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!
Apr. 30-May 13
Doug Campbell is affiliated with the Red Dragon Canoe Club, one of the oldest boating clubs in the country (founded 1883) and located on the waterfront of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. He is part of the growing Mariner Fleet at the Club and sails an early-style Mariner named BLUEBIRD. Located not far from the Riverton Yacht Club on the Delaware River, the Red Dragon Canoe Club is home to at least four or five O’Day Mariners. This picture was taken this past November when he sailed on a grey, overcast day. In regards to being able to sneak in some late-season sails, he puts it best when he writes, “November sailing: Like getting an extra Snickers from the vending machine.”
In the late 1960s, O’Day Sailboats approved the construction of Mariner sailboats outside of the United States, specifically in Norway (made by the “Selco” company) and in Australia. There, they were produced by Quest Marine as the “Quest 19”, and apparently, they were even building the early-style Mariners as late as the 1980s. This mid-style O’Day/Quest Mariner from Australia is actively raced by Valere Oddoux in Queensland. Notice some custom features he added, including a lengthened mast requiring two sets of spreaders, a square-top mainsail with full-length battens and an array of rope clutches on either side of the cabin. Portlights have been covered by the racing number “408”. Earlier this month, Valere and his crew were forced to jury-rig a new mast during a race when this lengthened mast failed; fortunately, there were no injuries and everyone got back safely.
Back in March, I posted a photo of O’Day Mariner #173 THE FREE, and here’s another great picture of her sailing. She had been found in East Quogue, New York with “FREE” spraypainted on her bows. She was given a lot of help by a few ambitious, young sailors, and she has a new lease on life thanks to them. While I suspect it might be time for a new set of sails soon, given the various patches on both main and jib and odd mainsail window, and although the tack on the main has not been secured, it doesn’t stop them from enjoying a fantastic sail on a perfect summer’s day. Skipper and crew are all smiles as they enjoy the results of their hard work.
May 28-June 3
Frank Pelosi sails Mariner #3599 this past Wednesday during the weekly Wednesday night racing series at Riverton Yacht Club, New Jersey. According to photographer Byron Campbell, it was a “breezy and nice evening” with all the fleets racing in their own classes, including Mariners, Lightnings, J-22s, Flying Scots, and cruising sailboats. Riverton started their sailing season earlier than most of the other clubs with Mariner fleets; their first day of racing was at the end of April. Riverton also remains active late into the sailing season with boats in the water long after other Mariner fleets have packed up for the winter. Frank is an experienced racer with #3599 - the past three times the Nationals have been at Riverton (2017, 2013, and 2009), he placed second overall. Picture credit: Byron Campbell.
After O’Day stopped producing the Mariner in 1979 in order to concentrate on larger models and the new “modern” O’Day 19, the molds were sold to Rebel Industries/Spindrift. Only a few years later, the molds changed hands yet again, this time bought by Stuart Marine of Rockland, Maine. Stuart Marine has officially been manufacturing the Mariner for more years than O’Day did, although their output is nowhere near that of O’Day. This picture shows a 2008 Stuart Mariner sporting a roller-furling jib, bow pulpit, and swim ladder. Whether an O’Day, Spindrift, or Stuart Mariner, they are all similar enough that they can be raced as a one-design fleet.
Sailors are enjoying a great sail in a mid-style O’Day Mariner at the Key West Community Sailing Center last summer. Only a couple months later, in September, Hurricane Irma smashed into Key West and heavily damaged the Center, capsizing all five Mariners. Inexplicably, the Center, knowing a hurricane was approaching, made no effort to take the Mariners out of the water beforehand. Furthermore, instead of repairing them afterward, they simply dragged them out of the water, crushed them with a crane, and threw them away like old coffee cup. The pictured boat is now in pieces in a landfill when it could have been fixed with even a small amount of effort. A very sad and completely unnecessary ending for all five boats. (Can you tell I’m still upset about this?)
June 18-July 1
Actor Humphrey Bogart drags the AFRICAN QUEEN with Katharine Hepburn through the muck and mire of the lower Ulanga River in East Africa… Actually, this muck and mire is located on the shore of Riverton right by the Yacht Club! On a windless racing day, and only a short distance from the docks, the crew of this Mariner has elected to get into the shallow, soupy water and pull their boat back to shore since paddling apparently won’t work in this muck (and motors are not allowed for racing). The Delaware River is a bit of a tricky place to sail with strong currents and flukey winds, but nevertheless, the Club is host to a large number of O’Day Mariners with races two days a week from April to October.
With the Fourth of July just a few days away, I had to post this picture from a couple years ago. Greg Tkal has been a member of the Mariner Class Association for over a decade and actively sails #4134 MON AMIE at Ballston Lake, New York. With flags flying, his Mariner certainly makes an impression during the Seven Lakes Sailing Club’s Independence Day Boat Parade in 2016.
How many of us have wanted a talented artist to paint a picture of our boat for us to display? Robert Jones, of Fork, Maryland, received this portrait of his boat, #2026 NUNYET, from his son’s father-in-law, Habbie. According to Robert, Habbie “took a photo from the flying bridge of his trawler, and used that to make the painting. I actually had no clue he was such an artist. It was a nice surprise!” Robert bought NUNYET a few years back from her first owner who also happened to be an O’Day dealer back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After spending an entire summer restoring her, he finally got her in the water that September. During the restoration, Robert writes, “For the life of me, I couldn't come up with a name I liked, and when passers by asked if I had come up with a name, I kept saying, ‘Nunyet’...”
Lee Prim’s DULCINEA sits contentedly off a beach near Mobile, Alabama with an anchor deployed forward and a stern anchor keeping her from swinging around. The 1,417th Mariner ever made, DULCINEA is actually one of the very first “2+2” models with the enclosed cabin, raised cockpit sole and added quarterberths. She has a somewhat unconventional paint scheme with a bootstripe and bottom paint that follows the sheer and not the waterline. Her mast is raked back more than most, and her backstay adjustment is very robust. She also sports both an aftermarket bow pulpit and stern pulpit (or “pushpit”). Lee has done a lot of beach cruising with DULCINEA, electing to stay onboard for some nights while in a tent on the beach for others. A well-used and well-loved Mariner!
July 30-Aug. 5
Skipper Bill Eggers and daughter Jillian smile as they enjoy their morning coffee onboard their #2280 JULIE B. It’s the final morning of the 2017 Mariner National Rendezvous to Essex, Connecticut, and it won’t be long until everyone’s gear gets packed up and stowed for the trip home. Bill is wrapping up a four-year stint as Newsletter Editor of the Mariner Class Association, and all his work has been greatly appreciated. Bill and Jillian are veterans of Mariner rendezvous here in Connecticut, attending events in 2013, 2014, and 2017. They’ll be here again with JULIE B at the end of this week to attend the 2018 Rendezvous as we sail from Niantic to Stonington.
Ten Mariners are lined up at the transient dock at Stonington Harbor Yacht Club in Connecticut as the sun sets. This past weekend, eleven Mariners and twenty-two sailors participated in the 2018 Mariner National Rendezvous, sailing from the Niantic River to Stonington. (One Mariner couldn’t fit on the transient dock, so it was tied up around the corner on the dinghy dock.) Winds were light on Friday, but they picked up off of New London for a great sail there. Saturday was a bit of a washout, although everyone had a great time exploring the town and visiting the Yacht Club’s clubhouse. Sunday was absolutely beautiful with perfect winds for the trip home. All in all, it was another successful rendezvous with many memories made and friendships renewed.
Alan Schaeffer in #2470 SIALIA sails with son Joseph and daughter Lydia during the 2018 Rendezvous to Stonington. It’s Friday, August 3rd, and they’re on their way with ten other Mariners, passing the rocky shores of Waterford heading to the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. Alan, a resident of Mystic and a Mystic Seaport employee, is towing a small wooden dinghy he built himself based on a larger Atkin dinghy design. It was slow going through Twotree Island Channel with frustratingly light winds and an incoming current, but a breeze off our starboard quarter picked up significantly off New London, allowing for a fast ride all the way to our destination.
Aug. 27-Sept. 9
Skipper Steve Creighton sails with crew Joanne McCarthy as they head toward Stonington during the 2018 Rendezvous at the beginning of August. Although the winds are fairly light, they are just enough to keep everybody moving against a strong incoming current. They are sailing in Steve’s #629 BLIND SQUIRREL, named after the famous phrase, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.” She’s an early-style Mariner and is raced often; she certainly kept ahead of almost all the other participating boats that weekend. Steve and Joanne trailered BLIND SQUIRREL up from New Jersey as they have done for at least four other rendezvous. Thanks to Steve Hock for the photo.
Dan and daughter Madeline Meaney sail past the Red “2” marker at the southern gate of the Thames River channel at New London. They’re sailing their mid-style Mariner, #2024 CLEW-SEA-NUF during the 2018 Rendezvous at the beginning of August, on their way back to Niantic from Stonington. The western end of Fisher’s Island is in the background, the destination of the 2012 Rendezvous. Dan will become the new President of the Mariner Class Association following the National Championship regatta next weekend - congratulations, Dan!
Contestants make their way back from Saturday’s racing during the 2018 National Championships this past weekend at Narrasketuck Yacht Club, Long Island. Twelve racers competed for the trophy, and Dan Walsh (#2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE) came in first for his fourth Championship victory, having previously won in 2009, 2012, and 2016! Racers from all of the “big four” fleets - Narrasketuck, Brant Beach, Surf City, and Riverton - participated in this year’s event, and full details will soon be posted at the Mariner Class Association’s website.
Oct. 1-Nov. 18
Here’s a great action shot from the Nationals a few weekends ago at the Narrasketuck Yacht Club on Long Island. Dan Walsh in #2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE is in the lead and is on the port tack in clean air while the rest of the twelve-boat fleet is on starboard. This is was taken a few minutes after the starting gun was fired for one of the two races on the last day of the event, and Dan ended up coming in first for the whole regatta. Narrasketuck has hosted the Nationals fourteen times since 1971 and is considered the birthplace of the Mariner Class Association back in 1966. Photo credit: Alan Hlavenka.
After not updating my website for a ridiculously long time due to an intense workload, I’m finally getting around to getting some activity going again around here! Here is a great shot of Chris Albert sailing #2714 FLOTSAM during the 2018 Mariner National Rendezvous back in August. He is sailing back to Niantic from Stonington, and with Fisher’s Island in the background, the wind has increased enough to warrant a reefed main. A zippered bag along the length of the boom allows him to easily stow the main when at anchor, and his genoa, all from Mack Sails, adds welcome sail area, especially in light winds. Chris is now the Vice President of Membership with the Mariner Class Association.
Nov. 26-Dec. 30
Bob Chandler proudly stands by his Mariner, #3048 SWAY as she sits by Hole-In-The-Wall Island on Percy Priest Lake, Tennessee. The picture was taken by fellow Mariner sailor Oly Shooter (#1071 SWEET KATE), and the two of them beached their boats to explore the island. SWAY sports a coveted bow pulpit as well as well as convenient handrails on the cabin top, and her gold-anodized spars were produced in recognition of George O’Day’s Olympic gold medal won in 1960 for sailing in the 5.5 meter class. Both SWAY and SWEET KATE have been featured on Mariner Class Association gift items at the Association’s online store - they are both very photogenic boats!
Dec. 31-Jan. 6
These past few months have been extremely busy for me on multiple fronts, and I regret not keeping this website and this column more up-to-date. However, starting this week, I will be able to dedicate more time to it as I did before, and I hope you’ll come back and visit often. In the meantime, as I have done for several years now, I end the year with a picture of ORION herself. This was taken during the past Rendezvous to Stonington in August. On our return trip to Niantic on Sunday afternoon, the wind started out light yet freshened to give us a great sail home, and this picture was snapped while still on a long tack to Fisher’s Island. I wish everyone a wonderful New Year with great sailing in 2019!