Wednesday: 24.January.2007

Sidney Sells the Schooner Escape to Frenchman

Long-time Rad readers may recall the days when I was with Wendy (seems like ages have passed since then), back when she was working on her Masters degree in Film Production from USC,...

... the world's best (and oldest) Film school (due primarily to its industry connections, which include the likes of Spielberg & George Lucas, who actually graduated from USC Film school himself).

Today I got a note from her mom (Nancy), saying Sidney (Wendy's step-dad) sold the boat, the Escape, a 45-foot all-wood schooner, built in 1933, during the heart of the Great Depression...

... the most beautiful boat you've ever seen. Here's a picture of Nancy and Sidney aboard the Escape. Did I mention it's all wood?

today's entry continued here

The ride of an all-wood boat is much smoother than what you get with today's (lighter) fiberglass boats. They simply don't make 'em like that any more (cuz teak costs a fortune).

A schooner is a sailing ship with (at least) 2 masts, the rear mast being taller than the forward one. At least, that's what Sidney told me.

Sidney has owned the Escape for 50 years. But he's getting old (just turned 80), and those of you who own boats know how much work they require to maintain, especially older ones.

We used to sail to Catalina island every year for a the 4th of July, and spend a week there, departing Long Beach for Catalina a few days before the 4th, & staying a few days after the crowds left, so we could have the island to ourselves.

I have many fond memories of those annual, week-long, mid-summer trips. In fact, after Wendy & I broke up, I was still trying to see if I could somehow invite myself to tag along. Unfortunately, that wasn't happening. =(

While anchored in the harbor at Catalina, people would paddle up in kayaks (like this one) and say things like, "This is the best-looking boat in the whole harbor." .. at a time when there were literally *hundreds* of boats anchored. It was old & battered, but there was something regal about it (and cool).

Sidney, who is normally mild-mannered, becomes a tyrant on the boat, barking orders. Everybody called him, "Captain," and we did whatever he said. An early-riser, he would wake at 6AM every morning, to start the diesel (loud) to charge the battery, and make himself bacon-n-eggs .. banging-n-clanging pots-n-pans in the process.

The boat slept 8 or 10 people, but we usually had 12 or 13 onboard, with some of the kids sleeping topside, under the stars. Amazing how you can sleep thru all that noise. (Lani would sometimes sleep 'til noon.) And bacon never tastes as good as the strips you eat on the boat. Never have figured that out.

Anyway, it's a sad day. Sidney has been talking about selling the boat for years. But he wouldn't sell to just anyone. Tomorrow I'll post Nancy's note, which describes the Frenchman who bought the boat, who started a blog (http://schoonerescape.blogspot.com) which will include it's (long-overdue) transformation and (even longer) journey to France (written in French). Here's a snippet:

He's a lot like Sidney (same birthday) except he's 6'4, a big strapping young Frenchman, a year older than Lani. A maritime engineer, who works for a French Cruise line (works 6 months on, 6 off), a member of the "European Antique Boat association".

He came back in July to look over the boat one more time and complete the sale, then returned in November to get the boat, sail it up to the Ventura Harbor Shipyard, where it's currently undergoing a complete overhaul. By the way, this is the BEST boatyard on the California coast, maybe on the entire West coast.

I read a copy of Hemingway's classic Old Man & the Sea (which won him a Pulitzer in 1953) sitting aboard the Escape while it was anchored at Catalina.

Here's a little ditty I wrote following the return from one of our summer trips to Catalina, titled Sailing to Catalina on the Schooner Escape. There's even a video posted HERE (Real media .. more videos here).

Many good memories .. such as the time the Shore Patrol brought the kids back to the boat at 1AM, for lighting fireworks on shore (dry, fire hazard), after Sidney *explicitly* told them not to .. oh man, was he ever furious. You shoulda heard him yelling at 1AM, "God dammit! I *told* those kids..." He was gonna make 'em walk-the-plank for that (in shark-infested waters).

Sidney (a Scotsman) drinks Glenmorangie scotch (a single-malt, not blended). He swears a glass a day (in the evening), along with 2 strips of bacon (for breakfast) are keys to his longevity.





Posted by Rad at January 24, 2007 12:13 PM

[RADIFIED HOME]

[
Newest Rad Weblog]

[
Rad Community Forums]

[
Back-up your PC's hard drive with Norton Ghost]

[
Back-up your PC's hard drive with Norton Ghost 12/14]

[
Virtual Private Servers: Guide to VPS Web Hosting]

[
Rip & Encode CD audio to high-quality MP3]

[
Hard Drive Partitioning Strategies]

[
Windows Installation guide]

[
PC Computer Maintenance]

[
Radify your Laptop (Notebook PC)]

[
Favorite Rad Freeware]

[
Magoo's BitTorrent Guide]

[
Create Bootable CD/DVDs]

[
Magoo's guide to Eliminating Spyware
]

[
Digital Camera Buyer's guide]

[
Intro to Linux]

[
Wireless Networking]

[
Guide to eBay]

[
ASPI Layer Drivers]

[
Boot from a SCSI hard drive]