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Fiddler's Green

Jan 1, 2003

Forbes Morse 1917-1999A personal tribute

Forbes Morse came into my life when I was seeking help to rig my Valiant 40 for offshore sailing. I was a new boat owner and had scant knowledge of boats. My search for help had also located two well-known sailors and nautical writers, John Rousmaniere and Harvey Loomis. I was able to persuade all three to sail together on my boat in Long Island Sound with a view to seeing what needed to be done.

As I recall it was a gusty day for sailing in the fall of 1981, and Rising Star was put through her paces. The staysail sheet caught the main hatch cover and ripped it open, which proved the inadequacy of its catches. John noticed that the mast was pumping, and he, Forbes, and Harvey made critical comments on this and that. Forbes had his notebook and stubby pencil, and all was recorded. At the end of the sail he read off a list of things that needed to be fitted or fixed before the boat could be considered for an offshore passage.

Forbes reassured me that there was nothing he could not fix on the boat, and that he and I would do it together. Thus began a lasting relationship through which I was tutored in things mechanical and electrical, as well as navigation and safety at sea. Perhaps it was because Forbes did not own a boat at the time that he relished the opportunity to let loose on mine with his toolbox and machine shop. We made running backstays to stop the mast pumping, and he taught me swaging and wire-to-rope splices, and he made and installed the tangs for the new stays. We installed a charcoal-burning stove and chimney; Forbes designed new hatch dogs; we replaced some running rigging; made and installed lifelines; and bought storm sails and other safety equipment.

Forbes and his wife Emily, who also died last year, took me on my first passage from Connecticut to Florida, during which Forbes taught me coastal navigation. In the Intracoastal Waterway I also received lessons in boat handling. On our passage from Florida to Tortola Forbes taught me celestial navigation and how to maintain a dead reckoning. When offshore we judged our speed from motion through the water, the wind direction from our compass, and its strength by judgment. Only in coastal waters did we use a depthsounder.

In 1985 Forbes once again helped fit out Rising Star, this time to go transatlantic. He told me that I was to captain the boat on this passage but if ever he felt our lives were in danger his opinion would prevail! It was an excellent passage, but there were lessons to be learned. An inspection of the rig at sea was performed daily, and I noticed that a screw had vibrated out of the drum of the roller-furling gear of the headsail. The drum was so low to the deck that it was not possible to get a screwdriver to it, so I suggested that we disconnect the gear from the boat to tighten the screw. Forbes overruled me with stern admonishment. The idea that one would disconnect the headstay in mid-Atlantic was crazy, and, of course, I now know that it was! With some ingenuity he solved the problem.

After arrival in the Azores Forbes left to sail another boat back. He had arranged for crew to join me for the passage to Spain. I was now on my own to solve my own problems. At the time neither Forbes nor I knew that he had started me on a journey of 100,000 miles that would take me around the world. Carl G. Bowman 1908-1999

Captain Carl G. Bowman died April 8, 1999, at the age of 90. He resided in Point Loma, Calif. Bowman's long sea-going career included duty as captain of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Taney (1945-1947) and the icebreaker Mackinaw (1949-1950). He commanded the Coast Guard barque Eagle during the years 1950-1954. Bowman sailed the San Diego Maritime Museum's 1904 steam yacht Medea until 1997 and was the undisputed master of Star of India for the first nine of her 12 modern voyages. Bowman sailed his classic Edson Shock-designed sloop, Lydia, every week until his death, entertaining friends and sharing his knowledge of the sea with many younger sailors at the San Diego Yacht Club, where he had been a member since 1939.

Interestingly, for a man so closely associated with the sea and the great ships that sailed upon it, he was well known in the 1930s for his skills as an aviator. He held Aviator License No. 25 at the time of his death.

His fame as a deepwater sailor has traveled everywhere. Because of his Unlimited License and no-nonsense reputation, Bowman was often invited to assist other traditional ship organizations in the infrequent sailing of their vessels. He commanded the barque Elissa for the Galveston Historical Foundation as well as the brig Niagara.

Bowman is survived by his wife of 67 years, Lydia Ann of San Diego, and five grandchildren.Charles Francis Adams 1910-1999

Charles Francis Adams died at his home in Dover, Mass., on Jan. 5, 1999. Adams was called to active service in the Navy in 1940 and commanded destroyer escorts in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war. He participated in the invasions of Luzon and Iwo Jima and later said of his naval service, "I wandered around both oceans, and saw some marine scenery." He then went on to Washington, D.C., and worked for the Navy Bureau of Personnel. Returning to civilian life in 1947, he joined the Raytheon Corporation and spent the remainder of his business career there, rising to president and chairman of the board.

Adams served with distinction on many charitable boards including the Massachusetts Bay Fund, The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Children's Hospital (Boston), the Industrial School for Crippled Children, and the New England Aquarium. He joined the Cruising Club of America in 1952 and will be remembered for owning a number of yachts, all named Auk. Auk V was a 58-foot Boothbay Challenger yawl, and Auk VI a Hunt-designed, 60-foot motorboat built by Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Company in Thomaston, Maine.Charles L. Ill 1926-1999

Past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America Charles L. Ill died on April 15, 1999. He was known for his abiding interest in all aspects of sailing, on the East Coast and beyond. He began sailing in dinghies and scows as a teenager in Mantoloking, N.J., and continued to sharpen his skills while at Brown University, where he was nationally ranked as small boat champion. In 1986, he was inducted into the College Sailing Hall of Fame.

The Ills moved to Washington, D.C., in 1952 where he rose to Senior Vice President of Page Communications. In 1968, he joined the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon and subsequently became Assistant Secretary of the Navy for installations and logistics. One of Ill's primary interests was the Fales Committee at the United States Naval Academy. He was instrumental in ensuring that all future naval officers would have the benefit of small-boat experience.George Hinterhoeller 1928-1999

Canadian builder and designer George Hinterhoeller died on March 18, 1999, at the age of 71. Born in Austria, Hinterhoeller built the Niagara 35, Redwing, and C&C sailboats. He designed the 22-foot Shark daysailer, one of Canada's most popular boats, but he will forever be associated with the Nonsuch, Mark Ellis' modern catboat with its distinctive wishbone boom and plumb bow.

Hinterhoeller came to Canada as a young man following WW II. He was a good sailor and understood how boats worked and how they were put together. A talented builder, his Niagara-on-the-Lake yard, north of Buffalo, N.Y., produced some of the most popular sailboats of the last 25 years. He was founder and commodore of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club. Hinterhoeller understood the importance of a junior sailing program to a club, enjoyed teaching others, and shared his love of boats with all who crossed his path.Nils Lucander 1924-1998

Nils Lucander died December 28, 1998 at the age of 74. The Finnish born Lucander was an innovative designer of sail and powerboats. He was an early pioneer of foil-shaped keels in the 1960s and 1970s and experimented with the winged keel on performance sailboats. Known as "The Mad Finn," Lucander created hundreds of designs, among them a spinnaker-rigged Viking longboat and a 65-foot cruising sailboat with three keels.

After World War II, he worked with John Hacker, the innovative powerboat designer and builder. In later years, he went on to establish his own firm, Lucander Designs, in Washington state. Lucander was at home with power or sail and his work includes commercial as well as pleasure and racing craft.Robert Davis Ford 1915-1999

Robert Ford died at his home in Ross, Calif., on Sept. 6, 1999. He was commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club in 1971-1972. He was also a member of the Marin Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, and the Bohemian Club.

Ford was introduced to dinghy sailing on the lakes around Modesto in California's Central Valley. After World War II he moved to Newport Beach where his sailing began in earnest, racing aboard the late Walter Elliot's six-meter sloop and his 48 foot Cal 32 Escapade. Returning to San Francisco, Ford purchased the 65-foot S&S designed motorsailer Adios. Ford soon took ownership of the schooner Yankee, a 50-foot gaffer built in 1906 by W.F. Stone. Yankee had been a fixture on San Francisco Bay since its purchase by Ford's father and uncle in 1925.


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