Amy Ellison's #145 CEOL NA MARA is tied to the end of one of the docks at Watergate Marina in Clear Lake Shores, Texas. Although the fog is rolling in, the light breeze is perfect for sailing and CEOL NA MARA (Gaelic for "Music of the Sea") is ready to have her jib hanked on, her mainsail raised, and her docklines cast off. Amy, a lifelong sailor, writes, "She was great while my son was tiny - the cabin was his 'cradle' while we sailed." Amy is now selling #145 for various reasons, although she admits her inclination to sell her "varies from month to month."
August 26th was the second-to-last race of Riverton Yacht Club’s Wednesday series, and photographer Byron Campbell was there once again, capturing some great shots as he has done for many years. According to Byron, it was an “incredible racing season, and this was one of the best nights. Wind started at about 14 knots from upriver and dropping a bit as the evening went on.” This photo shows Frank Pelosi in #3599 crossing the start line ahead of five other Mariners; Frank came in first place for the whole summer series.
Peter Neils motors by waterfront homes on the Groton side of the Mystic River during the 2015 Southeastern Connecticut Mariner Fleet Rendezvous. He is heading to the anchorage just above the Seaport, and he has brought his whitewater kayak along to allow him to get to shore. Peter has made several modifications to his #955 MINNOW, including new portlights, and a bow roller for his Rocna-style anchor. An avid outdoorsman, Peter traveled all the way from New Mexico with his boat to participate in the event and then trailered his boat further north to explore parts of Maine.
Robert Boetticher and his crew struggle to get #3151's sails set correctly during one of the downwind legs of the 2015 Mariner Nationals at Brant Beach Yacht Club. They have just rounded the windward mark, and Robert's crew has the whisker pole in hand, ready to pole out the jib to port. The mainsail twisted during the gybe with the upper batten stubbornly refusing to follow the rest of the sail over to starboard, but it sorted itself out within moments. This extremely rare occurrence happens more with a gaff on a four-sided sail, but it is still very uncommon. Robert ended up 15th out of 19 boats.
It's hard to describe the feeling when you launch your boat either for the first time or after a long hiatus. For owner Dave Martin and his #3462 SQUID JIGGER, he writes that "this was the first sail after what was a total rebuild. We launched in Leesburg, Florida on Lake Harris and had a great sail for three hours then got caught in a major rain storm. It was great to sail a Mariner again after 15 years. SQUID JIGGER will be here in Florida until May when we bring her to western Pennsylvania for the summer." That's Dave's friend Al in the picture with his wife. The boat looks great!
As most of you know by now, I'm a sucker for Mariner sunset pictures, and this nice one comes courtesy of Greg Tkal. He was sailing his 1989 Stuart Mariner #4134 MON AMIE on Saratoga Lake, and although the wind is nearly gone, there's just enough to keep his Mariner moving. Greg writes, "I am an active member of the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club. We currently have a few members who own Mariners, and I just acquired a project Mariner which I hope to get back to sail-able condition. I am hoping to make it to one of your rendezvous one of these days!"
The feeling when you take the first sail in your new boat is hard to describe, but the smiles on the faces of skipper Bill Ferrato and his girlfriend, Becki say it all. Bill's Mariner is #2209 LITTLE BLUE, and the picture was taken, according to him, "June 7th, 2015 on my first sail with my Mariner and my first time sailing with a jib. My parents are taking photos from my family's boat. We sailed from my mooring in Napeague Harbor, New York to Fort Pond Bay and back." LITTLE BLUE is a mid-style Mariner like ORION and has an enclosed cabin with a forward hatch - great ventilation for overnights.
Feb. 22 - Mar. 6
This horrifying picture was taken during a storm last year somewhere along the New York coastline. Although the rudder was shipped and the sails were removed in anticipation of heavy weather, this 1976 Mariner (ironically named SUNNY DAYS) snapped its mooring lines and came ashore, battering itself against the rocks and becoming swamped. The gelcoat is rapidly being ground away and water is pouring in through an open cockpit locker. Fortunately, a good Samaritan (and the photographer) helped the owner and get her off the beach, although her final fate is unknown.
The sun is going down and the wind is starting to fade, but Scott Dronen is enjoying every second of sailing his #873 PIG'S EYE. This is just one of three (!) Mariners he owns, and Scott writes, "I sail my late '60s model Mariner PIG'S EYE on Cotton Lake, Minnesota. I purchased the boat from a gentleman in Wisconsin, who owned it for most of its life. The trip back to western Minnesota was interesting, as the trailer had worn tires and the lights didn't work." He goes on to say that it sails nicely, although while this early-style boat is more comfortable than his later-style Mariner, he admits: "I miss the self-bailing option of the later Mariners."
Most Mariners are taken out of the water with their own trailers, but John Bowers' Mariner, #3435 JEANNE I, is getting the "big boat" treatment with a Travelift. John writes, "We are fortunate to have excellent marine facilities nearby that are used to handling much larger boats which can easily accommodate my centerboarder. I mostly daysail [in Norfolk, Virginia], and I am grateful that I can usually sail every month of the year." His father-in-law, a retired sailmaker in southern Massachusetts, quotes George O'Day as saying that "the Mariner/Rhodes 19 design was the best sailing hull he ever produced." I happen to agree!
Mar. 21 - Apr. 3
Matt Schiemer is now a veteran of the Texas 200, an intensive sailing event comprised of small-boat adventurers sailing 200 miles along the Texas coastline. This picture was taken during last year's event as he was sailing his Mariner, #2014 ODISEA. Although it appears to be a sunset, this was actually taken at a sunrise as he was "headed out of one of our camps known as 'Paul's Mott' during the middle of the week-long event. I have the main reefed in very deep... the forecast was calling for the winds to pick up significantly during the morning hours." Matt was asked to become President of the event due to his dedication - congratulations, Matt!
Apr. 4 - May 8
Amy Ellison's #145 CEOL NA MARA (Gaelic for "Music of the Sea") was featured as the first picture in this column for this year, but I had to put up this shot as well. It was taken at the same time as the first one, but it offers a somewhat unique perspective from a high vantage point. It really shows off the large cockpit and the beautiful Phil Rhodes-designed lines. There's no doubt about it: the Mariner just looks good from any angle, the hallmark of a great boat and a true classic. With over 4,000 manufactured, it remains one of the most popular and time-tested small sailboats ever created, enjoyed by folks of all ages.
It has been over a month since I have updated this website due to other obligations, and I apologize for having stale material on here for so long. I am renewing my efforts to keep it more up-to-date! This picture was taken last year during a sail in Niantic Bay, and I was able to fly the asymmetrical spinnaker and speed along. It was a beautiful day with winds just light enough to allow me to fly the spinnaker singlehanded, an operation which can become a little overwhelming above ten knots of wind. Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun to fly and, at 215 square feet, is the perfect size for a Mariner.
May 31 - June 5
Last week, Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) and I sailed our Mariners across Long Island Sound during a three-day trip to visit various ports, harbors, and anchorages around Shelter Island and Greenport. After anchoring in Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island the first night, we motored to Sag Harbor and then around Shelter Island to Greenport the next day. It was very rainy and foggy, but we wore our foul weather gear and were happy nevertheless! I took this picture of Chris motoring FLOTSAM to Greenport; it seems as though he is just disappearing into the dense fog. That night, however, we were rewarded with clear skies and a great sunset.
Ed Wise, skipper of #2862 CHRISTINA T, has been sailing in company with ex-Mariner owner Steve Hock (now sailing a Catalina 22) since May 25th. Their original plan of sailing for an entire month in the Chesapeake Bay has been hampered by lack of wind and poor weather. However, they are making the best of it and are making stops at Swan Creek anchorage, the Magothy River, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, St. Michael's, and others. Ed has several techniques to convert his Mariner into a miniature floating condo when at anchor, greatly assisted by this full cockpit enclosure. Here is CHRISTINA T anchored at Rich Neck, Maryland this past Friday. Photo by Steve Hock.
Recently published on the Mariner Class Association's Facebook page, I just had to share it. Charles Crowley sent this with the caption, "On Plum Island, Newbury, Massachusetts." While the focus of the photo seems to lean more toward the nice-looking catboat (a Com-Pac Sun Cat, perhaps?), the mid-style Mariner in the foreground is sitting level, high and dry, waiting for the tide to return. Thanks to the shallow draft of the Mariner, it won't be long until she floats again and is ready for a sail, although it would behoove the owner to lower and raise the centerboard a few times to clear the centerboard case of possible debris.
June 20 - July 3
Here is Dominic Romer's 1975 O'Day Mariner doing what it does best by edging up to one of the many beaches around Clearwater, Florida. Just look at the clear water and white sand! Notice the RudderCraft rudder which may be fully raised out of the water, helping the ten-inch-draft Mariner to explore and anchor in shallow water where others dare not go. Dominic and his wife recently purchased their boat, WING SAUCE, and he writes that they have "sailed it three times so far and love it. I've had a lot of sailboats, but I think the Mariner might be my favorite."
Byron Campbell continues to get some great shots at Riverton Yacht Club, and this one shows Mariners battling it out in medium wind on Wednesday, June 15th. Byron writes that it was "low tide, but a nice night". Harry Mayer (#664), leads Frank Pelosi (#3599), and Dave Oldham (#1534) is keeping in front of Dan Walsh (#2778), two-time Nationals Championship winner and three-time Nationals runner-up. Riverton Yacht Club, now 151 years old and one of the oldest continuously-operated yacht clubs in the country, began their Wednesday weekly series back at the end of April; they will continue racing right through the end of August.
July 11 - Aug. 8
Chris Albert's #2714 FLOTSAM is resting at anchor during a trip across Long Island Sound he and I took together back in May. On the second night of our trip, we anchored in Hallock Bay, a very shallow cove in the northeast tip of Orient Harbor. It is about 5:30 am, and the fog has another hour or so before the sun burns it off. We had rafted up before night fell, but we separated to give each other a bit more "snoring room". His preferred method of sleeping is in a hammock suspended under the boom and thus under the boom tent, although his hammock and sleeping bag were still rather soggy from a middle-of-the-night rainstorm on the first night when we anchored in Coecles Harbor.
Ten O'Day Mariners sailed once again from Niantic, Connecticut to Mystic Seaport this past weekend for another successful Mystic Rendezvous. Light winds greeted the group on Friday, but they filled in while off of New London, and it was a great sail there. Despite threats of thunderstorms on Saturday, the sun shone on the group of sailors all weekend long and people were able to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the Seaport and downtown Mystic. Everyone was reluctant to head home Sunday morning, but a steady and building breeze was waiting at the mouth of the Mystic River to provide a lively sail home.
Today, my son Harrison turns four years old, so I'm stealing this column I usually save for other boats to feature him. A few weeks ago, I went with my wife and son to Maine, trailering ORION and launching at Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. From there, we sailed north up Somes Sound to the incredibly beautiful anchorage at Somes Harbor. We stayed overnight on the boat for four nights, and although we experienced a number of difficulties over the course of our stay (mainly in the beginning with a blown trailer tire and an incredibly low tide forcing us to spend our first night on the boat in the launch ramp parking lot), Harrison loved every minute. Here he is at the helm during our trip.
Alan Schaeffer sails his #2470 SIALIA in Niantic Bay during the 2016 Mystic Rendezvous. Alan frequently sails with his children, Joseph and Lydia, and one can always spot his Mariner by the great old British Seagull engine hanging off the transom. Alan happens to be an employee of Mystic Seaport, so he enjoys some privileges that come with the position, including the ability to moor his boat right by the Seaport, surrounded by incredibly beautiful and historic wooden boats. The Mystic Rendezvous was a great success this year with fantastic weather, and Alan and his family had a great time with the other sailors.
Aug. 29-Sept. 4
Jack Lorraine powers Mariner #1469 down the Mystic River headed back to Niantic following the 2016 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. He will soon be overtaken by the 81-foot ARGIA, a schooner based in Mystic providing half-daysails and sunset cruises. Jack sailed his boat singlehanded during the weekend and proved to be one of the fastest sailors. Astute observers may notice his Boomkicker rigid boom vang (eliminating the need for a topping lift), running lights, and a custom-built wooden forward hatch. The name of his boat, TWE, is short for "Thin Water Explorer."
Mariners battle it out at the weather mark during the 2016 Nationals held at Surf City Yacht Club in mid-August. Racers were challenged by strong winds, but it was all good, clean racing with no protests. A whopping 22 Mariners participated in the regatta, and Dan Walsh with crew Randy Swartley (#2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE) came out on top for his third championship trophy. This picture shows Tony and Sarah Mercurio (#3061 KRUSTY KRAB) rounding the mark just before Tom and Michelle Green (#738 GUMBY) while Bill Watters and Tim Gallagher (#860) still need to tack. As it turns out, #860 would eventually place second, #738 third, and #3061 sixth.
Tim and Erin Reiche sail #2170 MAGGIE over a wave as they pass by New London on their way back to Niantic following the the 2016 Mystic Seaport Rendezvous. The forward hatch is open, providing plenty of ventilation to their three-year-old son, Owen, in the cabin. The forward hatch was a feature on all the early style Mariners (1963-1968) and then on the mid-style, "2+2" Mariners (1969-1971). It's a shame O'Day did away with the hatch when the cabin top was more streamlined and "modernized" in 1972, although some Mariner owners of those later models (1972-1979) have installed their own aftermarket hatches to provide much-desired ventilation down below.
Sept. 19-Oct. 2
The sun is setting over the west bank of the Mystic River as O'Day Mariner owners prepare their boats for the night during the Mystic Rendezvous this past August. This photo was taken by Chris O'Brien (#2781 O'MITZVAH!) on the floating docks of Mystic Seaport where ten Mariners were berthed from August 5-7. Chris, a Pennsylvania resident and veteran of the big 2013 50th Anniversary Rendezvous, has missed the past few events due to family and work commitments, but the stars finally aligned allowing him to participate this year. As it turns out, his sister works at the nearby Whaler's Inn, so there was a bit of a family reunion that weekend!
Skipper Lynda Lane and her crew compete during the August, 2014 Invitational regatta at Narrasketuck Yacht Club on the south shore of Long Island, New York. The mainsheet is about as tight as it can be as Lynda beats upwind as the immense Robert Moses Causeway Bridge can be seen in the background. She would again compete in her boat, #2058, the following month for the 2014 Mariner National Championships, held at Narrasketuck, placing sixth out of eight boats. Picture courtesy of Alan Hlavenka.
Someone spent an awfully long time creating this model of an O'Day Mariner at a marina. Or is it...? This is actually Bob Chandler's #3048 SWAY, tied up at her dock back in July, 2013. SWAY's hull is reflecting the sun which has just peeked over the horizon, and the photographic process known as "tilt shift" has made his boat look like a model. Bob keeps his boat in Tennessee, and it is a real beauty.
Oct. 17-Nov. 6
Marty McLean and his crew sail their early-style Mariner, #735 PROXIMUS, on Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago. The winds are light, and one can see the boat's reflection in the water fairly clearly, but that doesn't stop Marty from enjoying a pleasant, autumn afternoon. Should the winds die completely, a trolling motor clamped to the transom will bring him back to the docks without fuss. Thanks to Steve Hock for the great photo.
Why doesn't Chris Albert in #2714 FLOTSAM have his sails up on such a windy day? As it turns out, the wind is nearly calm; you can tell by the water in the background. He is powering through Plum Gut, a narrow passage between Plum Island and Orient Point, Long Island, New York. It is known for its violent rip tides and currents which can top out at over six knots at peak flood or ebb. This shot, believe it or not, was taken just shy of slack tide and was taken during our trip back in May from Niantic to Sag Harbor and Greenport. The short chop lasted for a good half mile, and we had to keep a firm grip on our tillers as the whirling currents kept pushing us off course.
It looks like Mariner #83's mooring ball is dragging her through the water as the forceful current on the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Massachusetts keeps the mooring pennant taut. Charles Crowley, the photographer, writes that he hauled the boat "out of a back yard near Salem, Massachusetts last year and passed it on to a friend that wants to learn to sail. We got her rigged and under sail [back in June] - a few odds and ends to sort out, but over all good to go. I have had several Mariners in the past and love them. I'm in a bigger boat now but can't wait to take this beauty for a nice sail." In regards to the current, Charles writes that "it is very light in this picture; when it rips, it pulls the mooring balls under!"
Nov. 28-Dec. 18
Skipper Alan Schaeffer sails along the Waterford coastline during the return trip to Niantic following the 2016 Mystic Seaport Rendezvous. He is sailing with son Joseph and daughter Lydia in #2470 SIALIA and is towing a dinghy built by himself. The private beaches are surprisingly empty for a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, a marked contrast from the public Ocean Beach and Waterford Beach Park the Schaeffers passed by on their way back to the launching ramp. Alan keeps his boats on the Mystic River within eyesight of Mystic Seaport, but he trailered it to the Niantic River Launch Ramp so he could sail with everybody else and join in the fun.
A cluster of three Mariners battle it out at the windward mark during the 2016 Mariner Nationals at Surf City Yacht Club, New Jersey. Skipper Bill Watters (#860) has successfully rounded the mark on the inside and has already poled out the jib for the downwind leg. Skipper Tom Green (#738) has not made the turn yet, forcing Tony Mercurio (#3061) to luff up a bit, no doubt causing some consternation. Bill showed his stuff during the regatta placing second overall, while Tom was close on his heels coming in third. Tony would end up sixth, a great showing with 22 boats competing!
Dec. 26-Jan. 1
As this year comes to a close, I once again humbly end this year's "Picture of the Week" gallery with a shot of ORION. This was taken by Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) during our three-day trip to Greenport this past May. On the first day, we sailed across Long Island Sound, and I'm motoring ORION into Threemile Harbor at the south end of Gardiner's Bay. We just poked around the harbor for a bit before continuing on to stay overnight in Coecles Harbor, Shelter island. It was a memorable trip with lots of photos taken - they can all be accessed here.