Wednesday, August 09, 2006

From Ty Harrington

Ty Harrington said...
So great to learn the Bill of Rights is alive and well! Wondering why she's in limbo, trust her future's secure?

Just in case anyone wants to contact me for tales of the early days of the topsail schooner Bill of Rights, I was chief cook (and bottle-washer) aboard for about seven months in 1973. Then Captain and owner Joe Davis (who built the schooner as a "Bill of Rights" with his father, he said, [contact me for more to this tale, exactly as Joe told it to me], was a fine down-East skipper and he sailed the Bill in the stalwart New England tradition, highly skillful in navigation and ship-handling -- and as feisty as a Nor'east gale!
My memories of one adventure after another abound, as you may imagine, sailing the wide Atlantic out of Newport, Rhode Island with no engines and only the winds and tides our muses.
I left the steward's position to take a writer job with National Geographic Magazine and a few years later wrote a cookbook called The Sailing Chef, based in large part upon recipies I gathered from vessels who crossed our wake (Published by Walker, NY and picked up by Book of the Month Club, though now long out of print).
I have long wondered what happened to the Bill of Rights and it's so great to learn she is still afloat and doing good deeds. All interested in those days, now decades ago, are welcome to contact me at tyharrington@hotmail.com The Schooner Bill of Rights is a legacy, long may her banners wave.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 5:26:32 AM

3 comments:

Bill Goldsmith said...

Hello Ty,

I was one of the 14 year old kids that sailed on the Bill of Rights in the summer of '73 for one week at the end of July. I do remember Captain Davis, and 24 hour race we participated in against other tall ships that week: Brilliant, Shenandoah, Tabor Boy and others. I have some pictures I took that week and I would be happy to post them if I knew how!

Anonymous said...

My name is Jerry Ritzer. I was on the Bill of Rights for almost 6 months back in 1991/1992. I happened across this post because I was wondering how she was doing myself. Also I was wondering about then Captain Richard Johnson and first mate Jessica Rice. If anybody has any good pictures of "The Bill" or knows anything about those two would love to hear from you. jritzer@msn.com

Anonymous said...

cbMy name is Nancy Madura. While cleaning out a closet, I ran across my BoR tote bag. I always wondered what happened to the Bill. My former husband and I were passengers for a week in Sept. of '76. We sailed out of Newport with Capt Davis to Block Island, through the Elizabethian Islands, Martha's Vinyard, on to New Bedford and back; his father and a wonderful golden retriver joined the trip in New Bedford. When we approaching Martha's Vinyard we met up with the Shenandoah and a race ensuded. The crew of the BoR brought up a canon and fired (tennis balls!) at the other schooner when she came alongside. This did not slow the Shenandoah in the least, she was smaller and squared rigged and won by a mile! There seemed to be quite a rivelry between the two ships. Capt. Davis swore he was going to add square rigs to the BoR just so he could finally beat the Shenandoah! I hoped he never did- she was too beautiful to change in anyway. That night in Edgarstown the crew had to stand watch- seems the two crews liked to board each other's ships and "borrow" lanterns. A few of the passengers that stayed up "to help guard" were treated to the most incredible meteor shower - hundreds coming in like fireworks. In New Bedford during a return shuttle trip the yawl boat ran through a school of jellyfish which were sucked into the intake ports and cooked liked hard boiled eggs. The engine overheated and seized solid! Without an engine sorce we had to be towed out of the harbor to get underway- Capt Davis was not a happy camper. On the return trip back to Newport we ran into the edge of a squall, it was very exciting. I'll never forget how the Bill cut so easlily through those huge waves that were crashing over the bow- very very exciting! (grey-green water- grey-green passengers!) That crazy dog stood on the bow of ship water crashing all around him- loving every minute. That week aboard the Bill of Rights will live in my memories forever. My ex (a professional photographer) got "custody" of most of the photos from that trip- but I coould track them down if anyone is interested.