Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Life for Bill!

I've been trying to track down Bill of Rights crew from years past the wide world over and here you are! We most certainly have something special in common. We are all "Friends of Bill of Rights".

As you may already know, Bill of Rights has been neglected and forlorn at the dock in San Pedro, California for over 2 years now. She was briefly rescued in January 2005, after 2 previous years of neglect, for a partnership with Lady Washington and to proudly schoone her way through ASTA's Tall Ship Challenge that summer. I helped with the first frantic refit in January of that year, sailed aboard when I could that winter and spring, and for a glorious 2 weeks that summer. It was a life-altering experience for me, and I haven't been in the age group of child for a long time!

I just came on board a new and exciting non-profit organization that involves Bill called American Tall Ship Institute.

We are currently in high-gear, trying to raise the last chunk of money we need for a downpayment on Bill. Yes, this is a solicitation, but please keep reading! This is a rescue effort more than anything else. She has many more years of service in her for at-risk and disadvantaged kids, and for educating and sharing the experience of sailing on a tallship. We have sponsors and fundraising strategies that require us to have the boat and be operating before we can get those going. One strategy we are able to employ now is appealing to those of us who share fond, and often life-changing memories of sailing on Bill of Rights.

As of this moment, we are vying with a wealthy French company who wants to refit her as a luxury yacht and bring her to the Mediterranean for the rich and bored. Financially, we can't compete, unless we come up with the remaining $65,000 we need to take possession, insure her, and recaulk the deck. Once that happens, we are ready to go. We have school groups and youth organizations standing by, waiting for us to start scheduling sails.

Please, visit our website. Donate something, anything. Also, please pass this on to anyone else you know who loves BofR or just loves tall ships. And please, respond to this email if you want to be on the Friends of Bill of Rights mailing list. Once we are operating, there will be membership benefits!

I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps meeting you in person someday, perhaps on board Bill of Rights!

Laura Levin
American Tall Ship Institute
Marketing, Fundraising, and Operations Coordinator

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Comments from those who love Bill

Some more pax and crew from years past have posted comments here. The links don't always work, so I'm posting them on the main page so that everyone can read them. If anyone has photos of Bill in her past, please send them to me! I'd love to post them here.

- Kim Carver

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of being a guest on a Schooner named the "Bill of Rights" during the 1977 America's Cup race in Newport R.I. This marvelous vessel was built in Maine {without power} and skippered by a man named Joe Davis. It was officed in Pawtucket R.I. but was usually seen in or about Newport in the summer. I heard that it wintered in Mystic.
I was wondering if this could be the same vessel? I will check your site from time to time.

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.

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.