren't for the Mariner Class Association and all the encouragement I received from its members, I doubt I would have completed the project." Congratulations and well done, Paul!
At first glance, you might suppose this is a brand new Mariner with everything looking so neat, trim, clean, and freshly painted. Actually, #2154 TUSSLE was built in 1971, and she is owned by Stuart Watson who made a number of cosmetic and practical improvements. Stuart attended the 2013 Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport and enjoyed it so much he participated with TUSSLE in last year’s event. Eric Lesniak took this great photo as they made their way down the Mystic River on Sunday morning heading back to the launch ramp. The motor is pretty appropriate, wouldn’t you say?
#3507 was one of the last to be built by the O'Day Sailboats Corporation before they stopped producing the Mariner in 1979 after 3,771 hulls. This picture is actually from the "O'Day Daysailers" advertisement I have in my collection. #3507, with her crew of two, is sailing along a rocky coastline during a late afternoon sail. The setting sun is illuminating the white sails, making her stand out. One of O'Day's biggest mistakes was dropping the Mariner and other small craft in favor of the larger, more expensive models; they would shut their factory doors for good in 1991.
Apr. 27-May 3
I just love how James Hollister’s #1574 LIVELY is painted. The brown rubrail and sliding hatch and tan toerail all help to make the boat look like she’s wooden; the greenish portlight frames make it seem as though they could be bronze portlights with a heavy layer of patina after years of sailing in salt water. James and his son Nate, who brought LIVELY all the way from Maine, are guiding her through the Mystic River Railroad Bridge on the way back from a successful Mariner Rendezvous last year at the Seaport, and they have their kayak in tow. Photographer: Stuart Watson.
Three Mariners are battling it out as they head for the leeward gate at the 2011 National Championships at Brant Beach Yacht Club, New Jersey. Dixon and Angie Pearce are in the lead in #707 KETCHUP, while Tom Boyer and Bill Clopp in #4059 GRUMPY GEEZERS (isn’t that a great name?) seem to have the edge on Newt and Greg Wattis in #2604 MY LIGHTNING. When the weekend was over, KETCHUP had come in an impressive third overall while GRUMPY GEEZERS and MY LIGHTNING came in fifth and sixth respectively. It was a great weekend for racing.
Owen Reiche has been a crewmember onboard #2170 MAGGIE for a few years now. His first official rendezvous was back in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the building of the O’Day Mariner which took place at Mystic Seaport, although his mother was nine months pregnant with him at the time. He attended last year’s event (where this picture was taken) and plans on attending the Mystic trip again this year. Here he is, poking his head out of the forward hatch of MAGGIE while his mother, Erin, holds him. Erin and father Tim sure know how to start ‘em young!
Chris O'Brien makes the weather mark first in #2781 O'MITZVAH! with Frank Pelosi in #3599 close by his starboard quarter as Mariners at Riverton Yacht Club race on Wednesday, May 13th. Two-time Nationals champion Dan Walsh (#2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE) is not far behind with Harry Mayer (#664 MARE) at the rear. This action shot and many more were taken by Byron Campbell, resident photographer at Riverton.
Bill D'Autrechy maneuvers into position in light airs just before one of the races at the 2009 Mariner Nationals at Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey. Although the event happened in early September, the morning air was cool enough to warrant jackets and long pants before the sun finally warmed everything up. Bill has been racing for many years and is a veteran of many National Championships. He has also been Treasurer of the Mariner Class Association since 2009. As he frequently sails with his son, he affectionately named his boat GENERATION GAP. Thanks to Steve Hock for the photo.
This beautiful pen and ink print is by Alice Kettelhack (1917-2003), a prominent artist based in Narrasketuck, Long Island. Entitled “Sailing the Mariner,” it was most likely drawn in 1972 and depicts a sailboat race with an older-style O’Day Mariner featured in the foreground and a mixed group of other sailboats in the background. It was at Narrasketuck where the Mariner Class Association was founded in 1966, and Ms. Kettelhack most likely witnessed many races with Mariners on Great South Bay. This print was recently found all the way in Chicago!
Rich Weston recently sold his #2290 SWEET CAROLINE, but he still loves the Mariner and has this painting hanging in his office. He writes, "This was given to me by me late mother as a gift for a promotion at work. She got it in Lewes, Delaware, and I also believe that is where they are sailing in the painting as well. The funny thing is that she just thought it was a nice picture of a sailboat and had absolutely no clue that it was a Mariner, the same boat I had recently purchased. As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize it was a Mariner until a year later when I looked at it closely and saw the Mariner logo on the sail. What are the odds?"
Matt Schiemer is a veteran of the hardcore Texas 200 event (220 miles in six days) with his Mariner, #2014 ODISEA. One of the improvements he made to combat 14 hours-per-day of hot, Texas sun burning him to a crisp was the addition of a bimini, something rarely found on a boat the size of a Mariner. He cut 18 inches off the foot of the mainsail, almost five inches off the boom, and reset some cheek blocks. He purchased the bimini from TaylorMade and sewed curtains for the sides. Matt writes, "I am very, very happy with this.... It makes a massive difference." Nice job, Matt.
June 29-July 5
Mariners begin to gather once again at the state launch ramp in Waterford, Connecticut to participate in the Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport and the WoodenBoat Show. Nine boats ended up taking part, although only eight made the initial trip from the Niantic River to the Seaport. Although Friday's sail was somewhat disappointing, Sunday's sail home was a real treat with winds slightly abaft the starboard beam for most of the trip. The Show itself was fantastic with a lot of "eye candy" for wooden boat enthusiasts. More pictures and a write-up will be coming soon.
Mariner owner Alan Hlavenka sails his boat out of Narrasketuck Yacht Club, but he is also a professional photographer. He just happened to be in the Niantic neighborhood when the group of Mariners were getting ready to depart to Mystic Seaport, so he stopped by the launch ramp. He said to me, "I'll try to be there at the Seaport when you guys come!" Sure enough, as the line of Mariners made their way through the Mystic highway bridge and up the channel, there was Alan at the Seaport snapping away with his telephoto lens. Here I am motoring on my way to the anchorage.
Dan Meaney, owner of #2024 CLEW SEA NUF, is in the middle of raising the sails while his daughter, Madeline is at the helm. This picture was taken on the last day of the Mystic Rendezvous a couple weekends ago, and they are at the mouth of the Mystic River about to round the point at Noank and head back to Niantic. Dan has attended almost every annual Southeastern Connecticut Fleet Rendezvous organized since 2009. Last year, he attended with his wife and three kids in, as he put it, a "Mariner full of Meaneys"!
A few years ago, when I was President of the Mariner Class Association, Paul Sheppard approached me about starting a Fleet on Lake Champlain, Vermont. He now has seven members in his fleet, and after the success of several rendezvous in Connecticut, he wanted to do the same for Mariner sailors at the Lake. This picture of Paul, his wife, and his boat, #16 CHANCE – the oldest-known centerboard Mariner still around – was taken just yesterday by Bill Eggers who attended Paul’s first official (and highly successful rendezvous) this past weekend. Congratulations, and keep it up!
July 27-Aug. 9
Steve Hock, former Mariner owner and professional photographer, went sailing last week on the Chesapeake in his own Catalina 22 along with Tim Reiche in his O'Day Mariner #2170 MAGGIE. It was a five-day excursion, and Steve writes, "Tim says unofficially we covered 85 miles from noon Monday till about noon Friday. Two days of high heat and humidity with motoring and the rest pleasant with nice and even strong winds at times.Yes, we suffered some till the sun went down." This picture is of Tim passing Thomas Point Light, four miles south of Annapolis, on the way to their first anchorage in Selby Bay off South River.
Association President Russ Schuss is sailing #272 SIMPATICO in this shot taken by Eric Lesniak during last week's Mariner Class Rendezvous in the Chesapeake. Russ writes, "The Chesapeake Bay Mariner Rendezvous was a success, as much as I could tell. There were 9 Mariners and 13 people. Unfortunately some folks had to drop out. The day of launch was not the best, due to no wind. We motored to St. Michaels and there was one tow. The second and third days were good sailing days. There was a Pizza Party Sunday under the Hooper Light House, and a dinner Monday with awards at the Crab Claw Restaurant." Congratulations, Russ!
Is the mast straight? Is the halyard wrapped up again? Ed Wise in #2862 CHRISTINA T looks aloft while at anchor during a recent cruise. Ed has participated in many races and cruises and recently attended the 2015 Mariner Class Association Rendezvous in the Chesapeake. He even received the “oldest sailor” award at the Rendezvous! Unfortunately, health issues have forced him to recently cancel his participation in the upcoming Nationals at Brant Beach next week, but he is home from the hospital and is on the mend. Thanks to Steve Hock for another great photo.
Aug. 24- Sept. 6
I received a very nice e-mail this past week from Maasson Connor who writes, "I am a fan of your website, it has given me much inspiration! I purchased a Mariner a few years ago, #436. You have a picture of her in your 2011 archive. Attached is a new photo of her beached on Garret Island in the Susquehanna River. She is still lovely as ever and her new name is LE COUCH. I spent seven days on her, only stepping off to get provisions and to explore the upper Chesapeake. Thank you for the help and guidance you have provided through your website!" You're welcome, Maasson!
A couple weeks ago, the Mariner National Championships were held at Brant Beach Yacht Club, New Jersey. 19 boats participated in a great regatta with high winds and clean racing with no protests. The boat in the foreground, #4052, was skippered by Rob Seidelmann who happened to come in first at his very first Nationals! The boat is a rare Spindrift Mariner produced by Rebel Industries in the short time in the early 1980s between the O'Day Sailboats Corporation and Stuart Marine.
Sept. 14-Oct. 4
Here is a great-looking bimini constructed by Charles Tosswill for sailing in his #417 old-style Mariner PEGGY SUE in his home waters of Ontario, Canada. He writes that after cutting down the height of the aluminum tubing and slightly reducing the size of the bimini, "I did not modify the mainsail, or boom. I use the topping lift to keep the boom clear of the bimini while at rest and while sailing. The sail shape does not seem to be affected by this while underway. When not in use, the bimini folds aft and just brushes the backstay. I've been very pleased with it. I'm 6'3" and have good head clearance, also good clearance from boom to bimini as shown."
Oct. 5-Nov. 8
It has been far too long since this site was updated, but I offer this picture taken during the 2015 Mystic Rendezvous. Steve Creighton (#629) is resting at anchor under the shade of his polytarp awning while Dan Meaney (#2024 CLEW SEA NUF) and daughter Madeline are in the background setting up a cockpit cover of their own. Nine Mariners took part in the Mystic trip that weekend in late June, and a good time was had by all.
After nearly a month of inactivity due to various other obligations, this site is back in action and will be updated more frequently! Steve Hock sent me this picture of Tim Reiche sailing #2170 MAGGIE during the summer. Steve writes that the shot was taken "south of Annapolis, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay on a very hot, 92 degree day. This was the first leg of an 85-mile, five day trip from Sandy Point, MD to South River, St. Michaels, Kent Narrows, and Chester River. The intense heat and humidity that day made an afternoon swim a necessity." MAGGIE is still in the water, but like ORION, her sailing days for this season are numbered.
Mariner Class Association President Russ Schuss and his wife Elsie are pictured here motoring up the Mystic River during the 2014 Rendezvous. They race and cruise in their boat, #272 SIMPATICO, and this was the second Rendezvous they attended following the big bash of 2013. The big brick building in the background is an old factory dating back to the late-1800s and is located on the west side of the river where most industrial activity took place (shipbuilding primarily took place on the east side of the River). It is a beautiful destination that sailors never tire of visiting.
In May of 2012, photographer Steve Hock joined me in ORION, and Chris Albert sailed his #2714 DOG DAZE during a three-day trip from Niantic, Connecticut to Shelter Island and Greenport, New York. We sailed to Coecles Harbor and stayed in the anchorage overnight before sailing around the Island the following day headed to Greenport. This picture was taken shortly after dawn as we sailed in light winds and fog from Coecles Harbor and passed by Sag Harbor. Since then, Chris has done some major improvements to #2714 and has renamed her FLOTSAM. What a great trip that was!
Nov. 30-Dec. 6
A trio of Mariners make their way to Mystic for this year’s rendezvous. Nine Mariners participated in this annual event, including Tim, Erin and Owen Reiche (#2170 MAGGIE, right) and Peter Neils (#955, MINNOW, center). Since we anchored out, we needed some kind of transportation to get to shore, so we all towed various dinghies and kayaks. The trip there had flukey winds, and although I’m the only one with my sails up, I took them down soon after this shot by Eric Lesniak (#3485 SHOAL MATE) was taken and started the motor so we could get to Mystic in a timely fashion.
Jennifer O'Connor begins to put up the awning on her #1338 HOT FLASHES as Steve Creighton finishes his cover on #629. The covers on all the boats ranged from the simple and inexpensive to the complex and pricey! Both have just put their hooks down in the anchorage above Mystic Seaport as part of the 2015 Mystic Rendezvous. The first overnight was beautiful, but severe weather forecasted for the following night prompted both Jenn and Steve (as well as a few others) to leave a day early. Although the rest of us were able to ride it out, it's always a smart move to know your limits and not tempt fate. Thanks to Alan Hlavenka for the picture.
Professional photographer Stuart Watson lines up a shot off the stern of his #2154 TUSSLE as he makes his way up the Mystic River during the 2014 Mariner Rendezvous. Stuart came by car to participate in the 2013 Rendezvous and was so impressed he made sure to go the following year with his boat. He has extensively restored TUSSLE, a mid-style Mariner from 1971, adding new portlights, a roller-furling jib, cabin-top handrails, and a beautiful paint-job that makes the boat look even better than new. He took hundreds of photos in 2013 and 2014, many of which are available at the Mariner Class Association's website.
Skipper Chris O'Brien and crew Robert O'Brien keep an eye on their closest competitor astern as they round the windward mark in #2781 O'MITZVAH! and head toward the leeward gate during the 2015 Mariner Nationals at Brant Beach Yacht Club. Joyce Bartlett and crew Chris Scales are ahead in #2217, while #2537, skippered by Bill D'Autrechy and crewed by son John, are approaching on the right. At the end of the regatta, these boats would end up placing right next to each other in the Championship division; #2217 coming in 11th, #2537 taking 12th place, and #2781 taking 13th.
Dec. 28-Jan. 3
And so, I continue the tradition of the last "Picture of the Week" of the year dedicated to my own #1922 ORION. This shot was taken during the last sail we had for the season in the beginning of November. The sunlight against the mainsail really made it stand out against the dark blue sky above, and I couldn't help but snap a photo. ORION is now safely tucked away for the winter, and I am already dreaming of new adventures in 2016. On that note, I wish everyone happy holidays and good sailing with fair winds for next year. And keep those pictures coming!