(Newick's 1955 adventures)

"Water Wandering in the Low Countries"
Richard C. Newick
"The Rudder", September 1956, p.7

(Retyped by Emmanuel ROCHE.)

One summer, in 1955, I took a 600 mile cruise through the rivers and canals of 
Belgium, Holland and Germany to Denmark. My good companion, the Friend, was an 
eighteen  foot kayak or sailing canoe which I had built in San Francisco.  She 
was  an  excellent  choice -- inexpensive, comfortable and  able.  Her  rugged 
thirty-two  inch  wide hull was molded of  Fiberglass-reinforced  plastic  and 
decked  with one-eight inch mahogany plywood. She carried a handy  twenty-four 
square  foot  spritsail  for  use with  favorable  winds,  and  had  Styrofoam 
flotation built into her bow and stern.

It  was to be the rainiest summer on record, but good equipment  and  friendly 
people minimized this inconvenience. I had not yet learned to travel light, so 
was  burdened  with  a hundred pounds of gear. There was  no  tent  at  first, 
although, eventually, I acquired a light German model. Instead of cooking, the 
plan was to eat in a restaurant once a day or so, relying on bread, cheese and 
fruit  for  the other two meals. Various unscheduled events such as a  tow,  a 
favorable  breeze  or  an isolated camping spot caused many hot  meals  to  be 
missed, but I was never hungry.

In Antwerp, I left the American freighter that had brought my boat and  myself 
from  New York, and bucked into a stiff head wind on the grey  Schelde  River. 
Entering  the  lock  into the Albert canal, the  sixty-five  mile  highway  to 
Holland,  I  was surprised to see the elderly lock keeper reading  the  latest 
Saturday Evening Post. While we discussed routes to Denmark, the young skipper 
of  a 400 ton Dutch tanker came in and I was soon invited to be his  guest  as 
far  as the Dutch border. We had a bit of a language problem, but it was  more 
of a challenge than a handicap. Skipper Hans introduced me to his mate  George 
as  we  lifted the Friend aboard their vessel, the Agate. She was  of  riveted 
iron  construction  with a lively sheer, bluff ends, and almost  no  freeboard 
when  loaded.  Living  quarters were comfortable, with the  mate  forward  and 
skipper  aft.  Spotless carpets were not dirtied by shoes because  the  wooden 
klompen worn ashore and on deck were always left at the wheelhouse door. Under 
way,  it was fascinating to watch the skill with which the unwieldy craft  was 
snubbed  around  corners  and fended off with small wooden  fenders  in  tight 
places.  All lines were of flexible wire, requiring expert handling to  heave, 
belay  and snub on the large oversized bitts. We tied up on the  outskirts  of 
Antwerp that evening, and I retired to my cozy stateroom which was finished in 
varnished mahogany and birch. Hans had explained that there was plenty of room 
for me because his wife had stayed at home this trip to have their first baby.

The next day's travel was through intensively-farmed low country studded  with 
brick  farmhouses  and quiet villages. In contrast, the canal  was  busy  with 
commercial  craft  traveling  at about five knots.  They  were  usually  self-
propelled, but many large barges of over a thousand tons were towed by pocket-
sized tugs. The flags were mostly Belgian and Dutch, with a few German,  Swiss 
and  French.  All  were well maintained, having shiny black  hulls,  white  or 
varnished deckhouses and brightly-colored trim.

At dusk, we stopped for the night at the village of Beerningen, where we swung 
ashore to the sloping canal bank on one of the long booms used to handle hose. 
Supplies  were purchased at the butcher, baker and grocery shops,  which  were 
small  rooms in the proprietors' homes. We then spent a pleasant evening at  a 
tiny  bar  where Ana and Mia, the owner's daughters, were impressed  with  the 
skipper  and his handsome mate. They hardly looked at the dumb  foreigner  who 
spoke virtually no Flemish, French, Dutch or German. At 2:00 a.m., we were the 
last  customers, so Mama invited us into the cozy kitchen for bread and  broth 
before we returned to the boat, along the quiet canal banks under a sky shared 
by a bright moon and heavy clouds.

At  dawn,  we  got under way quickly. George, in shirt  sleeves,  ignored  the 
gentle  rain and scrubbed everything on deck with soap and water. I found  the 
steering tricky, with the long narrow craft always ready to take advantage  of 
the least inattention. While I steered, Hans described life on the canals were 
he  had first served seven years as mate to qualify as skipper. His  captain's 
salary  was about one hundred dollars a month, and prices were somewhat  lower 
than  in  the  United  States.  He  seemed  quite  satisfied  with  his  life, 
transporting fuel oil all over central Europe.

As  the  canal entered a deep cut in the hills near the border,  I  stowed  my 
gear,  launched the Friend and bade farewell to the Agate's  hospitable  crew. 
Soon, I entered the Juliana Canal in a dreary rain, but I was feeling snug and 
smug  as  I  paddled along, much more comfortable than I could  have  been  in 
any  other  small  boat.  With  good  equipment,  even  a  rainy  day  can  be 
surprisingly pleasant.

At  the  little border station, I tied up astern of the Bram,  a  twenty  foot 
flat-bottomed  Dutch  sailing  pram with large leeboards  tucked  up,  and  an 
outboard motor clamped to the stern. Corrie de Keyzer, one of her crew, helped 
me through the border formalities, which were so few that I wondered if I  had 
entered Holland illegally. At tea in the Bram's charming fifty year old cabin, 
I met Mr. and Mrs. Kroon who, with Corrie, were returning from a vacation trip 
to  France.  To their questions about my plans, I could only say  that  I  had 
arranged  to  have my mail sent to Copenhagen, and was headed that  way  on  a 
leisurely  voyage. They thought it an unusual way for an American  tourist  to 
travel, whereupon I explained that, as a boat builder, one of my purposes  was 
to study European small craft. I was trying not to be just a tourist.

The  Bram  towed  me  the few miles to Maastricht, where we  tied  up  at  the 
Watersport  Club,  near  the  municipal park. The  park  was  a  fairyland  of 
delightful  effects  as  colored indirect lights played  on  the  foliage  and 
flowers.  After  supper  aboard Bram and coffee in a sidewalk  cafe,  I  slept 
aboard the Friend, pulled out on a float, cramped but dry.

The  next  morning, the Bram overtook me and again offered a tow to  the  next 
lock.  Here,  I decided to sail and reluctantly parted from  my  new  friends. 
Their  boat,  massively built of oak and completely varnished,  was  a  pretty 
picture,  even without her rig. Pram bow, leeboards and mast  tabernacle  look 
strange  to American eyes, but these products of long evolution should not  be 
hastily cast aside in our modern search for practical small cruising craft.

Sailing was impractical behind the high canal banks, so I soon returned to the 
double  paddle. Young children, bicycles, dogs and drying laundry  aboard  the 
passing  vessels  testified  to  the  family life  aboard.  In  the  locks,  I 
discovered  that my purchase of a horn in Antwerp was unnecessary. Instead  of 
blowing,  I waited quietly until the lock was full of commercial craft.  Then, 
the lock master would wave us in, just as the massive doors swung shut.  There 
was  always  room for the Friend, but care was necessary to  prevent  a  fatal 
squeeze  from my larger lock-mates as we were effortlessly raised  or  lowered 
ten  or twenty feet. Small pleasure craft were not charged for the use of  the 
waterways,  but  the  skippers  of the larger yachts  often  tipped  the  lock 

After  a  dull day of paddling, I was happy to enter the Maas River  with  its 
varied scenery and helping current. I paddled late in the long northern summer 
evening, and spent the night under a concrete loading ramp. When morning came, 
it was hard to roll out of my dry sleeping bag to start downriver in a driving 
rain.  Friend shot downwind and downstream at maximum hull speed under a  full 
spread of sail. This soon felt unsafe, so I unshipped the sprit, tied the peak 
of  the sail to the gooseneck (a practical arrangement) and continued  reefed, 
but  still  at top speed. After roaring past several  villages  and  riverside 
inns,  I  started  thinking  about hot food and an open  fire.  I  landed  and 
explored  a muddy British army engineers camp, where I talked to  several  men 
who  were building a military bridge. They recommended the Ferryhouse  Inn  at 
the village of Well, a mile downstream, where I found a room, an open fire and 
hot  water for a bath. The hostess introduced me to her other guests, Mr.  and 
Mrs. Renckins and their pretty daughter, who were vacationing from The  Hague. 
They  spoke excellent English, and we found much to talk about and to  explore 
in the neighborhood.

A one-day visit with these pleasant folk was not enough, and another grey dawn 
made it easy to decide to stay over Sunday. Until the war-ruined church  could 
be  rebuilt,  services were being held in the barn of an ancient  castle.  Its 
interior, with a network of giant oak beams overhead, seemed a natural setting 
in  which  to worship a Man with a divine nature who started life  in  similar 
surroundings. After attending church with the Renckins, I enjoyed watching the 
local  farmers  stop  at  the inn for a glass of beer,  a  game  of  cards  or 
billiards,  and the local gossip. Later, many Dutch and English soldiers  came 
in for a jolly evening of song.

Early Monday, I paid my bill of less than five dollars, and started downstream 
under a cloudy sky, bucking a stiff head wind. At the next lock, food supplies 
were replenished at a floating store where I met the skipper of the tug Nelly, 
who  gave me a ride. After spending a lazy afternoon with his pleasant  family 
in  their  snug wheelhouse, I left them rather hurriedly, above  the  lock  at 
Nijmegen, while the lock keeper waited for me to squeeze in. Then came a  slow 
two  mile paddle, up the wide and swift Waal River, to the city. Here,  I  met 
Hans  and Herman, two enthusiastic young members of the Nijmegen  Kayak  Club, 
who invited me to spend the night in their clubhouse, an old sailing barge. It 
was  surrounded by about fifty brightly-painted kayaks, more than I  had  ever 
seen in one place, an indication that the Dutch know a fine type of craft when 
they see it.

In  the morning, the boys helped me shop in their ancient city, and showed  me 
their  flat-bottom  boats built of half-inch soft wood. The larger  ones  were 
often  fitted  with sail and daggerboard. Hans and Herman paddled  with  me  a 
short  distance up the busy river, but could not keep up when  Friend  started 
sailing. Fortunately, a strong following wind enabled me to make slow progress 
close to the bank out of the main current, so that I soon turned the bend into 
the  lower Rhine. Here were many vessels, some as large as 1,500  tons,  which 
ran  between the coastal ports and Switzerland. It was only a few quick  miles 
down  to  the  entrance of the smaller and more winding Ijsl  River,  where  I 
stopped  at a village to watch farm families take advantage of a rare dry  day 
and  the  long summer evening to do the haying. Almost everyone in  the  small 
towns  smiled and greeted me. Perhaps my grey cotton slacks and  plaid  woolen 
shirt marked me as a foreigner. Most men wore either a suit jacket or  working 
coveralls.  Wooden shoes were not something to be sold to tourists. They  were 
used  afloat  and ashore, every place but in the large towns. It  was  an  odd 
sight  to  see a farmer or boatman in modern dress, astride a  shiny  bicycle, 
with his feet encased in clumsy looking klompen.

After  a night under a tree in a riverside pasture, I awoke looking  into  the 
soft  brown  eyes of several curious cows. A damp fog burned  off  during  the 
morning as I lazily drifted toward Zutphen where the important railroad bridge 
led a charmed life as the target of Allied bombers during the war. The  town's 
business  district had not been so lucky, and destruction was heavy. I  shaved 
and ate at the new railroad station, then talked with several yachtsmen in the 
attractive  willow-shaded  harbor while tea was served aboard  a  twenty  foot 
sloop.  Although  I only learned a few words of Dutch, language  was  never  a 
serious  barrier  as the friendly people often spoke  English.  Otherwise,  we 
relied on smiles and gestures.

Here, I left the interesting and helpful river to enter the placid Van  Twente 
Canal.  The well-traveled commercial arteries were behind me, and I spent  the 
next  few days in little-used canals, en route to the network of north  German 
waterways.  At Delden, I stayed at the youth hostel which was crowded with  an 
international group of young people who where obviously enjoying their walking 
or  bicycle  tours.  Hot food was good, as were the cold  shower  and  laundry 

The  following  day,  I was happy to accept a short tow  offered  by  a  canal 
maintenance barge which took me to Almelo, the home of an active sailing club. 
There, I went through a lock with four kayaks manned by Dutch Boy Scouts on  a 
cruise.  I  enjoyed  the  next two days with  them,  cooking  meals  together, 
sleeping  in  hay-filled barns, and trading boats  occasionally.  Kayaks  were 
probably  the only boats that could have made it through  several  weed-choked 
sections  of  the canal, where we helped the lock tenders turn  the  manually-
operated  valves  and  open the rusty gates. The point where  we  crossed  the 
German border was a few miles from any station, so we walked through the woods 
and  fields  to report our presence to the customs  and  immigration  offices, 
where formalities were few.

The  only indication that we had crossed the border were the size of the  dogs 
(the Germans like big ones) and the fact that the next lock keeper charged  us 
twenty cents a boat. At Nordhorn, my exuberant companions took another  route, 
leaving me paddling in the rain. The straight canal passed through a  deserted 
forest and, for the first time on the voyage, I was lonely. At dusk, I reached 
the  lock  into the Ems River, where I asked the attendant for  permission  to 
sleep in a thatched shed. My request was put across in very poor German and  I 
had trouble understanding that he did not want any fires made. I thanked  him, 
wondering what could possibly burn in that deluge, and was very soon asleep.

While  eating and contemplating the morning mist, I was invited in for tea  by 
the  family whose young son, a kayak enthusiast, later helped me shove off  in 
the  Dortmund-Ems  Canal. The chart indicated seven locks in the  next  twenty 
miles,  so I tied on astern of two 650 ton barges that were towed by  a  steam 
tug with a high funnel hinged at its base to permit passing under low bridges. 
The nearest barge had a nine foot diameter steering wheel mounted horizontally 
in  the stern, and her helmsman needed all that leverage on a large rudder  to 
manage his 150 foot craft. Despite careful steering, the unwieldy boats  often 
went weaving down the canal, like a convoy performing antisubmarine tactics.

A few timber rafts passed us, floating slowly toward the sea with two raftsmen 
using  big sweeps for steering. Their accommodations were a small tent and  an 
iron  cook pot amidships. In the late afternoon, I cast off the tow  to  enter 
the Ems-Weser Canal, and paddled for several miles, looking for an inn. I  had 
no  luck so, once again, I camped under a bridge, along the canal  bank.  Next 
day, a few times I took advantage of a fitful breeze, but paddled most of  the 
way  through  a forest where the only people were the crews of  an  occasional 
boat. Out of food and water, I was glad to stop at a canal maintenance station 
near  Bramsche, where I left the boat and walked through green fields  to  the 
ancient brick town. After a bath, shave and haircut, a good meal made me  feel 
like  the Kaiser himself. Before turning in at the old hotel, I  explored  the 
prosperous  looking town, and tried to read the mottoes and  Biblical  sayings 
carved  into the timbers of the tilting medieval houses. My casual  pedestrian 
habits  were dangerous here, because a silent bicycle was always  sneaking  up 
unheard, or motor bikes came screaming around the twisting street where I  was 
dreamily contemplating the architecture.

The following morning was spent patching the Friend's bow and stern, which had 
been insufficiently reinforced when I built her. While waiting for the plastic 
to  set  up,  thoughts turned to an improved boat and I decided  that,  for  a 
similar  trip,  I  would prefer a kayak with less windage  and  weight,  about 
fifteen  feet  long  with  thirty inch  beam,  and  watertight  bulkheads  for 
flotation.  Also,  I  would carry far less gear, and try  to  reduce  Friend's 
fully-loaded  weight from 220 to 150 pounds. A small sail adds greatly to  the 
fun,  but complicates the question of beam. This might be solved by  a  narrow 
waterline beam with reserve buoyancy for sailing near the sheer.

When  the  plastic cured sufficiently, I took advantage of a  gusty  favorable 
wind with rain squalls, and made good time. That night was spent under another 
bridge  where  I awoke damp and firmly resolved to get a tent  and,  soon,  my 
spirits  rose as I quickly resumed sailing, shooting off ahead of a  tug  with 
five barges. Then, they slowly passed me, a tight squeeze in the narrow  canal 
with  vessels also passing in the opposite direction. I decided to raise  full 
sail  and live dangerously. It was wonderful. The tug and barges were  quickly 
passed  and never seen again. At first, I reefed down for the  worst  squalls, 
but  finally got used to sailing through everything, including some  very  wet 
downpours and a vicious hail squall. The only regrets were the lack of a watch 
to  time the speed, and the lack of a cameraman ashore to record the  Friend's 
performance. I was proud of her.

At  Minden, I left the canal and descended forty feet in the deepest  lock  of 
the voyage, to the Weser River. Here, I paddled under the canal, which crossed 
high  overhead, on a broad stone aqueduct. Above the pretty town of Minden,  I 
found  an  English  army  engineer installation  where  several  outfits  were 
participating  in  a gala regatta day, with competitions in  bridge  building, 
rowing  and  rafting, plus well-patronized refreshment  tents  and  recreation 
activities  for  the troops and their families. Here, I was happy  to  find  a 
place to store the boat for a few days while I visited friends in Hanover,  an 
hour away by train.

I returned with still more gear to stow: a small tent, a pair of leather short 
pants and a marvelously complete guide to German waterways, Das Deutsch  Fluss 
Und  Zeltwanderbuch.  It  was good to get back on the  smooth  flowing  river, 
loafing  along  and  enjoying an unusually warm day. At sunset  at  a  village 
camping  ground, I met Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Eplinius from Berlin who  have  seen 
most  of  Europe during their thirty or more summer vacations of  cruising  in 
their  folding  kayak. I was impressed by their efficient  camp,  and  enjoyed 
their company, although I wished that I spoke more German. That night, the new 
tent kept me dry and happy during a wild rainstorm.

In  the  morning, Mr. and Mrs. Eplinius overtook me on the river while  I  was 
studying  German from a pocket phrase book and letting the current do most  of 
the  work. After I noted that the current was weaker, I lazily took a tow  the 
last  few miles to the charming village of Hoya, where the rowing club  kindly 
invited  me to be their guest. The club's youngsters were getting  a  thorough 
training in a type of boat common in Europe, beautifully clinker built,  about 
thirty  feet  long  by  three  feet  wide,  with  sliding  seats  but  without 
outriggers. Maybe rowing could even be made popular in the United States  with 
such fine easily-driven craft, but most of us seem to be too accustomed to the 
noise and speed of gasoline power.

The  following  morning,  I again headed north, hoping to  reach  Bremen  that 
night.  However,  the current was not strong, and I slowed down and  joined  a 
large  group  of campers several miles upriver from the  city.  Supplies  were 
procured  from a low farmhouse back under the trees, and I  enjoyed  examining 
the camper's equipment. Many small sailboats had waterproof cockpit tents, and 
their occupants were remarkably comfortable. Most interesting were the canoes, 
larger than, but similar to, the American open canoe. These boats were decked, 
had  rakish  windshields and were, usually, driven by light  outboard  motors. 
Many  also carried sails for use with a favorable wind. When  dragged  ashore, 
two  people  often slept in them under canvas covers stretched  over  flexible 
steel hoops set into the gunwales.

After  an  enjoyable day with the vacationers, I headed for  Bremen.  Here,  I 
spoke  to  the first American since leaving Antwerp just a  month  before.  In 
tidewater  again, I welcomed the help of a strong ebb that swept me  downriver 
to  a fine camping spot near the famous Abeking and Rasmussen Yacht Yard.  The 
river widened here, and provided some exciting and dangerous sailing before  I 
reached  Bremerhaven.  Several times after the tide turned  against  a  strong 
following wind, the Friend buried her eight foot forward deck as she tried  to 
go  through  a  steep wave. The camping spot of  the  Bremerhaven  Canoe  Club 
welcomed  a  tired wanderer, that night. I stayed two days in  this  important 
port which, like Bremen, showed much war damage.

I was glad to get into the narrow Geeste-Hadelner Canal that meandered through 
the low farming country between the mouths of the great Weser and Elbe rivers. 
It  is  not  much used, but provides a fine route for small  craft  having  no 
desire to brave the dangerous North Sea coast. A night was spent at the resort 
of Bederkesa, where tea-colored bog water formed a shallow lake. While sailing 
along the narrow canal the following day, I let my attention wander to  admire 
a  trim  and  tiny motor cruiser. The Friend must also  have  been  attracted, 
because she wandered, too, and smacked her nose on a sharp piece of masonry at 
the canal bank. Temporary repairs were made with a handkerchief stuffed in the 
hole. At Ottendorf, I camped in the lock keeper's yard, and explored the  fine 
old riverside town.

Out in the five mile wide mouth of the Elbe River, I was glad that things  had 
been  stowed with the weight aft as I raised sail and settled back to see  how 
the strong favorable wind would treat me. Conditions were similar to those  in 
the  Weser  River  entrance, except that the waves were  larger  and  the  bow 
lighter, which made for a safer trip. I passed several seagoing vessels  close 
aboard,  and  seemed to cause much comment on their decks. At times,  I  would 
have  liked  to watch from such a vantage point myself. I  shot  the  thirteen 
miles to the Kiel Canal entrance in less than two hours. The canal traffic was 
international,  and  gave me my first look at the  charming  old  Scandinavian 
motor  sailers. The strong following breeze held until late afternoon. Then  I 
continued  paddling  to Oldenbuttel, where I polished off a big  meal  at  the 
village  gasthus  to  celebrate the longest day's run under my  own  power  -- 
thirty-seven miles.

The  following day was spent paddling until mid-afternoon, when I dangled  the 
painter  at an ancient canal boat with round ends that was limping along  with 
motor trouble. Her young helmsman cheerfully belayed my line, and I spent  the 
rest  of the afternoon dozing and writing letters. I was surprised once  by  a 
shouted greeting from a pretty racing kayak that effortlessly rode the wake of 
a  fast large vessel. She looked as if she had been designed right on  to  the 
wave she was riding so jauntily.

With  a  feeling  of satisfied accomplishment, I left the canal  at  dusk  and 
glided into Kiel Fjord in the soft breathless light. A full moon rose over the 
far shore, and echoes of ferry whistles chased the dying rattle of a  shipyard 
air  hammer across the still water. The yacht club looked too fancy,  and  the 
canoe  and  rowing  clubs  had been passed in the dark, so  I  camped  in  the 
depressing  ruins of the former Kiel naval base, lulled to sleep by  the  fine 
music of a nearby open air concert.

After a day in Kiel, I was anticipating Denmark's delights, but I did not care 
to test Kiel Bay's thirty-five miles of open water. Instead, I returned to the 
canal where passage was easily secured in a modern 1,300 ton Dutch  freighter, 
the  Rijnborg  of Delfzyl, with a cargo of coal for  southern  Denmark.  Other 
passengers were two German students headed for Sweden with their bicycles.

As  we followed the channel into sparkling waters, Denmark promised to be  one 
of the highlights of my long, still uncharted journey.

- "Water Wandering in Denmark"
  Richard C. Newick
  "The Rudder", October 1956, p.21

(Retyped by Emmanuel ROCHE.)

Denmark  in  mid-August  is a pleasant place in which to make the  most  of  a 
northern  summer's  long mild days. The almost fresh waters are  used  to  the 
utmost  by  descendants  of the sea roving Vikings, who  keep  alive  a  great 
nautical  heritage. The low farming countryside does not obstruct  the  steady 
winds, and sandy shores provide fine shelter and hospitable harbors.

Naestved,  in southern Sjaelland, is where the kayak Friend and I were  landed 
by the small Dutch motor ship Rijnborg, whose English-speaking skipper  kindly 
helped  me  purchase charts, a phrase book and  a  Danish-English  dictionary. 
Before  starting to Copenhagen, I spent two days paddling along  the  inviting 
shoreline  while  a persistent head wind encouraged the idea  of  acquiring  a 
small  double  ender  which  would  be more at home  than  a  kayak  in  those 
boisterous  waters. The thought soon ran away with me, and it was exciting  to 
dream  of  building a small cuddy forward and cruising Scandinavia  until  the 
weather indicated a southerly course, then heading through the canals to enjoy 
a mild Mediterranean winter. Only one item was lacking -- a small double ender 
with both sail and power.

Arriving  in Vordingborg's ancient harbor late in the afternoon, I was met  at 
the  club  by half a dozen Optimist prams, handy little  eight  footers  whose 
design  originated  in  Florida. Their young crews eagerly took  care  of  the 
Friend,  while  Erick  Knudson invited me aboard a large motor  yacht  he  was 
skippering.  We found a great deal in common. After I spent the night  at  the 
youth  hostel,  we explored the fishing harbor for my new  dream  boat,  which 
Erick thought might be found for about $400.

There  seemed to be nothing available but, when talking to Vilhelm  Rasmussen, 
the local boat builder, we discovered that his personal boat, an eighteen foot 
Helsingor Jolle designed by Aage Utzon, was for sale. While eating lunch  with 
Erick,  I studied her tall rig, clinker hull and small mahogany cabin  through 
binoculars.  Even  then, she was sold. Erick said that the price of  $575  was 
very  fair  but, later, I was told that it was quite high. In  any  event,  my 
values  were influenced by what she would bring in San Francisco --  certainly 
more than double that figure.

Inspection  showed  everything nicely done, with no unnecessary  gadgets.  Two 
canvas  berths  extended into the cockpit, which was large enough  for  a  day 
party  of  four, and could be covered by canvas to form an  extension  of  the 
cabin.  Cooking  was  done on a portable single-burner Primus,  and  a  bucket 
served  as  toilet.  I was impressed with her windward  ability,  despite  her 
shallow  thirty inch draft. With a beam of six feet, 160 square feet of  sail, 
and one ton displacement, her able designer had captured the character of  the 
old fishermen and, at the same time, improved her performance. As for changes, 
I  planned on getting an outboard motor, to take her south through the  canals 
and, perhaps, make an old-fashioned sprit rig with easily-stowed short  spars. 
The name of Amiga seemed suitable.

It  was arranged that the Friend would be stored at the Rasmussen  and  Egholm 
boatyard  and that I would live aboard Amiga while the transfer of  title  was 
being  arranged. I slept poorly the first two nights, but only because of  the 
exciting cruising possibilities presented by my new floating home. Most of  my 
meals  were taken with the hospitable Rasmussen family, where I slowly  picked 
up  a  few  words of Danish, and Vilhelm quickly enlarged  his  small  English 

Late  in August, all was ready for departure to Copenhagen. Vilhelm's  brother 
Ruben went along on the two-day trip, and I was glad to have his company.  The 
first day's run was through narrow passages where well-tilled farms and  short 
stretches  of forest came to the edge of almost tideless water.  White  houses 
along  the cliffs marked the small harbor of Rodvig, where we arrived in  mid-
afternoon.  Because it was a municipally-owned harbor, we had to pay a fee  of 
thirty  cents. In contrast, most of the larger Danish harbors were built  with 
government funds, and are free to pleasure craft.

Our  evening meal was typical of my fare while cruising in Amiga: creamy  milk 
to  drink, a main course of stew or soup, which ended as a  tasty  combination 
christened  stoup,  with  fresh fruit for dessert.  This  was  nourishing  and 
inexpensive,  easy to prepare in the cockpit while surveying a new  harbor  in 
the  early evening light. When I was alone at sea in a typical Danish  breeze, 
the boat required too much attention to permit cooking, so sandwiches made  of 
substantial Danish rye bread sufficed.

The  trip  from  Rodvig to Kobenhavn (as Ruben taught me to  say,  instead  of 
Copenhagen) was made unusual by fog and calm for several hours. Landsman Ruben 
worried about what I was sure was only a temporary situation, so I let him row 
until his anxiety melted into fatigue. Late in the afternoon, a breeze cleared 
the  air, and we were soon scudding along between the island of Amaga and  the 
city,  where  we were delayed by two bridges that only opened  for  commercial 

Dusk  found  us in the old Lystbaadhavn, a park-lined yacht basin only  a  few 
minutes from the downtown area. The guest moorings were taken by several large 
plush  yachts,  mostly German, so we were assigned to the berth  of  a  Danish 
count  who was out cruising in his converted lifeboat. A  neighbor  introduced 
himself as Niels Torp, and kindly asked if there was anything he could do  for 
us. Soon, we were hearing sea stories of bygone times, when he had roamed  the 
world as a ship's carpenter in the last days of sail. Hearing that I had lived 
in  San  Francisco,  he  was interested to know if the  damage  of  the  great 
earthquake and fire had yet been repaired.

So began two pleasant weeks in one of the world's most charming capitals.  The 
United  States  embassy started the necessary machinery to get the  Amiga  her 
American  papers.  A  small storm mainsail was ordered, and I  found  much  of 
interest  in  the  busy city where every Dane was a  friend.  Parks,  castles, 
statues, harbors and canals were joined by winding streets and wide boulevards 
which were often crowded with pretty girls riding bicycles. The USS  Baltimore 
tied  up  near the yacht harbor, and the blue jackets charmed the  girls  from 
their bicycles to stroll arm-in-arm through the city.

The fall weather was crisp and sunny, much nicer than the summer had been, but 
little  cruising time remained so, one Sunday, Amiga and I started  up  toward 
Helsingor (Elsinore). As I was casting off, two University of London  students 
asked  if  I knew where they might rent a boat to cruise the harbor.  This,  I 
suspected,  was a suave request for a ride. They were soon aboard, and  proved 
interesting  company on a leisurely passage to Rungsted, fifteen  miles  north 
over a sail-filled sea. The Danes seem to have a higher proportion of  sailing 
yachts  than  is  found in the United States, especially  in  lengths  between 
twenty and thirty feet. Typical is the Folkebaad, Scandinavia's most  numerous 
class.  These twenty-five foot clinker-built boats have deep cockpits,  cabins 
suitable for two or three, and give a snappy performance.

Like  many  Danish harbors, Rungsted's had been constructed  or  large  rocks, 
forming breakwaters out from the low sandy shore. Here, we found a snug  berth 
with Amiga's stern tied to the bowsprit of a seventy foot motor sailer, one of 
the  numerous  black-painted, oak-built cargo carriers that have  not  changed 
much  in the past hundred years, except for their present wheelhouses,  diesel 
power  and  cut-down rigs. The steel motor vessels and  modern  transportation 
methods are making them lovely anachronisms.

An  hour's travel next morning, with the lee rail not quite awash, brought  us 
to  an imposing sight dear to the hearts of generations of seafaring Danes  -- 
Kronborg  Castle. The sixteenth century fortress, less than three  miles  from 
Sweden at the northern entrance to the sound, enabled Danish rulers to collect 
a  tax  from all vessels entering the Baltic, as late  as  the  mid-nineteenth 

Amiga  danced around the point and into Helsingor's north harbor, just out  of 
cross bow range (I hoped). Here, I spent the next ten days while exploring the 
castle, the half-timbered town and the rolling countryside. The castle  houses 
Denmark's extensive marine museum, a fine collection of models, paintings  and 
relics of the sea well worth two visits.

One  memorable evening was spent with Aage Utzon, Amiga's  talented  designer, 
who  lives in active retirement at the edge of a nearby forest.  Entering  his 
200  year  old  cottage, my eyes bounced around the  room.  Models,  drawings, 
photographs,  trophies  and relics from far places fascinated me, as  did  our 
charming  host, who had designed many of Scandinavia's most successful  craft. 
After an evening of enlightening conversation over good coffee, I returned  to 
Amiga's cabin, pleased that Villy Jensen, a sailing acquaintance, had arranged 
the meeting.

Cooler weather, shorter days and stronger winds suggested a quick start  south 
toward  Kobenhavn.  I  left  on a cold breezy  day,  when  the  cockpit  cover 
sheltered  all but my head and shoulders that protuded from the deep  cockpit. 
This practical arrangement helped to make fall cruising a real pleasure.

At the capital city, I picked up the new seventy square foot mainsail,  paying 
thirty  dollars for a well-made Egyptian cotton sail. I also found a used  two 
horsepower Swedish Penta outboard that seemed to fit Amiga exactly. One  gusty 
day,  I resolved to wait no longer to take a quick look at Sweden.  The  small 
main and snug cockpit cover proved their worth on a rough downwind crossing to 
Malmo,  where  two  efficient customs and immigration men  gave  me  the  most 
complete going over I had received since getting a passport in San  Francisco. 
Ashore,  I was whisked downtown by a yacht club member who drove fast  on  the 
left-hand side of the street, a scary new experience for me. The Swedes seemed 
prosperous and friendly, but more reserved than the Danes. Malmo seemed rather 
characterless after Kobenhavn's charms.

When I asked directions of a young Swedish schoolboy (almost all of them speak 
some English), I was amused to be told: "Follow this street until you come  to 
a statue of a horse with a king on it." The Swedish language, while similar to 
Danish,  is  more  melodious and, perhaps, easier to  learn  for  an  English-
speaking person.

I returned to Denmark on a day that started calmly, then built up to a vicious 
black  hail  squall  which blew Amiga into a calm that finally  ended  when  a 
favorable  breeze carried her into Dragor. Here, I was pleasantly trapped  for 
several days by a strong southerly. I used the time to work out a good stowage 
system, renew the running rigging, fashion a bracket for the outboard and make 
more friends.

Dragor's  buff-painted brick houses still show a Dutch influence  dating  from 
several  hundred  years  ago, when the king invited  a  group  of  progressive 
Netherland farmers to settle there and teach the Danes "modern" truck farming. 
I  visited  Herr  and  Fru Grauballe, a young  couple,  in  their  comfortable 
waterfront home, enjoying their conversation and learning much about Denmark.

The  southerly blew persistently so, early one morning, I snugged down  for  a 
dusting and clawed south until a favorable slant gave me one of the best rides 
of the trip. On the blue Baltic, streaked with white foam, with fluffy  clouds 
overhead, it was a day to inspire a poet. Later, Amiga rocked gently in Rodvig 
harbor where Ruben and I had called a month before. A chilly evening was spent 
in  the  cheery forecastle of a fifty-four year old  ex-cargo  schooner  whose 
crew,  Gunnar  Hansen and Hans Peterson, have an unusual  seafaring  trade  -- 
stone fishing.

When they told me their occupation, my first reaction was to wonder what  kind 
of  valuable large stones were found in Danish waters. From the  stoutness  of 
the  vessel's gear, I knew that she handled heavy loads. My hosts laughed  and 
pointed out that every stone was valuable in low sandy Denmark. The sea bottom 
is one of the country's main sources of this important building material. They 
dive  and  grapple for large stones, selling them for $2.50 to  $3.00  a  ton. 
Salvage  equipment was also carried. They figure that, with a crew  of  three, 
the  vessel has to earn $6.00 an hour to pay wages and expenses.  About  sixty 
vessels  are similarly occupied in Denmark, but some of their  skippers,  like 
Captain Hansen, spend the long winters as officers on larger merchant vessels. 
During  the  all-too-short  evening,  I heard  many  a  well-told  sea  story, 
including some about how they had outwitted the Gestapo during the war,  while 
smuggling refugees to Sweden sandwiched between a false double bulkhead in the 
cargo hold.

A cold rainy trip brought me to Nyord, a two square mile island where  customs 
seem to have remained unchanged for two hundred years, except for the addition 
of a few modern machines. Almost every islander lives in a thatched village on 
the  hill  above  the small harbor, and farmlands are divided  in  a  medieval 
manner, whereby each family owns a portion of each type of land scattered over 
the  well-cultivated  island.  I was made to feel welcome as  I  explored  the 
slopes, watching a bountiful harvest being gathered. Fishing and piloting  had 
evidently  rounded  out the economy in the past, but fertile farms  seemed  to 
have best survived the stress of modern competition.

The next day, I headed for Kallehave, then went on to Vordingbord where  Amiga 
and I were warmly welcomed by the Rasmussens and others. On October 1, 1955, I 
shivered as I wrote the date and recorded in the log that, for the first time, 
the summer green was noticeably fading into autumn's brilliance. I sailed away 
one dark morning, when I should have stayed in harbor. That wild downwind ride 
proved  Amiga's ability beyond my fondest expectations. The steepness  of  the 
eight  foot waves that quickly built up in fifteen miles of open water  amazed 
me.  The small main was soon entirely too much sail, but I did not dare  leave 
the helm to use the roller-reefing gear. A steep breaking sea caught broadside 
would  quickly have finished the boat. I could only continue rushing down  the 
advancing mountains while I managed to keep a life preserver handy, and  untie 
the safety line I usually secured around my middle when sailing. I was headed, 
I  hoped,  for Bisserup, a poorly-marked little fishing  village  on  southern 
Sjaelland's shallow shore. After almost getting trapped in a long row of  fish 
net  stakes,  I thankfully found the entrance in the fading light  and  zoomed 
through to quiet water inside.

What a contrast. Cows grazed peacefully near fishermen calmly mending nets.  I 
got  the  sail  down and a line ashore before wearily  sinking  to  the  deck, 
wondering at the local unconcern for my obviously great feat of seamanship (or 

Then along came Jon Hansen, hotel owner, sailor and one time San Franciscan. I 
do not know which of us was happiest to see the other. We had a great  evening 
reminiscing  in  his warm hotel, and I learned much about far corners  of  the 
world, even something new about California. Jon had spent only two winters  at 
home since he was fourteen, and he dreamed with a sailor's restlesness of  the 
South  Seas.  When  he  tested  Amiga  the  following  morning,  I  noted  his 
appreciation of her good points. How long, I wondered, could this able  sailor 
resist  the  sea's call, blind as he was to the charm of this  ancient  Viking 
base where he had grown up.

The  weather  had  changed completely, with only a  faint  suggestion  of  the 
preceding  day's  sea as Amiga and I headed for Svendborg by  way  of  Lohals. 
Svendborg, one of Denmark's most beloved towns, probably sees more of the  old 
sailing  vessels  than  any other harbor. It was here, in  the  Ring  Anderson 
shipyard,  that  many of them were built from carefully-carved models.  I  was 
helped  to  a berth near a permanently-moored barkentine school ship  by  Arne 
Christiansen,  another single-handler. In his exceptionally able  twenty-three 
foot Norwegian sloop named Colin Archer, he had sailed to England the previous 
summer.  We  enjoyed  getting to know each other,  despite  a  limited  mutual 

Arne, or Ulle as he was known to his friends, was a carpenter who had  retired 
at  a young middle age to spend his summers sailing and his winters  preparing 
for the summers. He lived a simple bachelor life on a small budget, and had an 
interesting  philosophy  envied  by many. The day our courses  parted,  as  he 
headed toward his home in northern Denmark, I little realized how soon we were 
to become very well acquainted.

I,  too,  tried to leave Svendbord's busy harbor, but head winds  and  current 
conspired  to keep me there long enough to meet Captain Asker Kure aboard  his 
old  English-built  ketch  Santa Maria. A master mariner of  the  old  school, 
Captain Kure had retired from skippering his own cargo vessel around  northern 
Europe  to live aboard his yacht, which he had bought with a world  voyage  in 
mind. The day we met, he had returned from a single-handed voyage around  Fyn, 
Denmark's second largest island. I went to look over the businesslike  vessel, 
and  soon found myself in the comfortable main cabin where the skipper  and  I 
discussed many common interests. He had grown up in sail, spent several  years 
in American West Coast steam schooners, and was proud of his vast knowledge of 
commercial  sailing  vessels. We found ourselves talking more and  more  of  a 
world cruise.

The following day was dull but suitable for sailing among the small islands to 
Aero  Island, my jumping-off place for the voyage to Kiel. In Soby  harbor,  I 
was  delighted  to find my friend Erick Knudson installing new  tanks  in  the 
large  motor  yacht  he skippered. I enjoyed some good  discussions  with  his 
brother-in-law  Helmut and with Herr Neilsen, the young engineer of the  local 
marine engine factory. This fascinating low-overhead shop employed twenty-five 
craftsmen to produce thirty-five different models, an uneconomical arrangement 
perhaps,  but the owner liked the challenge of new problems and tried to  fill 
every  special  request for two-cycle heavy-duty engines of from  two  to  150 

Near  Soby,  I also inspected the dusty interior of an old  windmill  used  to 
grind grain. Its leisurely-flexed arms seen on the horizon were deceptive.  Up 
close, they whooshed around my ears to deliver enormous power to the  rumbling 

A  delay caused by bad weather on Kiel Bay enabled Ulle Christiansen to  reach 
me  by  phone  and propose a radical change in my plans. "Why  not  spend  the 
winter with me," he urged, "then cruise the rest of Scandinavia in the  spring 
before  heading south? It's far too cold to go now and, besides, I'd  like  to 
learn  English."  I accepted the kind offer and we agreed to  meet  in  Nyborg 
harbor,  northeast  of Svendborg. I set off to join Ulle in Nyborg,  where  we 
spent  a few days with harbormaster Thiesen, a rare combination of  commercial 
seaman and yachtsman with an expert's knowledge of the sea. Ulle and I  amused 
him with our minor language troubles, which usually arose when I assumed  that 
Ulle was speaking Danish whereas he was really attempting English.

Sailing  from  Nyborg, Ulle and I discovered that our boats  were  quite  well 
matched as cruising companions, and I never tired of watching Amiga's  staunch 
escort slice through the cold water of Great Belt and the Kattegat.

The winter slipped by at Ulle's hospitable home, a seagoing structure that had 
started  life  as the bridge of a Canadian mine sweeper. Standing a  few  feet 
from  the  icy  Kattegat, it was ideal for us with our boats  drawn  up  under 
shelter just outside the door.

A great many friends helped the winter pass almost too quickly as plans formed 
for  a world cruise in the Santa Maria, and Amiga and Friend were readied  for 
shipment to San Francisco.

- "Water Wandering the Coast of Europe"
  Richard C. Newick
  "The Rudder", November 1956, p.20

(Retyped by Emmanuel ROCHE.)

The  Channel  haze suspended us in a vague horizonless world,  as  the  gentle 
breeze  in  Santa  Maria's 1,200 square feet of sail nudged  her  along,  from 
Dunkerque  to  Dover.  The captain, engineer, sailmaker and cook  was  in  the 
wheelhouse  enjoying  the  usual mid-afternoon snack  while  the  first  mate, 
carpenter,  and  deck hand sanded and painted the rail back aft.  Yipper,  the 
vessel's black cocker spaniel, had found that he could absorb the most sun  by 
dozing atop the heavy dinghy which was lashed over the main skylight.

The  sun's  warmth  was still a novelty to the crew, who had  spent  the  long 
winter in Denmark. The month before, we had a very literal shakedown our first 
day  out of Svendborg, then the gods were kind and we couldn't have asked  for 
finer weather to help us through the busy Kiel Canal. At Cuxhavn's salty North 
Sea  port, bonded stores were put aboard while we closely watched the  weather 

Gladly  leaving the inhospitable port, we had proceeded out into  the  justly-
feared North Sea under ideal conditions. At last, we had felt that the  voyage 
was  really beginning; we knew each other and the vessel, and felt  ready  for 
almost anything the cruise might bring our way.

There  were  to  be times when we would have welcomed some  help  when  double 
reefing the flogging main or sweating up forty fathoms of heavy anchor  chain. 
The  Danish skipper had retired rather young with a weak heart. A lifetime  in 
commercial  sail  and motor vessels, both as captain and owner,  prepared  him 
well for world cruising in his sixty-two foot ketch. I had signed on as far as 
San  Francisco -- "if we should get so far" -- a prophetic remark  that  Asker 
seemed to enjoy repeating.

The  Santa  Maria was a girl with a past. Built as a gaff-rigged yawl  on  the 
Isle  of Man in 1907, her early activities are unknown but, about the time  of 
World  War I, she was captured in Norwegian waters with a load of  contraband. 
The  years between the wars, she spent as a motor vessel traveling the  fjords 
in  the service of a Norwegian company. After World War II, she was  purchased 
by  a  weekly  magazine, re-rigged, and made famous in  Scandinavia  when  she 
crossed  the  Atlantic  on Colombus' original course  with  a  popular  Danish 
journalist aboard.

Below  deck,  she  had comfortable accommodations for six or  eight  in  three 
cabins, plus a practical-sized engine room. A useful, unstreamlined deck house 
sheltered  the  helmsman  and also contained a berth  and  chart  table.  High 
bulwarks  around  the  flush deck and simple, well thought out  gear  made  it 
possible for the two of us to handle her with surprising ease.

The  buoys  of  the  mine-swept coastal Channel  southwest  from  Cuxhavn  had 
simplified  navigation  and kept a steady stream of shipping  in  highway-like 
lanes. I benefited from Asker's voluminous nautical knowledge as each  passing 
vessel  brought  to  his mind many facts of interest. We soon  fell  into  our 
seagoing watch system of four hours on and four hours off.

Three  days  later,  Santa Maria nosed into Scheveningen  harbor,  a  spotless 
resort  and  fishing town adjoining the Dutch capital of Den  Hague.  Here,  I 
enjoyed  visits with friends made the previous summer while more  stores  were 
put aboard. The unseasonable northwest wind held steady, so we took  advantage 
of  its  help  for quick hops to Zeebrugge,  Belgium  and  Dunkerque,  France. 
Several  hours  of  rain and fog off Dunkerque had made us  grateful  for  the 
extremely large and easily seen French buoys, probably the world's finest.

In  Dunkerque, only an occasional modern apartment or business  building  rose 
from large areas of ruins, but the shipyard at the harbor entrance had an  air 
of  cheerful  activity.  La  belle France! Where else  is  wine  so  good  and 
inexpensive?  Where else do obliging customs officials so  efficiently  ignore 
foreign yachts? Where else is the individual still so important?

We  would  enjoy returning to the varied French coastline  but,  now,  England 
attracted  us to its south coast, probably one of the world's finest  cruising 
areas.  Off  to starboard, the Goodwin Sands Light Vessel marked  a  dangerous 
graveyard,  so we welcomed a bit more breeze to offset a stiff  tidal  current 
and take us toward the break in the chalk cliffs where Dover Castle's  ancient 
battlements brooded over the famous Channel port.

A strange excitement accompanied my first English landfall, a hard-to-describe 
feeling that must have anticipated the warm welcomes we were to find in  every 
English  harbor. Dover started things off with a courteous  official  welcome, 
plus greetings from the Royal Cinq Ports Yacht Club. The inner harbor  offered 
calm  shelter and companionship among a variety of vessels, including a  Colin 
Archer  ketch, Brixham trawler, Thames barge, and steam yacht,  plus  assorted 
converted war craft and conventional vessels. A former yachtsman befriended us 
and  did much to make our stay even more pleasant. Yipper, too, found much  of 
interest ashore, and gave us several anxious hours while he leisurely explored 
the town with some English canine friends. The English are a bit stuffy  about 
visits  from unquarantined animals, so we were pleased to get the  dog  aboard 
again with no official fuss.

In Dover, we were joined by Asker's wife and Reg White, a friend of mine  from 
California,  neither of whom particularly enjoyed a rough Channel crossing  to 
Boulogne, where we spent a good day. Looking down from the ancient city  wall, 
we observed an endless procession of festive school children, then took refuge 
from  a  shower in an ice cream shop where the jolly proprietor  delighted  in 
giving us the latest word on local politics, history, and economics. Like many 
Frenchmen, he was remarkably well informed. The ice cream was good, too.

In  every one of the forty harbors we visited during our cruise, Asker  and  I 
made it a habit to cover the waterfront together, observing and discussing the 
many interesting craft we discovered. In this way, we found the Argus, a small 
Danish  cargo motor-sailer which had departed the year before for Panama  with 
an adventurous family aboard. Sickness, poor equipment, shipwreck, and finally 
lack of money had plagued them. The son told us the sad story while showing us 
the  vessel  and introducing us to some Belgian and Dutch  passengers  he  had 
agreed to deliver 1,000 miles up a large South American river, with a cargo of 
their homestead goods. It was a weird arrangement, by no means the only one we 
met  during our travels. Truly amazing is the number of  inexperienced  people 
who  aspire to nautical adventure. Almost every port disclosed a sad story,  a 
captured  smuggler, penniless single-hander, or frustrated refugee.  We  could 
have  filled  the Santa Maria's nine extra berths several times over  with  as 
strange a crew as ever trod any deck.

The Channel was good to us as we returned to England and tied up at  Newhaven, 
not  a  very pretty place, but active. Here, another friend  from  the  United 
States  joined us for a few days after Mrs. Kure and Reg left and  we  cruised 
slowly  to Shoreham, near Brighton's busy beaches, then on into the Solent  to 
famous  Cowes  on  the lovely Isle of Wight. I  enjoyed  visiting  many  yacht 
builders  all along the coast, and was impressed with the extremes  of  modern 
progress and old-fashioned methods I found. In small, fast-sailing craft,  the 
English  are  most  advanced,  but  their  power  boats  often  seemed   badly 
proportioned to these American eyes. Many of the ocean racing craft were  very 
fine -- as they should have been for the price! It was surprising to note that 
labor  and materials were valued quite equally in Denmark,  Germany,  Holland, 
and England, but the prices of the English-finished product were, usually, ten 
or twenty per cent higher.

Leaving  the boat at Cowes for a few days, I saw a bit of the  country  around 
London, where every few steps seemed to introduce another famous setting  from 
history or literature.

Under  way again, the fabulous weather continued, providing a sparkling  reach 
past  the  Needles to Poole, during which we were saucily passed by  a  Flying 
Fifteen -- one of Uffa Fox's fast small boat designs.

In  Shoreham, Asker had been interviewed by a reporter from a London  tabloid. 
This character did a fabulous job of stretching and ignoring the truth, coming 
up  with a wild story about "the captain who was sailing to the South Seas  to 
die..."  It  was awful, but evidently provided some romance  for  the  masses, 
because  a gentleman from the Royal Society for the Prevention of  Cruelty  to 
Animals  looked us up in Poole, and wanted to be certain of the dog's  safety. 
They  had gotten a couple of hundred letters from readers who  were  concerned 
that the dog might be abandoned at sea on a skipperless derelict.

An  early  morning start and overnight passage took us along the  high  rugged 
coast to Torquay's snug harbor. Out in the bay were three American warships on 
a  summer cruise, with many cadets aboard. The popular resort town was  jammed 
with  vacationers who enjoyed walking along the quay. We secured  alongside  a 
small Dutch freighter whose witty captain had tacked this sign to the gangway:

        Don't ask what flag this is
        This is a DUTCH flag
        Learn the flags of Europe!

This  underlined the fact that I, too, had been sadly ignorant on the  subject 
of  national flags when I had arrived in Europe the previous year. Much  as  I 
deplore  nationalism, it seems wise to be able to recognize the colored  cloth 
that others might think important.

A  lazy  sail took us to Dartmouth, through the  castle-guarded  river  mouth, 
where we found the voyage's most beautiful anchorage, a fairyland snuggled  in 
steep green hills. As with almost every port, we could have stayed longer, but 
the sea called and, soon, we were snug in Plymouth's inner harbor, just a  few 
feet  from  the steps where the Mayflower pilgrims had  embarked.  Miss  Greta 
Yeal,  whom I had met when she was an exchange teacher in  California,  kindly 
showed  us Dartmoor, the surrounding countryside, and the rebuilt modern  city 
which had risen from war's destruction.

Then,  we headed across the Channel to the charming rocky shores of  Guernsey, 
hidden  in  a  thick  fog which made us glad for the  help  of  our  pressure-
sensitive  sounding device lowered on a thin wire as we felt our way  in  over 
the  bottom.  Here, in St. Peterport, we were pleased to meet  another  Danish 
yacht,  the  fine forty foot sloop Skjoldnaes, bound  for  the  Mediterranean. 
Often,  in  the  weeks  to come, we were to be  in  adjacent  berths  in  many 
different  harbors with Allesch, Vilhelm, and Katie. She was a wonderful  cook 
and  hostess (typically Danish), who insisted that we, on Santa  Maria,  share 
their elegant meals.

Leaving  the island of cows, tomatoes, and tourists, we sailed in  company  to 
ancient walled Saint-Malo, where we found, too, a charming cook -- Else Aaare, 
a Danish girl who lived in Paris, changed her vacation plans and sailed for  a 
month  along the French coast with us, soon becoming an enthusiastic and  able 
sailor.  The  ports of Camaret, Belle-Ile, and Saint-Nazaire were  visited  as 
warm favorable winds continued to aid us on our journey southward.

At Ile d'Yeu, the voyage almost ended sadly. We secured Santa Maria  alongside 
the  sea wall in the small harbor, in order to check her rudder and scrub  her 
bottom after the ten foot tide left her high and dry. Due to a freak accident, 
we  were neither high nor dry. The poor old girl fell away from the wall,  and 
crashed  her  bilge  on a very solid harbor bottom in  three  feet  of  water. 
Fortunately,  no one was hurt and the rig miraculously survived  the  terrific 
jolt.  But the hull was another story. Water poured in, soaking everything  in 
the  port  lockers.  With  plenty of sympathetic  help,  including  the  local 
volunteer fire department, with a big pump, we righted her on the next tide.

Inspection  showed  four heavy double oak frames broken, but  the  pitch  pine 
planking remained surprisingly intact. During the next two hectic weeks, Asker 
and I removed half the vessel's copper plating, giving a local caulker  access 
to  seams  and  butts,  which were the worst  offenders.  Finally,  with  many 
forebodings,  we  were  ready  for  a trial run which  turned  out  to  be  an 
uncomplicated  one-day sail to La Rochelle. To be sure, she leaked  more  than 
usual, but the skipper thought she would be safe enough for coastwise  travel. 
So,  instead  of  heading for San Francisco, we decided to  take  her  to  the 
Mediterranean,  where  Asker would winter and I would look  for  another  boat 
heading for the States.

Sailing out between the medieval towers of La Rochelle harbor, we waved a  sad 
adieu to Else, who had so cheerfully shared our good and bad fortunes.

Even  the Bay of Biscay behaved herself and, five days later, we  dropped  the 
hook  off Vigo, Spain, in a mountain-ringed bay that rivals  San  Francisco's. 
Here, we again met the French catamaran Tohu-Bohu, which we had first seen  in 
Camaret. She was a steel thirty footer bound around the world with two likable 
young Frenchmen.

Vigo  is  poor, and sunny Spain was a police state, but we enjoyed  our  short 
stay  and  were well treated by the proud Spaniards. Never had  we  seen  such 
crowded fishing craft; thirty footers with ten crew members were not  unusual. 
And the phosphorescence in the bay. Every moving thing on or in the water  was 
surrounded by pearly fire at night.

Heading  down  the coast to Cascais and Lisbon, we had a variety  of  weather, 
including  two  days of absolutely flat calm, a few hours of dense fog  and  a 
couple  of days of mountainous seas which were, fortunately, without the  wind 
that had made them.

Portugal  was a pleasant surprise. Conditions were much the same as in  Spain, 
and  the  only people we met who took life very seriously  were  the  passport 
police  and  customs agents. Cascais, just inside the entrance  to  the  broad 
Tagus River, is a popular resort where sleek racing craft tangle moorings with 
a  colorful  fishing fleet. The open air fish auction on the  beach  contrasts 
strangely  with  nearby gleaming villas. Lisbon harbor was interesting  to  us 
because of the large fleet of sailing cargo lighters which accomplished a  lot 
of work despite strong tides and unpredictable winds. While there, we also saw 
several of the stately schooners return from a season of fishing on the  Grand 

In and around Lisbon, many fishing boats were being built with a bare  minimum 
of equipment. Graceful craft emerged under the skilled hands of people with  a 
great  maritime tradition. Timbers and planks were hand-ripped from  two  foot 
diameter pine logs in surprisingly quick time.

As in France and Spain, we noticed many slightly obsolete craft rotting on the 
beach. They had often been sound when abandoned, causing us to wonder why  new 
vessels  were  being built, instead of using those available.  One  boat  yard 
disclosed  a shapely oak double ender that had obviously started her  seagoing 
in  the Danish islands. Inquiries showed that a dark night and a sand bar  had 
combined  to  end  an unlucky smuggling career at the entrance  of  the  Tagus 

Off  to  the  south, we spent a quiet day at Cadiz,  were  much  American  war 
material was being unloaded at the docks.

Heading  for  Tangier past Trafalgar's unimposing point and  across  the  busy 
Strait of Gibraltar, we were blown back by a force seven Levanter with a nasty 
steep  sea.  We didn't care to strain the vessel when it was so easy  to  duck 
back  into  Cadiz.  Next day, we were similarly  caught,  but  had  progressed 
further, so decided to keep going through a long rough night. At dawn, we were 
punching to windward under a reefed staysail and double-reefed main when Asker 
started  the  reliable Perkins diesel. The faithful old girl used only  a  few 
gallons an hour, weathering her test nicely, but we were glad to round up into 
the  shelter  of Tangier's new breakwater, and spend a week in  that  fabulous 
international  smuggling  center.  "Business" had been poor,  due  to  greatly 
increased Spanish and Italian jail sentences for those caught, but many a fast 
grey motor vessel seemed to be held in hopeful readiness.

We  had been looking forward to a visit at Gibraltar for many weeks,  so  were 
pleased  when a lull in the persistent Levanter gave us a lazy day of  sailing 
through the impressive straits to the Rock.

Here, we were beset with almost every kind of official mix-up, but a couple of 
days  of paperwork got the officials semi-straightened out. By that  time,  we 
were  quite  ready  to leave. Even the kindness of  Commander  Woodhouse,  the 
Queen's  harbor master, could not disguise the fact that the English Navy  did 
not encourage or welcome visiting yachts. The same could be said for a  social 
club that goes under the name of Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club.

The nicest thing that happened to us in Gibraltar was meeting George Boston, a 
single-hander  just  over  from Swampscott, Mass.,  aboard  his  Tahiti  ketch 
Fiddler's  Green,  which he had done a fine job of building  himself.  He  was 
bound around the world, and we admired his able start.

Glad  to leave the Rock's depressing military atmosphere, we headed  into  the 
Mediterranean  where  we  met a fleet of Russian fishing  vessels  and  mother 
ships,  headed into the Atlantic. During my night watches, I was happy to  let 
Santa Maria steer herself while I stood in awe at the bow, watching  cavorting 
porpoises far below in the crystal phosphorescence. Their antics always  amuse 
me  but, that night, I stood entranced as their pearly trails wove  below  and 
exploded on the surface.

Malaga's  large  port contained more sailing cargo vessels than  we  had  seen 
previously on the cruise. Fourteen schooners were counted, busily loading  and 
discharging grapes, wine, farm produce, bars of lead, and general cargo.  They 
were fine looking vessels, but mostly with diesels replacing topmasts.

Here,  we  met  Sigrid and Ditter, two young Germans  who  expressed  a  great 
interest in our voyage and, soon, found themselves invited along. We  welcomed 
their company on the night watches, and their help in the galley and on  deck. 
A one-day inland bus ride from Motril took us to Grenada's fabulous Alhambra -
-  a  gem of a Moorish castle high in the  mountains.  Sigrid's  comprehensive 
knowledge  of  the  history of art made the trip  doubly  worthwhile,  as  she 
elaborated on the background of what we saw.

Ditter had to return home from Almeria's sun-baked port, but we were to  enjoy 
Sigrid's pleasant company until the end of the passage.

The  southern Spanish ports were all much the same along a dry  rugged  coast, 
ill  suited  for much except some mining, fishing and a few almond  and  olive 
trees. The people were always friendly and usually poor. The harbors had  seen 
the ships of many conquerors come and go, including Phoenician, Greek,  Roman, 
Carthaginian, and Moorish.

Before  heading  for  the Balearic Islands, we called at  Cartagena,  then  at 
Alicante,  where  we met two fine English yachts. The Thanet,  a  sloop  about 
seventy  feet over all, belonged to Mr. Somerset, a well-known yachtsman  whom 
we  were happy to met. Speedwell was a twenty-five foot Virtue type which  had 
been  sailed  from Hong-Kong to England by her previous owner. Now,  John  and 
Laural  Goodwin  were returning from the Balearic Islands in her, and  he  was 
planning a solo Atlantic crossing.

The fickle Mediterranean winds slowly glided us to Ibiza's island harbor under 
a  high  white  town  -- a place to be remembered forever  with  a  full  moon 
frosting the harbor and ancient ramparts, shamming an occasional light in  the 
still, narrow streets. Here was real tranquility -- a dream haven. One of  the 
residents  was Tom Crighton, and ex-San Franciscan whose book  Sailboat  Tramp 
had  helped  to start my wanderings. His husky Colin Archer ketch  named  Jack 
London  was quite a change from the twenty-five foot sloop he had sailed  from 
Sweden to Israel some years before.

Leaving Ibiza's charms, we set the course toward nearby Palma de Mallorca, the 
last  harbor  to shelter us on our five-month cruise from  Denmark.  The  Club 
Nautico  of this modern city is a fine collection of facilities  and  pleasure 
craft. Here was one of the few places we visited where the Santa Maria was not 
conspicuously  large.  Among  a fine international fleet,  the  American  flag 
graced the sterns of the Zaca, Ticonderoga, and Fiddler's Green.

Almost  too  soon, I found a berth on the Adara, a  forty  foot  Spanish-built 
sloop  headed  across the Atlantic. It was not easy to say  goodbye  to  Santa 
Maria  and her crew. We had had a fine cruise, even though we had not  reached 
San Francisco.

- "Water Wandering the Atlantic"
  Richard C. Newick
  "The Rudder", December 1956, p.28

(Retyped by Emmanuel ROCHE.)

Morning,  noon  and evening, I gazed seaward from the outer mole  of  Malaga's 
busy harbor, waiting for my boat to come in. The late October 1955 weather had 
been  mean, with heavy rains and the typical winds of that part of the  world, 
either too much or too little. Europe had been my cruising region for  sixteen 
pleasant months but, now, it was time to turn homeward. In Palma, Mallorca,  I 
had  fortunately  met  the  Adara, a  Spanish-built  sloop  bound  across  the 
Atlantic.  Skipper  Chet  Hewitt kindly agreed to meet me at  Malaga,  on  the 
southern Spanish coast, affording me time for a quick trip to Paris.

When they did arrive on November 2, my shipmates' only favorable comment about 
the  cruise  was  that  they had had a  fabulous  farewell  party.  We  packed 
ourselves  into the sleek forty foot racer. Her twenty-six foot waterline  and 
nine foot three inch beam did not encompass ideal transatlantic accommodations 
for  five.  My  bulging seabag caused more trouble  than  my  folding  English 
bicycle, which found a vacant corner under the dinghy atop the cabin.

Captain Chet also navigated. His wife Jane did a fine job of cooking after  we 
finally  got  the stove working properly. Hall Farnsworth  and  I  represented 
California  in the crew, and Bob Elliot of Marblehead, Massachusetts,  made  a 
pier head leap at Palma, to go at least as far as the Canaries with us.

Fifteen  reliable Swedish Albina horsepower pushed us out of the harbor at  an 
early  hour, so what we could get into Gibraltar's harbor in daylight. We  got 
there  all right, but only because the moderate gale that developed came  from 
astern. By noon, the lively Adara, under number two jib, was surfboarding down 
steep  seas  that became more perpendicular as they funneled into  the  narrow 
straits.  At the helm, I was uneasy while Adara and I became acquainted.  Chet 
shared our restlessness after I let a couple of big ones break aboard.

There was no calm in Gibraltar's lee as squalls screamed down from its  rugged 
bastions.  Fortunately, we had wired ahead and were expected. The port  doctor 
could  not possibly have followed the usual procedure of boarding  outside  in 
that  weather,  so  we were soon secured alongside a warehouse  in  the  inner 
harbor.  The  location should have been sheltered, but solid  chunks  of  wind 
seemed to buffet us from every direction. At the harbor office, Chet was  told 
that they were recording gusts up to force ten.

The following ten days are best forgotten. We had abominable weather, a potent 
one-day   flu   that  flattened  most  of  us,  and  the  usual   delays   and 
disappointments  of last-minute provisioning. Some yacht stores and  equipment 
were  available from the Admiralty, but at high prices. Canned foods from  the 
stores along the narrow main street were quite reasonable, so every cubic foot 
of locker space was crammed with cans. Their labels were removed and they were 
marked  with nail polish in a code that only I (the  originator)  appreciated. 
Extra fuel and water were stowed, and four six-gallon cans were lashed on deck 
at  the shrouds. Finally, Chet announced that we were well stocked  for  forty 
days  at  sea. The boot top had long since disappeared below the  oily  harbor 

John  Goodwin's  twenty-five foot Speedwell was in the harbor  and  I  enjoyed 
getting to know him better, comparing notes on stores, twin staysail rigs  and 
trade  wind routes. A finer small boat or a more able single-hander  would  be 
hard to find. We were to meet again in Barbados.

Two  other craft were also preparing for a crossing, one a forty  foot  French 
ketch whose carefree crew found themselves bailing for their lives every  time 
it got rough. Hall christened them "the leaky boys". We never did hear whether 
they made it. The other yacht was the able-looking fifty foot ketch Dawn  Star 
whose  Canadian skipper was looking for a crew for the long voyage to  British 

Perhaps  the  high  point  of  most  cruises  is  successful  arrival  at  the 
destination. Not so with us. It was agreed that the best thing we ever did was 
to leave Gibraltar, even if we did so in terrible weather. While motoring just 
outside the breakwater, the reverse gear acted up, leaving us at the mercy  of 
shrieking gusts that often held Adara's rail under water as we worked to get a 
bit of sail on her. The decision was quickly made to continue downwind to  the 
shelter of Tangier under the number two jib. In a flash, we accelerated to six 
knots, finding conditions in the strait much the same as they were on the  day 
we arrived.

Our overloaded craft was mildly pooped by one roaring comber and another broke 
aboard  to  carry  away a canvas dodger on the port  quarter.  Large  merchant 
vessels passing close aboard were momentarily out of sight, then towered above 
us  with scuppers gushing salty waterfalls. The people on their  bridges  must 
have  thought  us  crazy as we skittered along below them. As  I  sat  wrapped 
around the base of the mast, I wondered if I were too foolish to be worried.

Warps  were readied for trailing aft, and the number three jib was bent on  to 
our other double headstay (a handy thing, to have two). The preparations  soon 
proved  unnecessary as we had, by then, passed through the strait's  narrowest 
section  and  were able to edge over into a slight lee  afforded  by  Africa's 
rocky headlands.

The wind had moderated by the time we entered Tangier Bay with the help of the 
double-reefed main. Chet and Hall were able to make a simple adjustment to the 
reverse  gear  that gave us power just in time to bring up alongside  a  sleek 
grey  contrabrandista in the inner harbor. Our average had been six knots  for 
the thirty mile passage.

Frayed nerves were relaxed in a sidewalk cafe high in the most modern part  of 
town, while a twelve year old Spanish smuggler hired from the neighboring boat 
kept watch aboard Adara. Chet had made him a faithful friend with the  present 
of  a  harmonica. Later, with some of the crew of the leaky French  ketch,  we 
enjoyed a real Arabian meal in a dark recess of the mysterious Casbah.

One  day sufficed for last minute preparations before we headed out  into  the 
strangely  calm Atlantic. Two hour watches for the four men aboard,  with  one 
man on call and Jane devoting her energies to the galley, proved to be a  good 
system.  Gliding along under main and genoa, we eagerly estimated our time  of 
arrival  at  Santa  Cruz de Tenerife, 700 miles to the  south  in  the  Canary 
Islands.  Guesses ranged up to nine days, quite conservative judging from  the 
pilot charts and books which indicated a preponderance of favorable winds. The 
brief mention of squalls and unsettled conditions along the African coast  was 
ignored, for a while.

First  came a persistent calm that bedeviled us into using the motor for  many 
hours. A wish for wind was granted, but it quickly became too much. No  matter 
how the wind varied in the week that followed, it always came from ahead.  The 
smallest jib was more than we wanted, so one night was spent under bare poles. 
Then  came some stiff squalls that encouraged experiments with the  new  storm 
trysail. Dampness found its way below everywhere, but Bob in the quarter berth 
soaked up much more than his share of it.

Fortunately, our experiences around Gibraltar had given us unlimited faith  in 
Adara's  ability. At the start of the voyage, Hall bad been the most  cautious 
about carrying too much sail, but Bob soon took over in that department and we 
eagerly awaited his latest dire prediction to give us all a much-needed laugh.

December 1955 temperatures were low enough to encourage the wearing of several 
sweaters under foul weather gear while on watch but, when the helmsman  needed 
quick  assistance to reduce sail, those below got into the habit of  reporting 
on  deck  in  a pair of shorts, thus saving valuable  time  and  precious  dry 
clothes.  Several seams were ripped in the double-reefed main before we  could 
muzzle  it  in one particularly vicious squall. After that, we  were  just  as 
happy  to  rely  on the storm trysail for a  while.  Seasickness  bothered  me 
occasionally, but the rest of the crew seemed immune.

Tacking shoreward one night, we picked up a lighthouse south of Casablanca  to 
check  Chet's dead reckoning. Despite having few opportunities for sights,  we 
were right on the mark. He had lost none of the skill he learned while guiding 
a  B-17 around Europe more than a dozen years before. Offshore again,  we  met 
several  groups  of  efficient-looking steam trawlers from  Vigo  making  easy 
weather of it as they proceeded in formation despite the big swells.

After a week at sea, my four shipmates got a profound shock, all of them being 
devoted  or addicted to tobacco. The cigarette supply had not been figured  on 
when  our forty days' supplies were put aboard. An austere ration was  imposed 
as  my  brave companions grimly concentrated on every puff and,  with  belated 
foresight, started to hoard butts. It was bad. As a non-smoker, I dared not go 
into  my  usual slave-to-tobacco routine. The cabin  atmosphere  contained  an 
explosive  mixture of oxygen and agony that never could have withstood such  a 

Eleven days after taking our departure, we had clawed our way 350 miles,  just 
halfway  to the Canaries, a disappointing record for our fine craft.  The  big 
question  was whether we would make it by Christmas. Bob's mother  and  sister 
were  in the Canaries and we had shared with them our optimism about  a  quick 
trip, trade winds and all that stuff. Their peace of mind became an additional 

Then came the break. A dark squall at dawn left the helmsman no time to  check 
the course until it had whistled away. It was then gleefully noted that we had 
found a favorable wind which, by noon, steadied from the north, with the lumpy 
sea  gradually falling into ranks astern under a clearing sky. We  reveled  in 
the joys of drying clothes, an unscrambled meal, an accurate noon sight.

Much fun was provided on my afternoon watch when we decided to "see what she'd 
do". Double-reefed main and number tow jib were all she could stand up to on a 
broad  reach. Our accurate log registered fourteen miles for two hours,  while 
those  of us on deck were lost in admiration of her wonderful performance.  It 
was quite another story in the forward cabin, where Jane's berth kept  falling 
out from under her. Two hours of that was enough, she announced emphatically.

The  first  day's run of over 100 miles encouraged speculation  about  arrival 
time and plans for the first day ashore. Ideal conditions continued, providing 
a  chance  to try our double staysail rig. Chet had had  two  spinnaker  poles 
made,  and these were used to boom out any two of our three jibs, each  hanked 
to  one  of the double headstays. The sheets were not led to  the  tiller  for 
self-steering,  as it was thought we could make better time with a man at  the 
helm. The difference in size between the two jibs was unimportant because  our 
course was seldom directly downwind. A forty degree variation from a  downwind 
course was possible without backing the sails, making the boat easier to steer 
than under main and jib, and doing away with all chafe.

Tenerife's northermost light was picked up exactly on schedule the evening  of 
December  22, 1955, our thirteenth day at sea. Dawn found us under the lee  of 
the jagged west coast. The rising sun crept down the sawtooth green mountains, 
and  was soon highlighting the white buildings of Santa Cruz de  Tenerife.  We 
were  surprised by the size of the city and the many tall buildings  clustered 
around the bustling harbor.

An  exposed yacht club anchorage was passed up in favor of the  slightly  more 
protected  south end of the harbor, were we were invited to tie  up  alongside 
the forty foot American ketch Pingla. Her young California co-captains,  Ricky 
Paschal and Milt Blair, had recently arrived after a rough cold trip down from 
Sweden. Jane and I soon found ourselves relaxing in the cabin as Chet, Bob and 
Hall  scattered in all directions, seeking relatives, mail,  cigarettes,  cold 
drinks and fresh food.

Milt  and  Ricky  hospitably suggested that we stay  alongside  to  share  the 
services  of their night watchman, so we arranged things as best we  could  to 
minimize  the  effects  of the chop and swell that  continually  beset  us.  I 
discovered that a bucket suspended three feet below the surface and boomed out 
by the spinnaker pole was most effective in dampening motion.

A busy two weeks followed. Palms, trades, sun, showers, mountain and  friendly 
folk  ashore  distracted us. Work consisted of installing a  really  practical 
stove  for deep water use (two Primus burners on gimbals), a new  spreader,  a 
repaired  winch,  improved  electric wiring  and  several  small  improvements 
suggested by the trials of the trip from Gibraltar.

With Joan and Connie Elliot, we found some fine restaurants in the town.  Milt 
and Rick's sea stories amused us, and it was arranged that Bob would make  the 
crossing  to  Barbados with them, spreading the talent  more  equitably.  John 
Prisch,  another  West Coast sailor, materialized to make number  five  aboard 

The  two forty footers were both painted white, and both spattered  with  much 
dirty  harbor oil. But there the similarity ended. Pingla must have had  close 
to  five feet more beam than Adara, giving her a great deal of room  below  in 
her Scandinavian double-ended hull.

We  managed to capture the Christmas spirit with the Elliot family, and  noted 
several  United  States-style Christmas trees around town.  The  most  unusual 
Spanish holiday custom was the presentation of gifts to traffic policemen  who 
collected their presents as they worked. On Christmas eve, the narrow  streets 
echoed with the harmony of wandering singers and guitarists.

Proudly,  the  local  people tell tourists that, off  their  harbor,  a  great 
English  fleet  was defeated and its commander, Nelson, lost an  eye.  Another 
high point in island history was Franco's launching of the Spanish  revolution 

Many schooners and sloops come and go with vital inter-island cargo. The  most 
important  products are bananas and tomatoes, large quantities of which  daily 
go  to Europe aboard ships flying many different flags. The  whole  atmosphere 
reminds  one of the Hawaiian Islands with a European, instead of an  American, 

Shortly before leaving, I enjoyed a one-day bus trip over the central ridge of 
the  island  to  Puerto  de la Cruz, an international  winter  resort  on  the 
windward side. This charming seaside town was dominated by the island's  snow-
capped peak, and surrounded by banana plantations with many terraces.

We  decided  to set off across the Atlantic, agreeing we would never  be  more 
ready. On departure day, I discovered what I had missed in Palma, Mallorca, as 
all  of our friends arrived early for a farewell party which delayed  us  only 
five hours. The low spot in an otherwise high time was the fact that the ocean 
damp had temporarily ruined Chet's guitar.

A southerly start from the Canaries usually pays off for transatlantic sailors 
because the northeast trades become stronger and more reliable in the vicinity 
of  the Cape Verde Islands. With our easily-driven craft, we expected  that  a 
more direct course to Barbados would give us a quicker passage. But no  vessel 
could have made a quick passage in the weather we met for the first ten  days. 
Conditions  were  better  than  those  we had  south  of  Tangier,  but  light 
variables,  head winds, calms and squalls combined to plague us,  allowing  an 
average day's run of only seventy miles.

For the first week, I was bothered by dysentery, so we discussed putting  into 
the  Cape Verde Islands. We gave the trades three days to appear,  while  Chet 
treated me with a miracle drug from our extensive medical kit which produced a 
quick cure.

Suddenly, the fickle wind steadied after veering to the northeast, filling the 
double  staysails which were not touched, except for minor adjustments,  until 
we  rounded  up into Carlisle Bay, Barbados, nineteen days later.  Watches  of 
three  hours on and six off left the three men plenty of free time.  Jane  had 
volunteered  for two two-hour tricks at the helm, to vary the routine and  get 
more  experience.  With  stoves that worked as advertised,  she  was  able  to 
surprise herself most of all with fine meals, plus our favorite snack,  fudge. 
Supplies of potatoes, onions and oranges lasted very well, but we did miss the 
few  other  fresh  foods when they were gone. All canned  meat  tasted  alike, 
except for kidneys, which, consequently, became one of our favorites. For long 
voyages,  the  fishermen of the Canaries used small loaves of bread  that  are 
evidently  baked until they are perfectly dry and toasty. I had  bought  about 
twenty-two  pounds of this inexpensive stuff which served ideally for  snacks, 
but such a large amount was troublesome to stow, and far more than we needed.

Fishing with spoons and pieces of white cloth tastefully decorating our  hooks 
proved  to be useless. We did not catch a thing and, occasionally, were  faced 
with  the  long  task of unwinding the formidable tangle  resulting  from  the 
fishing line's nearness to the rapidly whirling log line. Hall was a lover  of 
raw  fresh meat, and did not go completely without, thanks to the  cooperation 
of  the  flying  fish who, almost nightly, ended  their  careers  flopping  on 
Adara's  deck. One of these tasty fish thumped me in the chest as  I  dreamily 
pondered  the  Milky  Way, one glorious night. Perhaps they  are  one  of  the 
terrible  dangers  to small boat ocean navigators, to which some  of  my  more 
settled friends keep referring.

The  good  supply of reading material was made use of by all. Some  of  Hall's 
free   time  was  occupied  with  professional-quality  wood   carving.   Chet 
concentrated on fancy rope work, I on letter writing, and Jane had many little 
tasks to keep her busy. A fine Eddystone radio receiver was occasionally  used 
in the evening, to see what was happening beyond our not  unpleasantly-limited 

The brightwork was being badly eaten by sun and salt, but rolling along in the 
trades  at  six  knots  was  not conducive  to  fancy  scraping,  sanding  and 
varnishing.  How  we did roll! Adara's combination of narrow beam  with  heavy 
deep  ballast had been fine when punching to windward, but was not  ideal  for 
downwind work.

Day after day, Chet recorded runs of 140 miles which pleased us all. Still, we 
were shamed by nature's gigantic race to the west, in which the fluffy  clouds 
overhead  were  the undoubted winners. Sun and stars seemed to tie  for  third 
place,  closely following the moon in second place. Below Adara's bow,  speedy 
porpoises  occasionally  frolicked in waves that marched steadily  to  certain 
destruction  on the approaching shores of the new world. Those  were  pleasant 
days.  The  sun  grew even warmer as we slipped under  fifteen  degrees  north 
latitude, making baths on deck more popular.

A  glance  in  the mirror, one day, startled me. The stubble on  my  chin  had 
finally passed that awkward age, having sprouted at a shocking rate. Chet  and 
Hall,  on  the  other  hand, preferred the inconvenience  of  shaving  to  the 
inconvenience of a beard.

We  all  watched the charts, speculating on when we would  see  Barbados.  The 
trades continued at their best, helping us to make accurate predictions. There 
was enthusiasm about getting to shore again, but with none of the  earnestness 
that we had felt about making our landfall in the Canaries. It had been a fine 

Hall sighted our destination, low and hazy in the glare of the late  afternoon 
sun. I was oddly indifferent, not going on deck for a look until the landmarks 
were  plainly  visible, presided over by a lighthouse  flashing  its  cheerful 
greeting. A pronounced glow in the sky was, at first, taken for the reflection 
of  Bridgetown on the far side of the island, but we were later told  that  it 
was caused by burning gases resulting from oil exploration.

After many days of inactivity due to fouled up wiring, the engine was  finally 
started,  to bring us into the shelter of Carlisle Bay, where  pungent  tropic 
smells  seasoned  the  air and two large freighters  noisily  discharged  into 
lighters. Exploring beyond them, we slowly entered the narrow careenage, which 
was choked with island sailing vessels. The sounds, sights and even smells  of 
civilization were welcomed.

Melodious  island  accents from the dark shore advised us to anchor  near  the 
Aquatic  Club  until formalities could be observed in the  morning.  A  police 
launch  showed  us  to  the  correct anchorage, and  we  were  told  that  the 
authorities would be out at dawn. We were chagrined to hear that Pingla, which 
we had left in the Canaries, had arrived before us. Suddenly finding ourselves 
very tired, we gladly tumbled into strangely motionless bunks.

White-uniformed  officials were up with the sun, and attended to  us  quickly, 
permitting  us  to move nearer to the Aquatic Club pier, into the  company  of 
Pingla,  Speedwell, Dragonera, Skaffie, Erato and Sunrise, all ocean  vessels. 
Our  old  shipmate Bob Elliot was the first aboard, touching off  a  round  of 
visits, sea stories and iced refreshment that brought to a close another  part 
of the voyage that was slowly taking me home again.

- "Water Wandering the Caribbean"
  Richard C. Newick
  "The Rudder", January 1957, p.41

(Retyped by Emmanuel ROCHE.)

Visions  of long-distance cruising are tempered by life's economic and  social 
realities,  which  anchor most of us fairly close to home.  Perhaps  the  most 
fortunate  enthusiasts  live along routes followed by the  wandering  few  who 
bring dreams to life, and life to dreams. Ian Gale, editor of The Advocate  in 
Bridgetown,  Barbados,  is in a position to meet those who have  followed  the 
trades from the old world. A few hours after Adara's hook was down in Carlisle 
Bay,  I found myself with a group of sailors gathered in his friendly  office, 
comparing  notes  about routes, gear, weather and future plans.  Ian  and  his 
hospitable  wife  Alice entertained many of us in their home or with  a  drive 
around  the lush island, sharing the stories and knowledge they have  acquired 
from the many sailors who had preceded us.

A row around the Carlisle Bay anchorage provided a fascinating study of  craft 
that  had  crossed  at  least one ocean on  their  cruises.  There  were  many 
differences, but each one had her particular charm. The smallest transatlantic 
boat  in  the anchorage was the Skaffie, just twenty feet long,  carrying  150 
square feet of sail to drive her stout double-ended hull. Gordon  Auchterlonie 
and David Beard, her young owners, were emigrating from Lowestoft, England, to 
New  Zealand. Between Spain and Madeira, they were almost swamped when  a  big 
wave filled Skaffie's open cockpit, broke her mast and carried away much gear. 
After  refitting at Funchal, they continued across with better luck. We  later 
heard  with  regret  that  they had sold the  boat  in  Panama  after  further 

Then,  there was the Speedwell, a beautiful teak creation, built in  Hong-Kong 
to the popular Virtue design of Laurent Giles. Only twenty-five feet long, she 
packed  much  seagoing  comfort in her slippery hull. John  Goodwin  of  South 
Africa, single-handed, knew how to get the most out of the boat as his twenty-
six  day  passage  from the Canaries indicated. I was  pleased  to  renew  our 
acquaintance, which started in Spain and Gibraltar.

Erato  was  a  thirty foot old-time English fisherman-type  sloop  which  Evan 
Atkinson  and his wife Toni had sailed from England. Toni had a  baby  shortly 
after  arriving  in  the new world and Evan was planning the  voyage  home  to 
Vancouver,  with  the family going ahead by air. Again,  news  received  later 
brought  word  of misfortune. The boat was sold in Central America,  and  Evan 
completed  the  voyage aboard a freighter. Many people start long  voyages  in 
small  boats,  and  some of them go far, but few go  the  distance  originally 

The ketch Sunrise had already made one circumnavigation under the Swedish flag 
with the appropriate name of Viking. Her voyage won Mr. and Mrs. Holmdahl  the 
Cruising Club of America's Blue Water Medal. Now, she flies the Austrian flag, 
and  Joe  Pachernegg,  who helped the Holmdahls convert  her  from  a  fishing 
vessel, hopes to be the first German-speaking single-hander to make it  around 
the world. An excellent seaman, Joe has all the necessary talents to succeed.

Besides  Adara with her crew of four, and Pingla with five aboard,  there  was 
one  more  transatlantic  boat, the Dragonera. Like Adara, she  was  built  in 
Palma,  Mallorca, and bore a family resemblance to the trim little  Speedwell, 
both being from the drafting table of that talented Englishman, Laurent Giles. 
George Hoag, her American owner, had searched long for his dream boat and  the 
ideal place to build her. She is a forty-three foot gaff-rigged sloop  without 
an  engine.  The  original  boat from the design,  Dyarchy,  proved  fast  and 
practical,  but  I must admit that helping to hoist her heavy gaff  just  once 
prejudiced me against that item.

Barbados  is one of the world's most densely populated areas, and the  rolling 
island  covered with sugar cane provides much of interest for the  visitor.  I 
was most intrigued by the narrow careenage jammed with sailing vessels loading 
and discharging all kinds of island cargo. Few have motors and many are built, 
rigged  and  sailed much as were small trading vessels of fifty or  a  hundred 
years  ago. Truly, the Caribbean is one of the last strongholds of  commercial 
sail.  And no wonder, with the reliable trades providing a beam wind  for  the 
majority of the routes between the Leeward Islands.

Another  unusual  local sailing boat is the type used to  catch  flying  fish. 
These  half-decked  keel boats average about twenty feet in  length,  carry  a 
large low spread of canvas, and have about a ton of shifting inside scrap iron 
ballast.  Despite  the skill of their crews, one or two boats are  lost  every 
year,  usually by capsizing to windward when the wind lets up momentarily.  On 
the windward side of the island, losses are a bit higher because the boats are 
kept on the beach and launched through the surf.

The  Adara was to be in Barbados for a time, and I was anxious to see some  of 
the  other islands before returning to the United States. But, first, I  spent 
several fun-filled days aboard Speedwell anchored near coral reefs while  John 
introduced  me to the art of skin diving and spear fishing, which opened up  a 
new and beautiful world for me, below the surface.

I  found passage on the ninety foot schooner Arcadius headed for St. Kitts  by 
way  of St. Lucia and Dominica with general cargo. Elias Mitchell,  her  owner 
and captain, signed me on and we had aboard one other passenger, a woman  from 
St.  Lucia.  I was amazed to learn from the skipper that the vessel  was  less 
than two years old. Her rigging and deck appeared to be worn by many years  of 
hard  work  and neglect. They were, but on other boats. The skipper  had  only 
enough  money  for the new hull and, for the rest, he  bought  used  material, 
often  very  much used, to be replaced as the vessel could earn  herself  more 
reliable gear.

Sail was quickly made after the tug cast off, and we were soon doing an honest 
eight  knots on a broad reach, with the four lowers and a  fisherman  staysail 
set.  The  biggest difference from the sailing I had done  was  the  creaking, 
groaning and screeching of blocks and gooseneck jaws as the heavy gear  ground 
against  itself. It might have been a giant orchestra tuning up.  Orders  were 
given  quietly by Captain Mitchell, and carried out in a leisurely way by  his 
St.  Lucian crew. Among themselves, they talked an odd dialect that must  have 
come  from the French. To me, they spoke the lilting English of  the  islands, 
with many big words and accents in the most unexpected places.

I  had  my choice of the cabin or a soft spot on deck for the night,  and  was 
content  to  spread my sleeping bag on the very stern. The captain  and  woman 
passenger each had one of the cabins on deck, near the wheel. Little more than 
low seven foot lockers, they are ideal tropical quarters, well ventilated  and 
especially handy for the skipper who is right next to the wheel.

Shortly  before  midnight, I awoke with a bang, a very loud bang  followed  by 
much  confusion.  The  main topmast shroud lanyard had  parted,  allowing  the 
topmast  to  snap loudly and leaving quite a tangle aloft. It soon  came  down 
with  another bang, somehow missing everyone clustered around the base of  the 
mast,  but  I  was not surprised, having marveled at  the  durability  of  the 
straining old manila lanyard a few hours before.

Tacking  into  Castries harbor awoke me a few hours later.  Gleaming  breakers 
could  be seen and heard on either hand, and the wind had died. For  the  next 
two  hours, we practiced all the tricks of the trade to get the Arcadius  into 
her  home  anchorage. The boat was put overboard, to help swing  the  vessel's 
head around while tacking in the narrow entrance and, by taking full advantage 
of every zephyr, the deed was done.

Dawn  revealed  a  lush mountainous island, a fine sheltered  harbor  and  the 
unimposing  town of Castries, which still bears the scars of a bad fire  of  a 
few years ago. While exploring, I met Joe Pachernegg aboard Sunrise in a  snug 
little  arm of the bay being developed as a yacht center. I decided to  go  on 
with  him when it was discovered that another motorless schooner  had  drifted 
down  on  the  Arcadius,  breaking her fifty foot  main  boom.  There  was  no 
replacement  spar available, so I paid my fare, said goodbye to  the  friendly 
crew and moved my gear aboard the Sunrise. Joe and I were both anxious to  get 
up to the Virgin Islands.

Before  leaving  Castries,  we met Rudy Thompson and  Erik  Winter,  who  were 
operating  the fine Block Island ketch Tropic Bird with a party  aboard.  This 
able  flush-deck  forty  footer reinforced my long admiration  for  the  Block 
Island  type.  The  harbor  was also graced  with  the  double-ended  schooner 
Carrina, chartering out of English Harbor, Antigua.

En route to Martinique, we called overnight at the village of Gros Islet which 
is seldom visited by outsiders, judging by the warm welcome we received.  Many 
St.  Lucia fishermen go offshore in narrow dugouts which have one board  added 
to  increase  the  freeboard.  Sharp  and  deep  straight  stems  permit  fair 
performance  to  windward under a rig of one or two spritsails made  of  flour 
sacks. With the usual skillful crewman hiking out to windward on a line to the 
masthead, these craft would give a modern racing boat good competition.

Martinique,  just  a few hours sail to the northward, has similar  boats  but, 
upon our arrival there, we were surprised to find many of them using  outboard 
motors, instead of sails. On our way to Fort-de-France, we passed close aboard 
and dipped our colors to historic H.M.S. Diamond Rock, which the English  Navy 
had, at one time, made into a steep-sided unsinkable battleship.

We congratulated ourselves upon anchoring off Fort-de-France at 4:45 p.m.,  in 
time  to avoid the usual overtime charges for clearance after business  hours. 
The  official did not arrive aboard for over an hour. His English was as  poor 
as  our French, which was confusing since the formalities were complete,  down 
to  such odd questions as: "How many coffins have you aboard?" The climax  was 
the presentation of a bill for two dollars, which we flatly refused to pay. We 
arrived  at a compromise by charging two dollars for the 100 yard trip to  the 
quay, since he was left aboard without a boat.

Fort-de-France  held little of interest for us, except for a reunion with  two 
Frenchmen named Claude aboard the thirty foot catamaran Tohu-Bohu. I first met 
them at Camaret, then at Vigo and Lisbon. They reported a lazy crossing,  made 
even  easier  by  a new self-steering rig for downwind work,  which  they  had 
developed  with  two  small staysails set on the mizzen, and  sheeted  to  the 
tiller. Two likable young Canary Islanders had joined them for the crossing.

On  the  trip  up  the  leeward coast to the ghost  town  of  St.  Pierre,  we 
experienced  a Caribbean rarity -- a flat calm. Quite likely, it was  a  local 
thing influenced by towering Mount Pelee behind its cloud veil. The  volcano's 
1902  eruption  wiped  out St. Pierre completely but, now, a  few  houses  and 
gardens  are scattered over the site, twenty feet above the level of  the  old 
streets.  A new town is attempting a comeback, slightly to the south.  Workers 
were  busy excavating the large church which was full of worshippers when  the 
disaster struck, and we were shown many relics while enjoying an unusual drink 
in  a  hospitable home nearby. It was hard to get used to the idea  of  mixing 
lemon soda with beer, but this typically French combination is tasty on a  hot 

Sunset found us drifting out from the lee of Mount Pelee to pick up the  force 
five  trades and take our departure for the Virgin Islands, 240 miles  to  the 
northwest. Staysail and single-reefed main pushed us along smartly on a  close 
reach  as  we settled into the routine of four hour watches at night  and  six 
hours during the day. This was my first experience with six-hour watches,  and 
I  found  that  I preferred four on and four off. Joe, however,  was  used  to 
sailing alone, and found the arrangement quite a luxury.

During a quick two-day passage, I was often amused by Amiga, a small white dog 
that  was given to Joe in the Canary Islands. Whenever a wave sounded  ominous 
up  to windward, she would quickly duck below one of the cockpit  seats  until 
her good sailor's sense told her the deck was safe again. The Sunrise had been 
converted from a fishing boat by adding a concrete and iron keel which was not 
overly heavy. With a length of thirty-two feet and beam of thirteen feet,  she 
had  a  most  comfortable motion at sea, but was not  a  spectacular  windward 
performer.  Rugged  simplicity was the keynote which made long  solo  passages 
enjoyable, as well as safe, for a competent sailor like Joe.

From  long  habit and necessity, he did the work aboard quickly  and  with  as 
little  effort  as  possible, which meant that, quite often,  I  felt  like  a 
passenger  until we got used to each other and I learned the  boat's  routine. 
The  same  situation had arisen when I lived aboard the  Speedwell  with  John 
Goodwin for a few days in Barbados.

At dawn of February 1, 1956, I relieved Joe at the helm as we coasted  outside 
the reef along the southern shore of St. Croix. It was the first American soil 
I had seen in twenty months, a pleasant island with moderately high  mountains 
sloping  into bright green fields of sugar cane presided over by  round  stone 
towers, the remains of windmills on old Danish plantations.

While  anchored near Frederiksted in the lee of the island,  cooking  freshly-
caught  barracuda,  we were visited by Jim Hurd, the  hospitable  operator  of 
Sprat Hall Hotel. He and several friendly guests soon persuaded us to stay  in 
St. Croix where, for the next six weeks, we enjoyed a successful venture  into 
the  day-charter  business. We took a few short trips to St.  Thomas,  a  busy 
tourist center, and the more isolated British Virgin Islands, but most of  the 
time  was spent near the west end of St. Croix with a boat load  of  fugitives 
from the frozen north.

Each  of  the islands has its distinct character. St.  Thomas,  the  extrovert 
type, enjoys more attention than her quiet friendly big sister, St. Croix. St. 
John,  the  smallest of the three American islands, is  an  awakening  beauty. 
Their British relatives are poorer but hardworking. After experiencing so much 
hospitality  in foreign ports, I was gratified to see Joe and the  Sunrise  so 
warmly received by Americans.

Just before Joe, Amiga and the Sunrise headed for Panama, I flew to Antigua to 
meet  Tom Follett, owner of the twenty-three foot sloop Native Dancer.  Saying 
goodbye  to friends in St. Croix made me realize how much I had come  to  like 
the island, and I resolved to return, someday, to settle there.

English Harbour holds much of historical interest, besides having a pretty and 
protected  anchorage. It will, likely, be developed much more during the  next 
few years. Commodore Nicholson has built up a good charter business there, and 
we  enjoyed getting to know him, as well as John and Bonnie Stanilund  of  the 
Carrina, and Ian and Terry Spencer aboard Freelance, all from England.

While in Barbados, I first heard of Tom Follett and his English Spartan  class 
sloop, which he sailed alone to Morocco and, with a friend, to Antigua. I  was 
pleased  with the opportunity to sail to Florida with Tom and his  friend  Bob 
Wright.  The fast little boat was quite different from anything I had been  to 
sea in before.

One  of  English  Harbour's drawbacks is the distance from  stores  and  other 
outfitting conveniences but, as Tom had only two weeks' vacation, we were soon 
sailing  into the sunset, headed for St. Thomas. Native Dancer  was  amazingly 
fast  for  her  size, but her typical English proportions  gave  her  a  quick 
motion. The three of us were quite comfortable as we ran down the trades  past 
St. Barts, Saba and other interesting islands we would have liked to visit.

From  St.  Thomas,  our  course was to the west of  the  shallows,  reefs  and 
fabulous cruising grounds of the Bahamas. They would have to wait for  another 
cruise.  Day  after day, we logged over 100 miles but our  estimated  time  of 
arrival in Nassau proved to be too optimistic when a persistent calm, off  the 
island of San Salvador, held us in its grip for two days and nights. The  only 
redeeming  feature  was  that we became acquainted  with  marine  life  which, 
otherwise,  would have gone undetected under the waves. The dolphins were  the 
most  fun. They would do almost anything but take a hook so,  in  desperation, 
Bob tried a makeshift spear which did not do the trick either.

Tom's  favorite  activity was to drift around his little boat  aboard  an  air 
mattress, admiring her perfectly-reflected lines from every angle. A five foot 
shark put a stop to this pastime until a powerful jab with the boat hook  sent 
him away. We were sorry that none of the fishing gear was suitable for  sharks 
but,  no  doubt, we were better off without having to share the  cockpit  with 
such an unpleasant-looking fellow.

Finally, the wind returned, to give us a delightful spinnaker run through  the 
Northeast  Providence Channel to Nassau, another busy tourist  center.  There, 
Tom  made  close connection with the evening plane that just got him  home  in 
time for work the next morning.

Bob  and I followed in two days, after seeing a little of Nassau and having  a 
visit  with Harry Etheridge, talented author of The Yachtsman's Guide  to  the 
Bahamas.  We  also  saw another English sloop, the  well-known  Felicity  Ann, 
which had carried Ann Davison from England to New York.

We made a good passage from Nassau to West Palm Beach, by way of the Northwest 
Channel  light,  and  across Great Bahama Bank, north of  Great  Isaac  light. 
Having  only  a foot or two of clear water under the keel was a bit  scary  at 
first.  A thunderstorm at midnight tossed us in the Gulf Stream. Never  before 
have  I experienced such a strong odor of ozone, indicating a  super-abundance 
of   electrical  activity.  Despite  Bob's  dire  predictions,  we  were   not 
electrocuted  and,  by  noon the following day, were seated in  a  Palm  Beach 
waterfront  restaurant  while I celebrated my homecoming  with  several  large 
orders of apple pie a la mode.

Seven  different  craft had been my home for the past twenty-two  months.  Ten 
thousand  miles had passed under their keels. New friendships and ideas  could 
not  be  numbered, much less evaluated in ordinary terms.  Occasional  storms, 
calms  and cross-words would be remembered only with smiles. The voyage, which 
touched  at  a hundred and one ports in eleven countries, had cost  much  less 
than  two thousand dollars, in addition to what some might call hard work  and 
inconvenience but, to me, it usually was fun and always worth the effort.

(The following report reached THE RUDDER after the above article was  written. 
-- ED.)

"I  have  received word from Joe Pachernegg that the Sunrise was lost  on  the 
rocks in the Galapagos Islands while he was in a poor anchorage, trying to get 
a few hours of sleep after beating for two days against light wind and  strong 
currents  to  make a port of entry. Joe and Amiga walked four  days  overland, 
living  on goat's blood, until they came to a settlement. Later,  he  returned 
and  salvaged much gear and rigging. He hopes to build another hull, which  he 
can do if anyone can."