Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bill's First Years

An alumni Bill of Rights crewmember found this site and emailed me a few days ago. He has permitted me to post his emails...

"I was amazed to see that the hull was now painted white. The hull I remember was new wood and beautiful."

"My memories are that I sailed with some of my pals from the Kent State Univ. Sailing Club for two weeks, spring 1973. We met the ship in Annapolis where it was "winter docked". We were 20 miles off the coast of Maryland, headed for Martha's Vineyard, when we ran into hurricane Agnes. The gails blew out two jibs and the rear main sail. For almost four days, we road it out with up to 50" swells. I still have a piece of that main sail (Hood) framed on my office wall."

When I was onboard, we had an yawl boat hanging off the rear. Interesting the things you save. I still keep a red striped "Crew Bill of Rights" tee shirt (circa 1973). I climbed the 100' mast and was mesmerized with the moving sea under me and an outstanding vista around me. I have tucked away a 1972 edition of "Sailing" magazine where they did a two page story. I get out every so often..."

---read other stories about Hurricane Agnes-----

I asked Michael if he knew anything of the rumor that Bill of Rights was modeled after the "slavers" of the late 1800's, and although it was a while back, I queried as to whether he might vaguely remember any other facts about Bill's history...

"Answers... Yes, Joe Davis said that the ship was fashioned after a slave schooner. The area where the galley is now located was the cook's cabin..."Katie" was her name and I spent a nite there! Good times! Katie and Bill (crew members)... used to work at eastern ski areas during the winter season and crewing of large ships during the summer. Ah, what a life of the young and restless!"

"Davis' family eventually got their money from owning and operating several cemetery's in RI. Davis went to school at Brown. I believe we sailed on her it second season. I believe it stayed moored in Annapolis during the winter months early in it's life. Something to do about worms doing something to the wood... I don't know for sure."

"I was looking at the pics of the rail and I had to laugh as I spent many a day leaning on them. I still have somewhere the pics taken by me across the deck of the Coast Guard cutter (65") who came and "saved us" (Ha!!) and towed us into Ocean City."

"Very good to hear from you! Stay connected, please!"

Cheers - Mike


It gives me (Kim) a thrill to think that the boat that has kept me safe and sound through much of this year was once battling 50' swells and a hurricane a few months before I was even born! And that crew long before us were probably also called on deck in the middle of the night to gain control of shredded sails whipping out of control... Thanks again, Michael! I know the crew and all the friends of Bill of Rights will enjoy reading these!

1 comment:

Barbara McKee said...

I spent a week on the Bill when I was about 13, so it would have been about the summer of 1974. My Dad had been in the Navy for over twenty years and thought that this would be a wonderful family vacation. He quizzed me on the names of the masts and sheets for weeks before we went! It was a wonderful trip out of Providence, around Cutty Hunk, Martha's Vineyard, etc. -- absolutely spectacular. I hadn't thought about that trip in awhile, until the other day when I was sitting at my desk in an office in San Francisco, and I looked out my window to see the most beautiful ship sailing by on the Bay -- a few minutes research online revealed that it was the Pallada. Because she had docked next to the Bill in Vancouver, she was mentioned in this blogspot -- and that's how I found you! I am SO sorry that I missed seeing the Bill while you were in San Francisco -- it would have been so wonderful to see her again and meet some of the current crew. I will go back through my pictures of our trip to see what shots I have of the Bill, but for now I will just say how glad I am that you are still plying the seas and giving others a chance to experience such a beautiful Tall Ship. Happy Sailing!