Wilfren Tacoronte bonds with his six-year-old son as he literally “learns the ropes” beside their #3108 UN CHISPITO MAS. Based in Rincon, Puerto Rico, Wilfren enjoys sailing almost the entire year, and UN CHISPITO MAS is well-maintained. She has a fantastically bright color scheme, and her portlights were replaced at some point. Wilfren added a kick-up RudderCraft rudder which allows the blade to be fully retracted out of the water, and a split backstay keeps the mast perfectly centered, unlike the conventional O’Day backstay whose chainplate is slightly offset to accomodate the transom-hung rudder. Wilfren is one of four members of the Mariner Class Association from Puerto Rico, and he frequently races in local regattas.
Scott Klein’s #271 GO BLUE is bowling along, close-hauled and rail down on a perfect sailing day. Scott and his crew are hiked up on the windward side as far as possible with the main and jib sheets tight. #271 was produced at O’Day’s Fall River plant early in 1965, one of 180 Mariners built that year. According to O’Day’s Vice-President of Sales, Jim Hunt, Mariner production would reach its peak in 1970-1971 with eight boats rolling out of the shop every week - that’s more than one a day! Scott is a member of the Narrasketuck Yacht Club on Long Island, New York, and he raced GO BLUE in last year’s Mariner National Championships, coming in third in the President’s Fleet division.
The sun rises over a bunch of O’Day Mariners berthed at Mystic Seaport during the 2016 Rendezvous. Ten boats and sixteen sailors participated in this event, and Mystic Seaport will once again be the Mariner Class Association’s National Rendezvous destination for 2019 schedule for August 2-4. This picture was taken by Chris O’Brien, skipper of #2781 O’MITZVAH, who ended up sailing to Mystic from the Niantic River launch ramp alone as he got stuck in traffic and couldn’t launch with the rest of the fleet that morning. He arrived in the late afternoon, and it was great to have him participate. A racer at Riverton Yacht Club in New Jersey and a veteran of several Rendezvous, he recently sold #2781 yet purchased another Mariner and hopes to take part in this year’s return trip to Mystic.
Jan. 28-Feb. 3
Look at the smiles onboard David Stone’s #3647 BIGENUF! Everyone is having a great time, even if BIGENUF is simply tied up to the floating dock. Based in Pensacola, Florida, David has made many modifications to #3647 which was built in 1978, only a year before O’Day stopped making the Mariner. Besides a battery installed in the cabin which powers everything from cabin and running lights to an automatic bilge pump, BIGENUF sports new cabin top hardware, a roller-furling jib, a kick-up RudderCraft rudder, a lazy-jack system for the mainsail, and much more. David only needs a two-horsepower outboard since he doesn’t need to battle much of a current where he sails. This saves a a lot of weight on the transom and helps reduce drag.
There is something pretty special when you can anchor your boat off an inviting and secluded beach, spend time to explore ashore and come back to find your boat waiting for you, ready to continue on an adventure. Rob Jones is doing just that with his #2026 NUNYET as she stays peacefully tethered in the lee of an island while the sun is high overhead. NUNYET has been the recipient of many upgrades courtesy of Rob, including a bow pulpit and an elaborate, custom-made pushpit which, among other things, supports several solar panels to power his onboard battery. Rob never races NUNYET as he much preferes to spend time daysailing and cruising near his residence in Fork, Maryland, and his boat is definitely a perfect fit for him.
This great shot was taken during one of the “Sunset Sails” offered by Eric Hansen, otherwise known as “Captain Curley”. Based in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Eric is a former employee and manager of Captain Gary Flomenhoft’s Outer Cape Sailing business which takes people out in an O’Day Mariner in the Wellfleet region of Cape Cod for three-hour daysails in the summer. In 2016, Eric duplicated Gary’s long-running business with his own O’Day Mariner - even operating out of the same harbor - and established Captain Curley. According to his website, he offers sails to Jeremy Point (a secluded beach across the harbor), a sail just before sunset, or have your own customized cruise extending up to six hours. His Mariner, TOMOKA, like Gary’s SYNTROPICAL II, is perfect for taking people out around Wellfleet Harbor, although one can’t help but wonder what sort of competition exists between the two businesses.
Yes, this is actually a Mariner! This is Anthony Paterson sailing DAYO with his crew on the Noosa River in Queensland, Australia. It is certainly heavily modified for racing with a fully-battened mainsail, custom traveler and a double set of spreaders. Not only that, a home-made bowsprit pushes the jib tack out a little more and provides a place for the tack of an asymmetrical spinnaker. Check out the small platforms built over the cockpit coamings for hiking out! Despite all these modifications, you can still identify DAYO as either an early- or mid-style Mariner by the bump-top cabin and the forward hatch. It sure seems like Anthony and his crew are having a ton of fun, and isn’t that what the Mariner is for, no matter how it looks?
Feb. 25-Mar. 3
Lieutenant Colonel William “Spike” Jones, USAF Retired, shared this photograph taken in 1971 of his father’s early-style O’Day Mariner. His father purchased this Mariner “upon his return from thirteen months on the ground in South Vietnam. He learned to sail at Cam Ron Bay during break from the war there. He taught me how to sail, on this nineteen-footer, in the St. John’s River, and in doing so, introduced me to a passion I still enjoy today.” After serving in the Air Force as an F-15 fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Jones survived a massive stroke which paralyzed the left half of his body. Since then, he has authored two books and currently lives with his wife of 37 years in Carrollton, Virginia.
#1007 RHAPSODY sits at her berth in Watertown, Massachusetts back in 2013. This early-style Mariner has a somewhat unusual paint scheme of blue decks, and her gold-anodized mast is a replacement, taken from a late-style Mariner from the mid-1970s. RHAPSODY served for a while as a live-aboard boat - yes, you read that correctly - and the young woman who lived aboard her spent quite a bit of time and effort outfitting her cabin to retain heat in the winter and keep cool in the summer. She posted numerous updates on the forums and was even invited to speak at the 2013 50th Anniversary Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport. Shortly afterward, RHAPSODY was abandoned at her boat yard when her owner purchased a larger boat elsewhere, and her fate remains unknown today.
One of the best things about a Mariner is its ability to sail right up to a beach, just as Robert Dyer did on a lake near his home in Texas. Before Robert bought his mid-style boat, #1822, she had previously been registered in Maryland, Florida, and Arkansas! Robert writes, “We pulled it off the mountain up on Lake Greer last year and are slowly getting it all fixed up in proper Bristol fashion. Boat maintenance can usually be done Johnny Cash style, ‘One Piece at a Time,’ leaving plenty of opportunity to sail whenever conditions are best, and this day was one of the very best: early fall while the water is still warm enough to swim in but not oppressively hot as it is during the summer. The beach here has a nice gravelly bottom to it instead of the usual silty clay, and it slopes off into deep water fairly quickly which makes it great for swimming. It is also easy to pull up on to and cast off from. There are some fairly deep woods back in here, fun for exploring, and its a great place to build a campfire.” Looks like a fantastic place - and boat - to me.
April 1-May 12
Cabo Rojo is a region on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, and there is a marina there called Marina Pescaderia. They host an annual regatta, and this year the regatta took place February 9-10, and there were several Mariner entries! Here is a great picture taken by Manuel Portela, owner of a Mariner named CHAMELEON (stay tuned for an upcoming Picture of the Week featuring this boat). It looks like ideal sailing conditions, although a rain squall came through shortly after this picture was taken. No matter - the skies cleared again and the regatta continued. For those of us who live in the northeast, we are very jealous of those who are able to enjoy their Mariners year-round!
Well - it has certainly been a long time since I have updated this website, and I hope I can finally start keeping things more current around here. This is a great sunset shot of John Swansey’s newly-purchased #1543 back in January after he had launched it for only the second time in North Carolina. He writes, “I sailed with main only, as I was singlehanding and didn't want to risk falling off the bow. I noticed many things I'm really getting to like about the boat. Accelerates nicely in light air, and responds well to the tiller: smooth control, neither sluggish nor twitchy - just right. Points well. With the board down, I can move around the boat without jerky rolling.” Since then, John has launched a few more times and has made many improvements to both his Mariner and the trailer. He recently wrote, “I have loved the lines of these boats from when I first saw one in a photo. I really like having the boat on a trailer in the driveway, where I can easily tinker with it a few minutes at the end of the day. I should have done this years ago.”
Skipper Dan Meaney sails with his daughters Madeline and Erin Meaney aboard #2024 CLEW SEA NUF during the 2018 Mariner National Rendezvous from Niantic to Stonington. #2024 is a mid-style boat like ORION and has an overhead cabin arch instead of a mast support pole, allowing a lot more freedom of movement and comfort when overnighting. (Nevertheless, Erin much prefers to sleep at night on the dock.) Dan has participated in every single Rendezvous here in Connecticut since I first started organizing them back in 2009, many times with Madeline. He is currently the President of the Mariner Class Association and intends to sail in this year’s Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. Photo courtesy: Steve Hock.
May 27-June 2
Skipper Steve Creighton and crew Joanne McCarthy are all smiles as they sail near the Stonington breakwater during the 2018 Rendezvous last August. Light winds hampered progress on the way there from Niantic, but once off New London, the breeze freshened and everyone enjoyed a lively romp all the way to our destination, the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. Steve’s boat is #629 BLIND SQUIRREL; he both cruises and races his early-style Mariner. During this particular rendezvous, BLIND SQUIRREL showed her racing stripes as Steve and Joanne left everyone behind on the way back to Niantic and arrived first. In fact, they arrived so far ahead of everyone else that they even had time to anchor off the beach by the Niantic Railroad Bridge and go swimming before the rest of the fleet caught up to them!
Here is a great shot of #173 THE FREE sailing under mainsail alone as the sun begins to set on the horizon. Built in 1964 - the second year of Mariner production - #173 has had many owners over her past 55 years, and in 2012, she was found on the side of the road in East Quogue, New York, with the word “FREE” spray-painted on both sides of her bow. A few young folks found her and fixed her up, and she is sailing once again in fine condition. Her roller-furling jib could use a little more tension along the luff for better performance and so it furls a bit better, but the decision to sail with just the main in these strong winds helps keep THE FREE on her feet for a more comfortable sail, especially since the main doesn’t have reef points. And, with the bone in her teeth, it looks like she’s moving right along!
Members of the Red Dragon Canoe Club (RDCC) Mariner Fleet race just this past Saturday on the Delaware River, just a stone’s throw away from the Riverton Yacht Club in New Jersey. According to the RDCC, "the wind was blowing 10 to 12 knots steadily from the east when racing began with seven boats on the starting line. The fleet - the largest in recent memory - was comprised of four O'Day Mariners, one Laser, one Venture and one Hunter 27. There were three races, with the lead changing hands repeatedly in each race and a nice sharing of finishing places.” The RDCC, founded in 1887, is one of the oldest boating clubs in the country and is housed in the Civil War-era Shipman Mansion. It’s great to see this Mariner fleet not only active, but growing! Photo credit: Del Rife.
Harry Mayer’s #664 MARE has a slight lead over Bill Mills’s #599 SILK PURSE, while Steve Creighton’s #1362 BLIND SQUIRREL is close behind during Riverton Yacht Club’s “Governor’s Cup Race” just this past Saturday. A total of 33 boats in six different class competed for the trophy with five Mariners racing in their own class, and the results will be published soon. Begun in 1949, the Governor’s Cup was so named because the trophy was donated by New Jersey Governor Alfred Eastlack Driscoll (1902-1975) in 1949 as a perpetual trophy to encourage the skippers of each racing class to have a greater number of boats entered each year and keep them sailing in every race. While in office the governor made the trophy presentations. This photo was taken by Riverton photographer Byron Campbell - be sure to take a look at all his excellent photos at his website.
John Swansey’s #1543 was “Picture of the Week” about a month ago, but this great shot taken of his son Ned deserves a spot of its own. They just returned from “a great sail, steady 10 knots gusting to 20. I love the way she handles, and moves through the water. All the mechanical parts perform flawlessly now. Still need some cosmetic work, though the black hull looks nice and shiny enough for now. I'm dreading the day when I will don my XXL Tyvek suit to sand and grind the interior to prep for fiberglass repair and paint. I may do my first overnight before then.” While trailering #1543, John and Ned “leave the main sail on the boom and remove them as one unit with the mainsheet attached to make setup and takedown go faster. (I store the boom and sail indoors when not sailing.)” She’s a great looking boat, and it sounds like many fun adventures are in store for the Swanseys.
Here is another great shot taken during one of the “Sunset Sails” offered by Eric Hansen, otherwise known as “Captain Curley”. Based in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Eric takes people out in an O’Day Mariner in the Wellfleet region of Cape Cod for three-hour daysails in the summer. According to Eric’s website, he offers sails to Jeremy Point (a secluded beach across the harbor), a sail just before sunset, or have your own customized cruise extending up to six hours. His Mariner, TOMOKA, is perfect for taking people out around Wellfleet Harbor. This picture shows the sun setting behind Great Island as the group of sailors return from Jeremy Point.
From 1968-1969, the O’Day Sailboats Corporation (owned by the conglomerate Bangor Punta) licensed the early-style Mariner molds to several international builders including a company called Selco in Norway. (According to an extremely rare Selco advertisement I happen to have in my collection, they also were licensed to build the O’Day Widgeon and Javelin.) While it is unknown how many Mariners they actually built, there are still some Selco Mariners out there, including this one currently owned by Lars Christian Haaland from Oslo, Norway. The hull and cabin seem to be consistent with O’Day Mariners, although the portlights are slightly modified with a more rectangular look to them. According to Lars, a second Selco Mariner had been abandoned at the boat yard where he keeps his boat. Fortunately, Lars’s boat association adopted the abandoned Mariner for its own use.
It’s not often you see an O’Day Mariner outfitted with ten-foot oars - although one Mariner was converted to a two-station rowboat back in 2009 - but Bruce Robbins has successfully done that with his #3200 NORA ROSE. This picture was taken at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey at the beginning of July, and Bruce reports NORA ROSE is all ready to participate in the Mariner National Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport a little less than three weeks from now. As it turns out, Bruce worked at the Seaport forty years ago, so the event will be somewhat of a homecoming for him! Regarding stowing the oars when not in use, Bruce writes that they “will just squeeze into the cabin, the blades aft, and we slide them aft to the transom.”
Skipper Bill Collins gets help from his daughter Julianna as they attach the sail cover on #2186 GYPSY ROSE after sailing to Mystic Seaport during the 2014 Mariner National Rendezvous. An active sailor here in Connecticut and also a participant in the 2012 Mystic Rendezvous, Bill moved to New York shortly after the 2014 event sold GYPSY ROSE to another gentleman in Plymouth, Massachusetts who owned her for a few years, renamed her NANTUCKET and, regretfully, hardly ever sailed her. This past March, #2186 was up for sale again, and this time, she was bought by Dave Oatley of Blairstown, New Jersey. As it turns out, Dave will be attending the 2019 Mariner Rendezvous in two weeks for the first time, yet #2186, now a Rendezvous veteran, will once again grace the docks of Mystic Seaport, albeit with her current name of NANTUCKET. Quite a homecoming!
July 29-Aug. 4
Michelle Albert smiles as her father Chris motors #2714 FLOTSAM down the Mystic River during the 2014 Mariner National Rendezvous. Chris sails FLOTSAM quite frequently during the summer months, and he has made many upgrades to his boat including Mack Pack sails, a kick-up RudderCraft rudder and a hand-me-down bow pulpit. He and I sailed our boats together for a couple three-day excursions across Long Island Sound to Greenport, Long Island in 2012 and 2016. He has participated in every Rendezvous since the very first one in 2009, and Michelle has occasionally joined him as crew. They both will be returning to Mystic for this year’s Rendezvous this coming weekend. Thanks to Stuart Watson for the picture.
Lydia Schaeffer attaches the Mariner burgee to the port shroud of #2470 SIALIA, skippered by her father, Alan with her brother, Joseph along as crew. They are motoring out into Niantic Bay at the start of the 2019 Mariner National Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport this past weekend. Alan is an employee at the Seaport and keeps his boat in Mystic, but he trailered it to the launch ramp on the Niantic River so he could sail with nine other O’Day Mariners. We were met with light winds on Friday and motored about half of the time, but everyone had a great time visiting the Seaport and the downtown over the course of the weekend. We all returned today and were rewarded with a spectacular sail home. All in all, it was another incredibly successful event, and I am very grateful to all those who participated. Stay tuned for many more pictures coming soon.
Last weekend was the Mariner Class Association National Rendezvous, and it was a spectacular event at Mystic Seaport here in Connecticut. Ten O’Day Mariners from all over and twenty sailors participated, and we had a fantastic time. The Seaport allows the Mariner Class Association - and absolutely no other transients, I might add - to use floating docks they only make available for their own exhibits or for special events like the annual WoodenBoat Show and Antique Boat Parade. It makes life a lot easier for us Mariner sailors, and we are very, very grateful for this special privilege. This picture was taken by Steve Hock and shows all of us standing on the docks on Saturday afternoon.
Dave Oatley sails #2186 NANTUCKET during the 2019 Rendezvous just a few weeks ago. #2186 participated in the 2012 and 2014 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport as GYPSY ROSE; Dave bought her earlier this year after she had been renamed and somewhat neglected. He signed up for this year’s event to the Seaport and was joined by sons Jackson and Bennett, and all three had an absolutely fantastic time. In this shot, NANTUCKET is nearing Fisher’s Island and about to tack to head back to Niantic on Sunday afternoon, August 4th. The wind had filled in nicely, and everyone enjoyed a great sail back home, the perfect way to end the event.
Aug. 26-Sept. 8
The morning fog begins to dissipate as the sun rises over Mystic, illuminating the historic houses of nineteenth-century ship captains on the west bank of the Mystic River. It is Saturday, August 3rd, and seven Mariners can be seen tied up to Mystic Seaport’s floating docks near the Visitor’s Center - three more are out of sight to the right of this picture. Shortly before this shot was taken by photographer Steve Hock, there was fog as thick as pea soup over the area, and the air remained still for some time. Slowly, though, as the sun rose and the fog lifted, a beautiful breeze wafted through, and it turned into an absolutely beautiful day. Mariner sailors enjoyed several behind-the-scenes tours previously arranged at the Seaport as part of the 2019 Mariner Class Association National Rendezvous, and while many went downtown and explored the area, some folks were content just to stay put and soak up the gorgeous scenery all weekend long.
Skipper Dan Walsh and crew Randy Swartley (#2778 DOUBLE TROUBLE) get a little too close for comfort with Skipper Bill Watters and crew Tim Gallagher (#860 BLACK ICE) during the 2019 Mariner National Championships on August 24th at Brant Beach Yacht Club, New Jersey. The first day of the Nationals was very breezy, but four races were held nevertheless which proved to be both exciting and challenging. Sunday’s racing was cancelled, unfortunately, due to high winds; Mariner Class Association Racing Rules prohibit racing during sustained winds of 25 knots or over, so only the four races from Saturday were counted. Dan and Randy ended up winning the regatta (Dan’s fifth championship), and Bill and Tim would come in seventh out of 18 boats. Thanks to Brant Beach Yacht Club for the photo.
Bruce Robbins (#3200 NORA ROSE) takes a picture of Mariners docked at Mystic Seaport from his homemade Whitehall skin-on-frame dinghy during the 2019 Mariner National Rendezvous at the beginning of August. An avid rower, Bruce brought along his rowboat so he could explore the Seaport’s watercraft up close and from a unique vantage point. This early-morning shot of the fleet was taken from underneath the transom of the 123-foot L.A. DUNTON. Built in 1921 as a fishing schooner and added to the Seaport’s large vessel collection in 1963, she is facing a much-needed restoration and is currently berthed with her masts unstepped and bowsprit removed. Nevertheless, she remains as majestic as ever, and it is a pleasure for us Mariner sailors to tie up nearby and enjoy the incredible atmosphere of being surrounded by historic watercraft of all sizes.