As most of us here in the northeast have been getting snow and ice recently, I thought it would be a good time to show this photo by Paul Sheppard of Swanton, Vermont. His boat, #16 CHANCE, is being used as a swim platform for his grandchildren - check out the interesting lift on which CHANCE is resting. She is the oldest known centerboard Mariner in existence, built in the first weeks of production. Paul formed a three-boat Lake Champlain Mariner Fleet last year, and he is hoping to round up a few more in time for summer.
An ominous beginning! A group of Mariners are tied up to the floating dock at the Waterford launch ramp on the Niantic River, about to set sail for the 2013 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. It was pouring rain, and a 30-knot storm eventually greeted us in Long Island Sound. This was one of the last photographs I ever took with my trusty A540 Canon PowerShot camera; I foolishly left it in my pocket during the journey there, and it became soaked with salt spray and rainwater, rendering it useless.
Photographer Steve Hock (#3627 WHITECAP) and Ed Wise (#2862 CHRISTINA T, pictured here) have gone on several Mariner excursions together, and Steve sent me this shot from a trip they took together last fall. He writes, "It's on the James River... at the Jamestown settlement. That's the SUSAN CONSTANTin the distance, a reproduction of the 17th century ship that brought the first English colonists to Jamestown in 1607." More here.
Jan. 27-Feb. 2
Jim Aspell is the proud owner of #3302 BLUE HEAVEN, based out of West Hartford, Connecticut. Like many newer-style O'Day Mariners (post-1972), #3302 was plagued with collapsing headliner in the cabin, which Jim removed - not an easy task. He then he ground off the foam backing, sanded the interior and painted it a great shade of "Caribbean Teal". This boat is set up for cruising; close observers will notice a snubbing winch on the coaming for a genoa as well as reef points on the mainsail, something not generally found on racing boats.
This picture was taken back during the 2009 Southeast Connecticut Mariner Rendezvous and shows #1922 ORION with Dan Meaney's #2024 CLEW SEA NUF and Chris Albert's #2714 FLOTSAM beached at Turkey Point in the Niantic River. There is deep water almost right up to the beach, and although there is not much protection from the prevailing southerly winds, the area is generally sheltered and is an enjoyable place to explore, especially with a group of Mariners!
John Alesch, of Dripping Springs, Texas, owns a later-style Mariner, although his father used to own the hull number 1501, pictured here in 1987. It had suffered damage to the cabin top after a small tornado knocked the mast down, and the damage prevented putting the tabernacle back on the way it originally came. A friend designed a quarter-inch thick aluminum plate which was curved to fit the cabin top. Bolted to the top, the tabernacle was then bolted to the plate, and you can clearly see it in this picture.
Here is a great sunset shot taken by Larry August of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Taken at Yellow Creek, Larry snapped this shot just before firing up the motor to get back to shore in a timely fashion. His boat is an early-style Mariner, #1269 WIND DANCER. Like many early-style Mariners built from 1963-1968, WIND DANCER sports a home-made enclosure to keep equipment dry and perhaps make sleeping overnight on the boat a little more enjoyable.
Feb. 24-Mar. 2
With all the snow the northeast has been getting lately, this picture seemed most appropriate. This was taken in 1966 of #580 SEA BARB, bought new by the father of David Anderson of Waterboro, Maine. Delivered by O'Day Sailboats in the winter of 1966, it "sat in our yard until launching" in the spring. Interestingly, this is not a centerboard boat; her unattached fixed keel was installed just before the next spring's launching by a boat yard in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Toby and Janice Arscott are fellow Mariner owners from Connecticut, and their old-style Mariner, EXPUBIDENT, is pictured here in Hamburg Cove, one of the most picturesque destinations for sailors on the Connecticut River. Toby writes, "We were staying in Hamburg Cove for the Memorial Day weekend. From that calm scene we went out into the finicky winds of the River and laid the boat over on its side. No harm. Popped right back up. Amazing little boat."
I am always a sucker for sunset shots taken from boats, and this is a great one sent to me by Rob Goodall of Tom's River, New Jersey. He writes, "I purchased my Mariner #4079 GOOD ALL THE TIME last spring from Dave [Whittier] at Stuart Marine. He has been very helpful." This shot was taken as Rob was sailing with his son Robert during their first sailing season on the Tom's River and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. He excitedly concludes his e-mail: "Looking forward to season #2!!!!"
During last year's Rendezvous, Dan Meaney, skipper of #2024 CLEW SEA NUF, heard a call over the radio that a fellow Mariner had become disabled with a defunct motor and a broken tiller. Forfeiting his own trip to the Seaport, Dan turned around and rescued the disabled boat by towing it back to the starting point. He then sailed to the Seaport the following day by himself, arriving amidst cheers from his fellow sailors. This picture by Steve Hock shows his approach to the docks.
Amy Ellison, of El Lago, Texas owns #145 CEOL NA MARA, pictured here on Taylor Lake back in 2003. She writes, "I sailed it more on Galveston Bay and Offats Bayour, from Galveston Boat Club. My grand-dad was a charter member there." Amy says that she was considering selling #145 and that it is "still sailable, but needs some TLC," although it's "too good a boat to let it go unless it's to a better home than I can give it."
Mar. 31-Apr. 6
Yikes. This picture of a heavily-modified Mariner was sent to me by Dick Stokes of Portland, Oregon. The current owner, who lives aboard, said he acquired the boat in its current condition from the previous owner who had modified it for a trip to Hawaii but had second thoughts at the last minute. This is/was an early-style keel Mariner, complete with lengthened cabin, double backstays, ...the list goes on. I have no idea what the poles in the shrouds are for, so don't ask.
This picture was sent to me by Steve Hock, owner of #3627 WHITECAP. Steve writes, "Well, Nate, here is the proof that I actually have a Mariner that sails! Photos of me and it are few and far between! Ed [Wise, #2862 CHRISTINA T] shot this last fall as I cleared the James River Bridge near the shipbuilding docks at Newport News, Virginia." Steve bought #3627 several years ago and made many improvements over time.
Looking at pictures from the 2013 Rendezvous never gets old. This shot was taken by Association newsletter editor Alice Hawrilenko. The fleet of 17 Mariners battled a storm with 30-knot winds and heavy rain all the way from the launch point in Niantic to Mystic that Friday morning and early afternoon in August. Alice was waiting for the wet and weary sailors, and she snapped this shot as the group motored its way around the corner from the railroad bridge, headed to the car bridge and then into the awaiting Seaport docks.
This is a great picture by Steve Hock of Frank Pelosi sailing his #3599 at Riverton Yacht Club during the Mariner National Championships in 2009. He and crew Mike Baldacchino came in second place overall in the Championship Fleet, nabbing a first in the Sunday race (there were only three races that weekend due to light winds). It was déjà vu during the 2013 Nationals at Riverton; once again, he and crew Joe Law came in second place overall with a first in one of the Sunday races.
Apr. 28-May 4
This pleasant scene of two crews, leisurely cruising along, smiling at each other was actually taken during the heat of the 2006 Nationals Championship at Narrasketuck Yacht Club on Long Island. Jim and Arthur Leiz's #2376 is about to duck underneath Tom and Michelle Green's #707 on their way to capturing second place overall - the Greens took fifth. While Mariner racing is certainly competitive, it is never "cut-throat" like other racing classes; that is simply the nature of O'Day Mariner sailors.
Last year not only marked the 50th anniversary of the building of the Mariner; it also marked the year four college friends and sailing compatriots all turned 50 years old! Skipper Chris O'Brien of #2781 O'MITZVAH! (second from right) sailed in the Mystic Rendezvous with Tom Donohue, Henry Sienkiewicz, and Michael Sullivan, braving the Friday storm and having the time of their lives. Chris would later write, "This was undoubtedly one of the best experiences I will have, hands down."
Eniko DeMarco took this great shot of Alan Schaeffer and his son Joseph aboard their Mariner, #2470. Alan, a Mystic Seaport employee, saw the gathering of Mariners at the Seaport for the 50th Anniversary Rendezvous last August. He owned a Mariner, but he was unaware of the Association and was thrilled to see so many boats in his hometown. He quickly joined the Association and brought his boat to the docks just in time to take part in the event.
Not many pictures were taken of the 2013 National Championships at Riverton Yacht Club, but this fine shot was recorded by Byron Campbell. This shows a cluster of Mariners rounding the windward mark during one of the Saturday races. Newt Wattis is in the lead with #2604 MY LIGHTNING; he would eventually take home the winner's trophy for his fifth Nationals title.
May 25-June 1
This picture was sent by Matt Schiemer (#2014) as he, David Stone (#3647) and Charles Fleming (#1513, picture here) participated last week in the Florida 120, a four-day sailing event in the waters of Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. Matt writes, "The first day was a bit windy with 20-25 knots blowing strong all day long... I sailed with double-reefed main and no jib most of the day, and I know Charles did the same. It was a great time."
Back in 2012, Chris Albert sailed in #2714 DOG DAZE (since renamed FLOTSAM) along with me and Steve Hock in my own boat from Niantic to Greenport. This shot is of Chris passing by the 64-foot Orient Point Lighthouse in Plum Gut, built in 1899. In June of 2011, it was declared "excess to the needs" of the Coast Guard and made available to eligible organizations under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. It was successfully auctioned off in September and remains an aid to navigation.
I love this shot, taken by Oly Shooter of his #1071 SWEET KATE. Oly and fellow Mariner owner Bob Chandler (#3048 SWAY) took their boats to Percy Priest Lake near Nashville, Tennessee, in the fall of 2012. Here, SWEET KATE is beached on Bear Island, tied off to a nearby tree. Now this is what Mariner cruising is all about! Oly is looking forward to getting Sweet Kate back in the water for this season by the beginning of July.
Back in 2004, Steve Clark took his family and #560 COOL BREEZE for a remarkable adventure to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Steve writes, "For this journey, not only did we trailer the boat for some 550 miles from home, but we plopped our Mariner on the foredeck of the RANGER III, the 142-foot passenger ferry for the 66-mile journey from Houghton, Michigan to Isle Royale National Park." Be sure to read Steve's full account in the 2007 Summer Notice to Mariners newsletter.
Sunset shots are always neat, but they are made all the better with a Mariner in the foreground. This is Andreas Weinrich's 1989 Stuart Mariner MUKHTI in Mill Lake near Killarney, Canada back in August, 2010. Andreas writes that he "sailed parts of Collins Inlet, Mill Lake and Beaverstone Bay, as well as McGregor Bay," all with two adults and two children sleeping in the cabin during the nights.
June 30-July 6
A couple of days ago, Tim Reiche (foreground) with #2170 MAGGIE and Russ and Elsie Schuss with #272 SIMPATICO (middle) participated in the Nockamixon Sail Club Cruiser race (an O'Day 19 is the third boat). As you can tell by the picture, there were times with absolutely no wind, but occasionally a breath of air filled in to allow the boats to get somewhere. Russ was even able to put up a spinnaker to propel him into fourth place. Photo by Steve Hock.
How neat would it be to have a watercolor of your boat? Ken Stetz is an artist in New Jersey whose brother-in-law happens to be a Mariner owner. The painting was awarded "Best Painting" this past winter in the 10th annual Jersey Shore Statewide Juried Art Show. Check out his other painting featured in this column back in May of 2012, and be sure to see all his works at his website.
Bill Eggers is the proud owner of #2280 JULIE B. This great sunset shot is entitled "Wing And Wing" and shows him making a great downwind run on the Hudson River at Kingston, New York, his home sailing grounds, in 2011. Bill writes, "It's a surprisingly challenging place to sail with tides, current, shallows in the middle of the river, underwater obstructions, commercial ship traffic, inconsiderate motorboats and flukey winds coming off the nearby Catskill Mountains."
Here is a neat shot taken by Alan Hlavenka of Mariners mixing it up during the 2014 National Championships held at Narrasketuck Yacht Club a week ago. Although only eight boats were able to compete this year, everyone had a spectacular time with fun, fair and clean sailing with no protests - only a lot of laughs and smiles.
July 28-Aug. 3
This picture is courtesy of Paul Oman. The photo, taken around 1992, shows a "Mariner owned by John Steinbeck of Seabrook, Texas. Sailing with friends to a spoils bank known as Red Fish Island in the middle of Galveston Bay." A spoils bank is an area where dredged material from shipping lanes is deposited, and in an effort to combat erosion on Red Fish Island, dredged material was dumped there. The Mariner is a perfect boat to sail up to a beach.
On Thursday, July 31st, James Hollister with son Nate in #1574 LIVELY arrived to launch his boat for the 2014 Annual Mariner Rendezvous. He would be leaving the following day with 16 other Mariners, but the winds and weather were so perfect on Thursday that he jumped in his boat - along with me in ORION - and sailed around the Niantic River. His boat, a mid-style Mariner, is beautifully painted to simulate a classic wooden sloop, and he received a lot of compliments during the event. Photographer Steve Hock and his wife Rita were onboard ORION with me, and he took this great picture.
Here is another great shot taken by Steve Hock at Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania. This is Bob Meltzer and his wife Shelly sailing their Mariner, #2989 in very light winds, but they look happy all the same! He is somewhat of a recent Mariner owner and, according to Steve, "the light winds were fine with Bob. He's new to sailing and is enjoying the learning process!" There are a number of different Mariners that sail on lake Nockamixon, and the Mariner Fleet Captain there is none other than the new President of the Class Association, Russell Schuss. It is a small yet beautiful place to sail.
The great pictures from Steve Hock keep on coming! This was taken at the Mariner Rendezvous two weeks ago at Mystic Seaport, and it shows yours truly at the helm of ORION with photographer Stuart Watson along as crew. Behind us is Bill Eggers with daughters Jillian and Bridget. They participated in the event with their #2280 JULIE B, although they decided to rent a catboat from the Seaport that afternoon and try it out in Saturday afternoon's light air. Mystic is a beautiful place to visit, especially by boat, and even despite light winds and rain, everybody who attended the event had a wonderful time.
This looks like a watercolor painting, doesn't it? It is actually a digital photo sent to me by a gentleman named Dave who writes, "I just picked up my first sailboat, hull #2093. She will eventually be named JESSICA LEIGH, but for now she is the LENA. I'm a novice at sailing, but I've been around boats for the past 17 years and counting as an active duty Coast Guardsman." The picture was taken at a Coast Guard basin in Eaton's Neck, New York at sunset. Dave goes on to write, "I love your site and I can't wait to start chipping away at all my plans. Thank you for all the great info." Thanks, Dave!
A new Mariner owner named Jordan Manowitz recently e-mailed me and wrote, "Earlier this season, I received a 1977 O'Day Mariner [#3414] for free from my neighbor. When I first got my Mariner it needed a lot of work, but now finally it's in the water and sailing beautifully. It still needs a lot of work, but I'm saving that for a winter project. I was doing some research and I came across your awesome website. It has really gave me a whole new perspective of this boat, and now I see the potential of what my Mariner can become." Thanks, Jordan, and good luck!
Dan and Leslie Stapleford are active racers and have participated in many Mariner National Championships with their #3237 GREYHOUND. This year, however, due to new jobs and other things, they took a break from racing and trailered GREYHOUND to the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a little cruising. Dan writes that this sunset picture is of GREYHOUND "at anchor in the Cherrystone Inlet, Chesapeake Bay. While camping at the Cherrystone Family Campground, we keep the boat anchored off the campsite. Fishing, crabbing, and sailing are the primary activities for the week."
Russ and Elsie Schuss race their boat, #272 SIMPATICO at Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania, but they also trailered SIMPATICO to Connecticut to participate in the last two Mariner Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. Here is a shot of the three of them in the Niantic River, about to depart through the bridges and out into Niantic Bay with the rest of the fleet. Russ took on the role of Mariner Class Association President back in July and has taken on the task of organizing next year's official Mariner Rendezvous somewhere on the Chesapeake. Photo credit: Stuart Watson.
If any Mariner has been converted into a true cruiser, it is Jennifer O'Connor's #1338 HOT FLASHES. Jenn is a veteran of two Mariner Rendezvous, although she recently suffered a horrendous accident falling from the deck into the cockpit and tearing her hand open to the bone on a reefing cleat. Nine stitches later, she is on her way to recovery, although her 2014 sailing season has come to an end. Here is a picture of happier times during this year's Rendezvous, motoring down the Mystic River.
Sept. 29-Oct. 5
This is one of my favorite shots from the 2014 Rendezvous at the beginning of August. Photographer Stuart Watson (#2154 TUSSLE) is enthusiastically waving in the foreground, and Eric and Kathy Lesniak (#3485 SHOAL MATE) are close behind. Two Seaport-owned Beetle Cats are behind the Lesniaks, and you can see both Nat Herreshoff's yawl AIDA just behind the green channel marker can and the masts of the square-rigged JOSEPH CONRAD poking up above the buildings.
Taken by Stuart Watson aboard my boat at the Rendezvous in August, this picture shows a neat perspective: James Hollister's #1574 LIVELY is in focus and captures the viewer's attention in the foreground, while Steve Pawlowskis' #598 TALLY HO III is blurred a bit in the middle left background. Rising above the buildings in the far middle background, even more out of focus, are the masts of Mystic Seaport's JOSEPH CONRAD which were also visible in last week's photo.
This may seem odd, but I have no identification for this particular Mariner. Occasionally, I do a random search on the internet for "O'Day Mariner", and this picture just happened to pop up on the Flickr account of someone named John Willliams. Taken on August 31st, 2013, he mentions the location as the "town's boat ramp dock in Camden, Maine." It is a mid-style 2+2, and despite some damage visible to the rubrail on the starboard quarter, it looks to be in decent shape. The lack of bottom paint suggests it is trailer-sailed.
Dan Meaney and his boat, #2024 CLEW SEA NUF, took top honors at the 2014 Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport back in August for fitting the most people onboard a Mariner for the trip. Dan and his wife, Helen, sailed with their son, Daniel, and twin daughters Erin and Madeline from Niantic to Mystic – a “boat full of Meaneys”, as Dan later put it. #2024 remains largely unchanged from when it was built in 1971, retaining much of the original hardware. Everyone onboard seems to be having a great time.
Oct. 27-Nov. 2
David Stone's #3647 BIGENUF is a true model of what can be done to upgrade a Mariner for cruising. As you can see by the picture, he keeps it in immaculate condition. Notice the RudderCraft kick-up rudder, folding ladder on the transom, roller-furler jib, and lazy jacks for the mainsail. Going below, one would find an elaborate AC and DC wiring system to power items like a bilge pump and depth sounder, and a custom teak and holly sole is the icing on the cake to make the boat look and feel like a million bucks. A beautiful Mariner indeed!
The pictures from the 2014 Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport came out so well from photographer Stuart Watson, I just have to keep posting them. This shot was taken from the deck of the nearby L.A. DUNTON and shows the "tent city" of various shelters and awnings erected to keep away the rain on Saturday morning. The shelters vary from inexpensive poly tarps to production covers from The Sailors Tailor to home-made, full-cockpit enclosures. Fortunately, the rain went away on Saturday afternoon, but many shelters remained just in case!
Tim, Erin, and one-year-old Owen Reiche (not pictured) took part in the trip to Mystic this past August, and this shot was taken as they climb over a swell off of Waterford, Connecticut. The Reiches have done an extensive amount of work on their boat, #2170 MAGGIE, as you can see by her excellent paintwork and new cabin portlights. Owen did fairly well during the four-hour trip from Niantic to Mystic, and this trip was actually considered his second Rendezvous since he was already somewhat present for last year's event.
Ulrich von Hollen's Mariner, #1830 OB-LA-DI, is the same vintage (and original color) as ORION, and it was great to check it out in person during August's Rendezvous. He, his wife Dolly, and sons Kaspar and Konrad and had a fantastic time at the event. This is one of three (!) Mariners Ulrich owns - he is a self-proclaimed collector of Mariners and intends to restore the other two which are not in great condition.
Nov. 24-30 Russ Schuss (#272 SIMPATICO, left) and Ulrich von Hollen (#1830 OB-LA-DI) struggle to keep their sails filled on Long Island Sound during the trip home from the August Rendezvous. A powerboat has just raced past, and despite the choppiness on the water, the wind was quite light and eventually died altogether. Although Russ's spinnaker did not help very much, it was great to see it up and drawing for a little while. The waterfront mansions on Fisher's Island can be seen in the background. Thanks to Stuart Watson for another great picture.
Hard to believe this was more than eight years ago! The 2006 Nationals took place at Narrasketuck Yacht Club, a place rather infamous for shallow water and sea grass just waiting to foul centerboards and rudders. Tom Green is plowing ahead using #707's sails (although the boat is actually hull #738). Paul Coward (#584) is close behind, while Newt Wattis (#2604) is in the rear. Newt would go on to win the entire regatta for his third Nationals; Tom would come in fifth and Paul would come in seventh. Photo: Frank Koscheka.
You would think, upon first glance, that this Mariner has either a straight or even slightly reversed sheer, but the heeling angle of the boat deceives the eye. Stuart Watson took this picture of fellow photographer Steve Hock's #3627 WHITECAP during the August Rendezvous. Steve's mainsail is a very pale blue color, and it accentuates the blue sheer stripe and bootstripe. Steve only got out in WHITECAP a couple times this year, and it was a pleasure to have him come back to sail in Long Island Sound, accompanied by his wife, Rita.
Looks like Alan Schaeffer's kids are having a great time aboard #2470 SALVIA! They attended the August Rendezvous, and Stuart Watson snapped this photo of them sailing in the Mystic River right by the Seaport. Alan is a Seaport employee and was able to launch his boat from a nearby launch ramp to participate with the other 16 boats. Check out that old outboard motor on the transom! Alan and his family sailed with the rest of the fleet to Niantic on Sunday, hopped a ride back to Mystic to retrieve his vehicle, plucked SALVIA out of the water and got brought her home - all before dark!
Now, how could I not put this as the "Picture of the Week" for this week? David Stone (#3647) has done it again with his Photoshop skills to create this Christmas scene just in time for the holidays. Either he is extremely creative, or he just has too much time on his hands - or perhaps a bit of both! I like the train track encircling the support pole for the mast step, the cookies and milk and the tiny Christmas tree on top of the cooler - or is that the porta-potti? In any event, I join David in wishing everyone Merry Christmas with happy holidays.
Dec. 29-Jan. 4
As I have done in past years, my final "Picture of the Week" features my own #1922 ORION. Stuart Watson took this photo during - you guessed it - the August Rendezvous to Mystic Seaport. Fellow Mariner owner Jay Sullivan is at the helm for the trip over as I am about to set the main, while my nine-foot Dyer Dhow TRUE LOVE is in tow. It was a great event - the highlight of the year - despite light winds and rain for part of the trip.I wish everyone a Happy New Year with a great sailing season for 2015!