I didn't have a chance to end the 2017 Pictures of the Week column with ORION like I have done for the past few years, so ORION starts things off for 2018 instead. This picture was taken during the 2017 Rendezvous from Niantic to Essex by Jack Lorraine (#1469 TWE). We were headed toward the Connecticut River in light winds, and I was at the rear of the group. I set the asymmetrical spinnaker and make some progress; by the time we reached the mouth of the river, I had managed to claw my way to the very front. Jack snapped this photo as I passed by. Overall, it was a memorable event, and I’m already looking forward to this year’s event. I hope everyone has a great 2018 sailing season!
Mike McCormack's #2707 VINLAND has the distinction of being the very first Mariner featured in this "Picture of the Week" column back in 2008. He posted this picture of VINLAND on Facebook about a year ago, and it's great to see that he still owns her. He sails and races on Sebec Lake, Maine, and he also manages a website with a webcam of the lake. VINLAND will not be back in the water for a few more months yet, but it is pictures like this that keeps Mike and us other Mariner sailors counting down the days until the next sailing season begins.
On the way home from last year's Rendezvous to Essex, we were able to sail all the way down the Connecticut River. However, due to light, shifting winds around the massive supports of the I-95 highway bridge, we found it necessary to take the sails down and motor underneath, remaining under power until we passed through the nearby railroad bascule bridge before raising our sails once again. As we were taking our sails down, Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM) radioed that his outboard wouldn't start and couldn't get underneath the highway bridge. Fortunately, Bill Eggers (#2280 JULIE B) and his family were close by and were able to throw him a line and tow him.
Jan. 29-Feb. 4
Dave Getchell is sailing his 1972 O'Day Mariner PEPPER in light air off of Rockland, Maine back in 2013. PEPPER sports a roller-furling jib using the CDI luff-foil furler, although Dave elected to keep the size of the sail to that of a working jib and not a genoa. Of particular interest is the fully-battened, radial-cut mainsail, highly unusual for a Mariner - and, of course, not legal for class racing. (But who cares if you don't race?) Despite the light winds, it looks like those aboard PEPPER are having a great time, even the dog down below, who, according to Dave, "is sleeping on a pile of jib sheets as normal."
Skipper Dick Dixon is shown here at the helm of his early-style O'Day Mariner OSPREY in a photo dating from the early 1970s. He's sailing with a couple of friends and is being closely pursued by two other friends in an unidentified sailboat, one of whom took this picture. The gentleman on the leeward side of the cockpit seems unfazed at the angle of heel while Dick and his other crew have planted themselves on the high side. Not much more is known about this particular boat; I was just happy to stumble across this old picture.
What do you do during the winter months when there's snow on the ground and sailing isn't an option? Make the mother of all Mariner cockpit tents, of course! Eric Bluhm is sheltered underneath his creation aboard #1703 HIRONDELLE a few years ago. Eric, when designing this enclosure, wanted plenty of space including standing headroom; a full, waterproof cover for rain; screens for ventilation; a large, opening doorway; and window curtains. The end result was a huge success, tested during many sailing trips - check out his webpage here. Although Eric has since sold his boat (tent included), he had been inspired by my website and undertook a few similar projects I tackled - he even painted his boat the exact same color as ORION!
Skipper Ed Wise (#2862 CHRISTINA T) blasts through lumpy swells during a four-day excursion with friends Russ Schuss and Steve Hock. According to Steve, they "experienced quite a variety of weather and sailing conditions" while visiting Crisfield, Maryland and Jane's Island State Park during their cruise to Honga River and Fox Creek. Ed has owned CHRISTINA T for several decades and has participated in several Rendezvous here in Connecticut. Although some of us were worried by some recent talk of him looking for a larger, more comfortable cruising boat, he assured us he has no plans to sell CHRISTINA T. In fact, he plans on coming up with her to Connecticut once again in August to attend this year's Rendezvous to Stonington. Thanks to Steve Hock for the fantastic photo.
Feb. 26-Mar. 4
What do you do when someone gives you an O'Day Mariner for free? If you're the Discovery Center in Traverse City, Michigan, apparently, you put in on land and build a deck around it. That's what they did back during the winter of 2015-2016 when they created their "Ship Shapes" outdoor exhibit in their courtyard. The Discovery Center was founded in 2007 and encompasses a nine-acre campus; it is home to several water-focused non-profit organizations including The Maritime Heritage Alliance, Traverse Area Community Sailing and the Traverse Tall Ship Company. Their website is worth a look, and while it's a shame this O'Day Mariner's sailing days seem to be over, it seems to be playing a very prominent and visible role in the Center's expanding bayfront property.
I love when a state-of-the-art establishment incorporates the O'Day Mariner, a boat designed over fifty years ago, yet time-tested and still in demand today. Such is the case for this restored, old-style Mariner with sails bent on, ready to go, tied to a dock at the Casa Morada in Florida. The Casa Morada is an "upscale, sixteen suite, privately owned hotel inspired by the informal character of the Caribbean", and one of the options guests have is to rent this little beauty for a daysail. With the palm trees blowing in the breeze and this Mariner waiting patiently, it makes me want to jump in for a sail right now - how about you?
For fifteen years, US Coast Guard-licensed Captain Gary Flomenhoft has managed a sailboat charter business called Outer Cape Sailing in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. For twelve of those years, he has owned and used #3468 SYNTROPICAL 2 as part of his enterprise, taking customers out from June to September in Wellfleet Harbor for daysails, beach picnics, seal watches, sunset sails, and sailing lessons. Customers typically fill up his calendar every year, and his website is packed with great information and an easy online-booking system. Although his charter business has been highly successful, Gary is looking to sell it since he is relocating, and his highly-customized Mariner is up for sale as part of the business or as an individual boat. Not a bad way to earn a living, I'd say!
It's no secret I'm a sucker for Mariners in sunset shots, so I was happy to come across this photo of O'Day Mariner #173 THE FREE. In 2012, this boat was in a pretty dilapidated state in East Quogue, New York, and her current owner found her tucked back between some trees with just the bow sticking out and the word "FREE" spraypainted on the port and starboard bow (hence her name). Over time, she underwent an impressive restoration with new wooden stringers, the removal of the original head and plumbing, new cabin plywood, a rehabilitated centerboard, and fresh paint and varnish. She came out looking spectacular - check out this website for more about her restoration with a ton of great pictures.
Mar. 26-Apr. 1
This past Wednesday, Helmuth Meyhoefer, skipper of the famous "Gold Boat" #2676, passed away at age 79. He was a long-time member of the Narrasketuck Yacht Club Mariner Fleet and was a past Commodore and Life Member of the Club. Helmie won an astounding fourteen (!) Mariner National Championship regattas on his home turf as well as at Brant Beach, Surf City, Spray Beach, and Newport. (It's worth mentioning he also placed second eight times.) A former helicopter pilot in Vietnam and a Senior Captain with American Airlines, the legend is that he would fly over the Championship Regatta locations to check out the air current flow for optimum racing performance. Whatever his pre-race tactics actually were, he was nearly unstoppable on the race course and will forever be known as the greatest Mariner champ in history.
While the vast majority of O'Day Mariners are located on the east coast of the United States, they are found all over the globe, from Norway to Australia. Wilfren Tacoronte's boat, #3108 Un Chispito Mas, is a little closer to home in Puerto Rico, and she is regularly cruised and raced in several local regattas. Here she is, sitting calmly on her mooring, waiting for the next race. Since it is not necessary to abide strictly by Mariner Class rules when racing other styles of boats, Wilfren has made several upgrades, including the RudderCraft kick-up rudder and split adjustable backstay. The Mariner is still a highly competitive racer - not bad for a design over fifty years old!