With the dawning of a new year comes a picture of a sunrise taken last August at the 2016 Mystic Rendezvous. This was taken at about 6:00 a.m. from ORION's forward hatch after the first night tied up at Mystic Seaport's floating docks. The sunlight is illuminating the historic houses on the western side of the Mystic River, and a slight breeze is just starting to build across the way. Directly ahead and just to the left is Appelman's Point, the site of several shipyards through the 19th century, most notably that of Charles Henry Mallory. The Seaport is built on the site of the famous Greenman shipyard; both Greenman and Mallory shipyards dominated Mystic shipbuilding from the 1830s until around 1880.
This great shot comes from the lens of Byron Campbell, resident photographer at Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey. Taken back on September 11th, this race was part of the fall Sunday Series. Seven Mariners participated, and according to Byron, it was a "nice day with a good breeze." Here, the boats are getting prepared for the second race, reaching back and forth near the starting line. Soon they will be jockeying for the best position to get the best and most advantageous start in clean air and on a tack favoring a leg to the windward mark. Once the horn sounds, all the boats will be right on the starting line and the beat to windward will begin.
In the middle of last July, I went sailing in Niantic Bay with Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) and Dan Meaney (#2024 CLEW SEA NUF, picture here). The winds were light, but we nevertheless had a great time sailing around the Bay and visiting the Niantic Bay Yacht Club to get some hamburgers from their Galley Restaurant. CLEW SEA NUF is a mid-style Mariner like ORION, and although she has snubbing winches and tracks for a genoa, Dan finds the working jib to have plenty of sail area. He has made a point to attend almost every Southeastern Connecticut Mariner Fleet Rendezvous since they first started in 2009.
Bernie and Helen Knefley sail in light winds on the way to Mystic Seaport during the 2016 Rendezvous last August. They take great care of their late-style Mariner named CAPTAIN PAPPY, and it was a pleasure to have them join the group of nine other Mariners for their first Rendezvous. While tied up at the Seaport, they took out folding high-backed chairs, complete with cup holders and other amenities, and set them up in the cockpit, just as comfortable as could be; it gave other cruisers some good ideas! When he's not sailing, Bernie is active as an ordained minister in Pennsylvania - what a treat to talk with him and his wife. Photo credit: Dan Meaney.
Jan. 30-Feb. 5
Jillian Eggers stands by with the bow line as father Bill and sister Bridget maneuver #2280 JULIE B toward the docks at Mystic Seaport. They - and sixteen other Mariners - had weathered stormy conditions en route from Niantic to Mystic during the famous 2013 Mariner Rendezvous, and by the time all the boats reached the Seaport, everyone was pretty wet and tired yet thrilled to be there. Close observers may notice a custom traveler mounted on the transom with the mainsheet cleated off there through a cam; this frees up the cockpit, although perhaps at the expense of better mainsheet control. #2170 MAGGIE is in the background, also making an approach to the floating docks. It was a memorable weekend.
Skipper Dan Walsh and crew Tom Slook charge ahead on a port tack in #2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE while skippers Dan Goldberg (#1880), Dave Stapleford (#3237) and Chris Duncan (#1048) hold their course on starboard during the 2011 Mariner Nationals at Brant Beach Yacht Club, New Jersey. The three boats on a starboard tack have right of way, and judging by this picture, Dan is probably about to shove the tiller over to swing his boat around to follow suit. It can be a risky maneuver so close to other boats, especially when going over the starting line, but it can also pay off if timed just right. Dan knew what he was doing - he ended up placing second, far ahead of his competitors shown here.
Bob Chandler and family sail on Percy Priest Lake, Nashville, Tennessee in October, 2012. #3048 SWAY is running dead downwind with her mainsail on one side and her jib on the other. There are several terms coined for this setting of sail, including wing-and-wing, wung out, goosewing, and others. The old-timers refer to it as "readin' both pages," although that term is more applied to schooners with the main set to windward and the fore to leeward. SWAY was photographed by fellow Mariner owner Oly Shooter in #1071 SWEET KATE - the two of them had a great afternoon on the Lake with many fantastic pictures taken.
Although there is still snow on the ground here in Connecticut, I cannot help but dream of days to come like the one pictured in this great shot. Nick St. Hilaire is jumping off his 1965 Mariner HELLO KITTY with his son, while Nick's wife is taking the picture. Nick writes that he "sailed in Lake Champlain for a number of years and then trailered to the Gulf coast of Florida. It was damaged by a storm while moored/docked a number of years ago. I began restoring it last year to share the hobby with my son. The centerboard is great for when the water gets skinny in upper Tampa Bay." The storm cloud behind them gave them a good fresh-water rinse as it passed over them!
Feb. 27-Mar. 5
I was pretty proud when I finished designing my cockpit awning, and then I saw this. Eric Bluhm made an absolutely incredible fully-enclosed, rain-proof, screened cockpit cover for his boat, #1703 HIRONDELLE, like none I have ever seen. Eric contacted me when he was first restoring his boat, and he even had his hull painted with almost the same custom color as my own. He did a lot of work on HIRONDELLE, but nothing compares to the work he did for his boat tent. Although he sold his boat back in 2014, his website detailing his work for the tent and other restoration projects is still available, and it is most certainly worth a look.
#3485 SHOAL MATE has just been launched by Eric Lesniak as he and his daughter Jessica prepare to take part in the Second Annual Lake Champlain Rendezvous. Eric writes that Jessica is holding SHOAL MATE "at the launch ramp on Hathaway Point in St. Albans, Vermont, prior to our sail to Burton Island State Park. The ferry to Burton Island uses the dock adjacent to the launch ramp, so we were pleased to launch and sail before it returned. Lake Champlain is a great place to take a Mariner. I can't wait to go back!" Eric is the current President of the Mariner Class Association and has taken part in number of rendezvous with his superbly-restored, late-style Mariner.
Mar. 13-Apr. 2
Luke Deikis's #3584 rests calmly at anchor this past September as the sun goes down on the Hudson River, near Little Stony Point, just north of Cold Spring, New York. Luke writes, "The depth rises abruptly from 92 feet to about 6 feet, then holds there for a long gentle slope to the shore, making a shallow calm cove backed with a natural beach that most sailboats can't enjoy. With favorable tide and wind I made it there from my home mooring (Peekskill) by lunch, then left the beach to the day-trippers while I explored a new sailing grounds all afternoon in an increasingly sporty wind. When I returned to the cove to drop anchor for the evening I had it to myself, and the Mariner's shallow draft let me cuddle into the shallow calm waters. I had a restful night's sleep before sailing home the next morning." Sounds like a perfect overnight trip to me.
Apr. 3-July 6
Seagulls will not come near Bill Ferrato's Mariner, #2209 LITTLE BLUE, as she is guarded by Bella, one of the boat's watchdogs. Bill, from Bethpage, New York, took this picture at Napeague Harbor and writes, "During the hot summer days, the dogs lay in the shallows and watch the seagulls land on the boat. Bella, a very high energy, curious dog, races out to the mooring to shoo them away. Up the doggy boat ladder and onto the boat she goes. She will stay there all day if no one comes to get her in the dinghy, a bit annoying after the third or fourth time, but I can't blame her."
After several months of a haitus, I am now hopefully back in action to update this website and get things back on track. Between work, home, selling a house, building a new one, and many other things, I have had to put this website on the back burner. My boat has not even been launched for the season yet! But that will change beginning tomorrow as ORION finally makes the splash to herald in her (short) 2017 sailing season. This picture was taken just a few days ago as my four-year-old son, Harrison, helped me paint the bootstripe. He did a great job and (mostly) stayed within the tape! (I followed along closely with a paper towel, just in case.)
July 30-Aug. 6
This past week, 14 sailors in eight O'Day Mariners sailed from Niantic, Connecticut to Essex as part of the Mariner Class Association's "Westward to Essex" Rendezvous. Despite encountering light winds and some motor trouble, the fleet enjoyed the great weather, the fantastic facilities at Brewer's Essex Island Marina, a tour of the Connecticut River Museum, a cruise aboard the ONRUST (a replica of the 1614 ship Adriaen Block used to explore the Connecticut River), wonderful food at the Griswold Inn and a catered dinner from Marley's Cafe. There were nothing but smiles during the entire event.
Last month, Luke Deikis of Peekskill, New York, went sailing with a friend aboard #3584 DOROTHY for a multi-day cruise around Long Island Sound. He writes, "I planned 12-20 miles a day and I was glad I did. The week we were out had pretty mild winds (with a few very sporting evenings thrown in to keep it fun), plus two days of just glass. Mileages like this let us get moving whenever we got around to it, and even with lackluster winds and half-assed consideration of tidal currents still make it to our destination each evening." He uploaded a bunch of pictures but also writes: "I think there are exactly zero sailing pics. It turns out it's impossible to take a worthwhile pic of sailing a Mariner from within a Mariner."
Tim, Erin, and son Owen motor #2170 MAGGIE up the Connecticut River during the 2017 Mariner Rendezvous at the end of July. Once at the mouth of the river, the wind died off almost completely, and the eight-boat fleet turned on their motors for the remainder of the trip to Brewer's Essex Island Marina. The mid-style Mariner is perfect for kids like Owen who have their own forward hatch to peer out of! Although the Reiches live somewhat far away in Pennsylvania, they have attended every Rendezvous here in Connecticut since 2011. I think that makes them honorary members of the Southeast Connecticut Mariner Fleet, wouldn't you say?
Aug. 28-Sept. 3
This sure would make a good publicity shot, wouldn't it? This is Roger Livingston sailing Stuart Mariner #4096 GHOST with his son Tom as crew during a recent race at Webster Lake, Massachusetts. Roger writes, "It was a perfect day for sailing although we had the rail in the water for most of the race." Roger came in fourth overall and managed to beat another Mariner entered in the PHRF regatta. He and his wife Sally participated with GHOST in the 2010 Rendezvous, and they remain active sailors at their Webster Lake sailing club. Although Roger's (successful!) battle with prostate cancer prevented him from attending this past "Westward to Essex" Rendezvous, he hopes to come to the 2018 rendezvous now that he is officially cancer free!
Matt Schiemer owned #2014 ODISEA for a number of years, most famously participating with her in several Texas 200 events. These grueling, endurance-testing gatherings are rapidly becoming popular in the small sailboat world, and Matt - along with the late John Alesch in #2607 ANCIENT MARINER - represented the O'Day Mariner in style. Here is Matt anchored at one of the checkpoints, clothes drying on the boom, bimini and aft awning in place, taking a well-deserved break. Although Matt recently sold ODISEA, he remains active on the Texas 200 planning board.
The winds may be light, but that doesn't stop Jennifer O'Connor from speeding along in #1338 HOT FLASHES during the 2014 Mariner Rendezvous. She's sailing with borrowed sails out in Niantic Bay with her friend as crew on her way to Mystic Seaport at the start of the event, and the open Niantic River railroad bridge is in the background. Jenn hand-crafted several different awnings for HOT FLASHES, including a fully-enclosed cover with bug screens with roll-up sides. Although she has since sold her Mariner, it was great to have her participate in three consecutive Rendezvous from 2013-2015.
Here is Ulises Fohl’s #1241, an early-style Mariner plowing through her home waters of Miami, Florida. She was for sale about a year ago, but not much else is known about her. However, she seems to be in great condition with her topsides sporting a nice shade of dark blue with a red cove stripe and red bottom paint. Her genoa jib, set on a roller-furling foil, is also dark blue, and her mahogany coaming tops are well-varnished. Her upper and lower shrouds have plastic covers to prevent the jib from chafing on them, a wise precaution that greatly extends the life of the jib. It’s a fantastic shot of #1241 under sail on a perfect day for sailing.
Sept. 25-Oct. 1
The Mariner National Championships were held at Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey a couple weekends ago with seventeen Mariners competing for the winner's trophy. Congratulations to two-time winner Rob Seidelman sailing Spindrift Mariner #4052 who came in first four out of the six races, with Frank Pelosi (#3599) and Jim Erwin (#3187) finishing second and third respectively. Steve Creighton (#629 BLIND SQUIRREL), veteran of many races and rendezvous, won the President's Fleet division. It was a challenging regatta as light winds plagued the fleet, but the professionalism of the Riverton Race Committee, the excellent hosting by the Yacht Club, and the camaraderie of all the Mariner sailors made for a great event. Photo: Byron Campbell.
At the beginning of September, solo sailor Ed Wise (#2862 CHRISTINA T) went on a five-day cruise on the Chesapeake with Steve Hock and Russell Schuss. According to Steve, Ed's boat kept ahead of the other two just about all of the time. Steve, an ex-Mariner sailor (now in a Catalina 22), is a professional photographer and was a member of the Mariner Class Association's Executive Board for a few years. Russ is a past President of the Association, and while he actively sails his #272 SYMPATICO, he elected to cruise in his more roomy O'Day 222. During the cruise, they experienced everything from no wind to too much wind, but they all arrived home safely and with many stories to tell. Here is Ed blasting across the Chesapeake Bay on one of the more windy days of the trip.
Michael Maus, of West Palm Beach, Florida, writes, "After selling my 1966 Pearson Commander in Chicago in 2011, I came to a very quick conclusion that if/when I moved back to my native Florida, an O'Day Mariner would check all of the boxes (primarily trailerable and beachable)." When he eventually made the move, he purchased this 1969 mid-style Mariner at the beginning of 2017 from another Floridian and began many projects, such as painting the entire boat, working on the centerboard, and installing a bilge pump. He named his boat LADY M SEA after his wife, and they have "done a handful of intercoastal cruises and sandbar beer drinking, making modifications to rigging and tweaking the boat to our needs. Hurricane Irma came along and I had to stash the boat in a friends warehouse."
Charles Crowley posted this picture on the Mariner Class Association's Facebook page a while back, and I wanted to share it here as it's a great one. He's sailing an early-style Mariner with a home-built enclosed cuddy cabin - and don't you love the small yacht ensign on the transom? While O'Day Mariners of this vintage (1964-1968) look almost identical to the mid-style boats (1969-1971) when viewed from their profiles, two giveaways can quickly determine the difference. First, only the early-style boats sport the blue-striped cabin and coamings. Second, the cabin portlights are half-circles on both ends. Mid-style boats - besides all the various cabin and cockpit differences - removed the stripe and had trapezoidal portlights.
Mark Bentley passes the Saybrook Breakwater light as he heads home in INVICTUS during the 2017 "Westward to Essex" Rendezvous this past July. This was the second year Mark joined the group for the annual Rendezvous; he sailed with everyone to Mystic Seaport last year and got into a bit of trouble with his motor and centerboard on the return leg. He was successfully rescued, however, and he was happy to redeem himself this year when he came to Steve Creighton's rescue. Steve's #629 BLIND SQUIRREL was experiencing motor trouble toward the end of the event (and shortly after this picture was taken), so Mark towed him about six miles home. Steve was very appreciative!
Oct. 30-Nov. 5
Skipper Dan Walsh takes the lead in #2778 during the David Reily Memorial Regatta just a couple weeks ago on October 15th. This regatta was held at Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey, in memory of one of their own members who was a long-time owner and racer of Mariner #1249 SILK PURSE. #1249 - under new ownership - took part in the race and can be seen on the left side of the picture. This event marked the end of weekly racing for the Riverton Mariner Fleet for the year; Riverton pushes their season later than most other fleets. Their attention will now be focused on cleaning up the Club and preparing to hunker down for the winter. Picture credit: Byron Cambell.
Tim Reiche motors #2170 MAGGIE from her slip at the Nockamixon Sail Club, Pennsylvania, to the launch ramp for her end-of-the-year haul-out last week. MAGGIE was the very last one to vacate the docks at the Club, and photographer Steve Hock was on hand to not only assist in her retrieval from the water but also to take some great shots with his camera. While it looks like Tim is hanging his head in disappointment knowing his sailing days are officially over for the season, Tim claims he was actually averting his eyes from the sun. ORION will soon follow MAGGIE; she's scheduled to end her season this coming Saturday.
Oly Shooter's #1071 SWEET KATE is carefully beached and tied to a tree on Hole-In-The-Wall Island on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tennessee. This picture was taken back in late October of 2012, and Oly had gone sailing with friend and fellow Mariner sailor Bob Chandler (#3048 SWAY). The two of them took a number of excellent photos of each other's boats under sail during this outing, and a few of them were used as promotional pictures by the Mariner Class Association in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the building of the Mariner. It was a perfect sailing day with beautiful foliage.
It's all smiles aboard #2280 JULIE B during the 2017 "Westward to Essex" Rendezvous back at the end of July. Captain Bill Eggers is at the helm while wife Teresa stands in the companionway and daughter Jillian sits on the cabin top. It's Thursday afternoon, and the group of eight O'Day Mariners are headed back from Essex to Niantic after a great time at Brewer's Essex Island Marina. Soon, Jillian will hank on and raise the jib as all the boats sail down the Connecticut River. JULIE B has a unique, home-made traveler system across the transom that allows the middle of the cockpit to remain free from the mainsheet. The Eggers have participated in several rendezvous since the first National event in 2013 at Mystic Seaport.
Nov. 27-Dec. 3
Since today is my birthday, I decided to post a picture of ORION in this column, which I usually reserve for other boats. This shot was taken in May, 2016, when Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) and I went for a three-day trip in our boats across Long Island Sound. We went through Plum Gut and made various stops at Orient Point, Coecles Harbor, Sag Harbor, Greenport, and Orient, and we had a fantastic time despite light winds the first two days and fog/rain the second day. This particular shot was taken by Chris as we approached the Orient Point lighthouse on the first day. Although the water looked like there was wind coming, it was actually just the turbulant water of the Gut. Very deceiving!
Art Leiz bought his Mariner, #2376 BLON-DEE III, brand new from the O'Day factory back in 1972. Since then, as an active member of the Narrasketuck Yacht Club, he became the President of the Mariner Class Association and later the Class Measurer, raced his boat in countless National Championship regattas (winning three times with his son at the helm), and was even awarded the honorary title of Life Member in 2010. Now approaching 80 years of age and dealing with family health concerns taking up much of his time, he reluctantly sold his boat in May of this year after an astounding 45 years of ownership. He does hope, however, to crew for the new skipper in the 2018 Nationals at Narrasketuck! This great picture by Alan Hlavenka shows Art and his son (also named Arthur) on their way to victory at the 2014 Nationals, the last time the Championships were held at Narrasketuck.