- 39 b -
From Adams to Zantzinger (second part)
chapt 39 (b) . WALTER KOENIG THE VOYAGE OF THE GERMAN SAILOR, WALTER KOENIG, around the world alone in Zaruthustra, a converted 27-foot fiberglass lifeboat rigged as a sloop, ranks among the most harrowing and little- known circumnavigations one that ended in death a story as de- pressing as Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's philosopher character. Koenig left Hamburg in 1965 on his circumnavigation, and the next word of him came from the Red Sea. There he was sighted by the crew of an oceanographic research vessel, which was conducting a geophysical survey. Aboard was a member of the Slocum Society, Sidney Shaw, who filed this report with the Secretary:(9) Early in March 1969, the oceanographic research vessel on which I was sailing, sighted what we thought at first to be an Arab dhow. Closer inspection revealed the boat to be a Marconi-rigged sloop with the upper one third of its mast broken ofF. It was the Zarathustra of Hamburg. We went alongside and offered assistance. It was the singlehander, Walter Koenig. We decided to take the yacht in tow, so we could visit at greater length with Koenig while we went on with our survey. After a hot shower and a hearty lunch, I was able to get Koenig's story of his struggle against the sea and the Arab world. He had left Hamburg in early 1965, crossing the Atlan- tic from the Canaries to Barbados that winter. From Pan- ama to Tahiti he sailed first on the 87-foot schooner Dante Deo.(10) He then returned to Panama to sail this route the second time on Zarathustra. After a lengthy stay in New Guinea, he met and married a New Zealand girl, and pushed on to complete the circumnavigation. When we met, he had been at sea six weeks since leav- ing Djibouti. His plan had been to sail north to Eilat, Israel, on the Gulf of Akiba, then to truck his boat to the Mediterranean and continue on from there to Ham- burg, with a stop in Cyprus to pick up his wife. Walter had been ill in Djibouti with what the doctors thought was abdominal infection, requiring an operation which they were unable to perform, but which they said he could get in Israel. So with a supply of medication to keep the infection in check, he set out for Israel. Un- ~ 351 ~ fortunately, Zarathustra's engine, a Wankel, was out of commission and the winds in the Red Sea at the time were either flat calm or Force 6 down from the north. In spite of this he managed to beat his way to within a couple hundred miles of Eilat, only to be blown back by a northerly gale. Seeking shelter, he anchored in the lee of a reef along the Egyptian coast. The following morn- ing he was spotted and a boat put out from shore. Seek- ing to avoid problems, he weighed anchor. This action was met by gunfire from the Egyptian boat. Zarathustra took several hits, but the damage was superficial, and Walter escaped unhurt. Fearing that the attackers might radio for a patrol boat, Walter ran off under full sail. Several hours later, still in a panic, he accidentally jibed, breaking ofF the upper third of the mast. He managed to jury-rig the sail on the remainder of the mast, but was limited to being able to point only 70° into the wind. Since nearly all the winds were headwinds, this made progress almost impossible. Several days later, he accepted a tow from a merchant ship bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he hoped to affect repairs. There, however, the authorities searched Zarathustra and on finding a single tin of food packed in Israel, decided to confiscate the boat and jail Walter. He managed to sail ofF before this threat could be car- ried out. He drifted and sailed almost aimlessly until we spotted him days later. Walter later said that he had seen us the day before we picked him up, but he had made no effort to signal us since he feared we were an Arab vessel. As a fact, we were the first U.S. vessel in those waters since the Six Day War in 1967.(11) We ofFered to tow Zarathustra back to Port Sudan, from which we were operating, and to assist him in re- pairing the mast. He declined this offer, since he wanted to avoid any further contact with any and all Arab coun- tries. He also declined my offer to mail letters for him. He said that he was already several weeks late, and that if he wrote now it would only cause his wife even greater concern; a bit of logic I never really followed. Anyway, that night after topping off his water tanks, larder and ~ 352 ~ library, and supplying him with some medication and flares and smoke markers, for use in attracting ships, Walter left. He felt intimidated by the Red Sea, which he had considered a petty lake compared to the oceans he had conquered and was annoyed by the difficulties it was causing him. At this point, he had given up hope of sailing all the way to Eilat and was hoping instead to signal a ship bound for Eilat or Akaba and get a tow. After bidding farewell and wishing him luck, we cast off Zarathustra. We drifted through the night while Walter tried to sail north, yet at dawn he was one and a half miles south of us. That was the last I knew of Walter until June 1969, when I visited Eilat and in- quired about him. I couldn't get much information, but I did learn that he had arrived in April, after getting a tow and had shipped Zarathustra to the Mediterranean. More recently, I learned from his widow, Sheila, that she rejoined him in Messina, Sicily. At this time Walter few to Germany where his disease was finally properly diagnosed as leukemia and he was given only three to six months to live. Courageously, he returned to Zara- thustra and with his wife he completed his voyage, ar- riving in Hamburg in October I969. He was taken to a hospital immediately upon his arrival. He died there on December 30, 1969. Sheila returned to New Zealand and Zarathustra was given to a museum in Bremen. . ANNE BRITTAIN AT THE ADVANCED AGE OF 21, ANNE BRITTAIN, THE AUS- tralian, decided to buy a 61-foot ketch and sail her around the world. Six years after leaving Australia, she reached Gibraltar. During the interim, she had earned a living as a photographer for the govern- ment of Papua, New Guinea, as a laborer in a pineapple canning factory, and at various other endeavors. The long voyage took her from Sydney to Papua, inside the Great Barrier Reef, then through Torres Strait, across the Indian Ocean to Kenya, with stops at Keeling-Cocos, Diego Garcia, and the Seychelles. She sailed down the east coast of Africa and up the Atlantic to ~ 353 ~ Gibraltar to Europe, before planning the final leg to complete the circumnavigation . She met with no disasters and had no problems with the ship nor any of her crew. But as a female skipper in her early twenties, her arrival in various ports usually raised eyebrows. In a letter, she wrote: For example, during one stretch when I happened to have an all-male crew, almost everyone I met seemed to think that I was either trying to set up a female version of Haroun al-Raschid's harem, or that instead of dealing with the many problems of a yacht at sea, I was spending all my time being chased around the decks by a lecherous crew. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I was really doing was trying to prevent my motherly-minded crew from adopting every stray goat from the hundreds of islands in the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Of course, with the publicity about Women's Lib in recent months, the newest theory about women skippers is that they hate men and want to prove they are as good or better. This isn't true either, as I think men are lovely in their place, of course, which is one in every port.(l2) . FRANK CASPER IN 1959, FRANK CASPER, AN ENGINEER LOOKING FORWARD TO retirement, bought the 30-foot Norwegian-type cutter Elsie, built for North Seas fisheries research and formerly owned by Hannes Lindeman.(13) He and his wife sailed to the Bahamas in 1960, to Bermuda in 1961, and the Azores in 1962. In December of the following year, after his wife had died, Casper departed home port at Melbourne Beach, Florida, and sailed to Tahiti via the Panama Canal. After a two-month visit, he sailed to Bora Bora and Rarotonga, then on to Pago Pago and the Cook Islands, and to Auckland, New Zealand. Late in 1964, Casper departed on the circumnavigation via Timor, the Indian Ocean, South Africa, and the West Indies, completing the world voyage in 1967. Known by ocean vagabonds everywhere as a quiet and friendly man who is always willing to share his knowledge and his company, he was awarded the CCA Blue Water Medal in 1969 in recognition of ~ 354 ~ nearly a decade of flawless seamanship. Subsequent years have been spent cruising between the West Indies and the Mediterranean. . THE UBIQUITOUS TAHITIS DESIGNED IN THE 1920s BY THE DUNEDIN, FLORIDA, GENIUS, John G. Hanna, the 30-foot Tahiti ketch arrived on the scene just in time for the Depression Thirties, when restless and frustrated would-be sea vagabonds everywhere were dreaming of escape to those languorous South Sea islands, where living was easy and native girls willing. A solid little ship, salty as a seagull, double-ended for seaworthi- ness, with wide decks, high bulwarks, snug cockpit, generous living quarters below, and rugged in construction, Tahiti was a dream ship come true. By the time the plans were released for publication (with Hanna's salty comments) by W. H. (Buzz) Fawcett, Jr., in Modern Mechanix, and later in How To Build 20 Boats, the design had been proved by the construction of several oceangoing versions.(l4) Tahiti was not an easy boat to build, but the plans were cheap and Hanna's instructions so inspiring that literally thousands of erstwhile voyagers were hooked (including this writer who was then complet- ing high school on the snow-drifted prairies of North Dakota, two thousand miles from the nearest ocean). But with a little skill and a lot of careful and patient work, one could build a Tahiti out of locally obtained materials, and outfit it for about $1,000. Today, the wood version of Tahiti (the plans are still available from John's widow, Dorothy Hanna) would cost a minimum of $15,000, and probably more. A 32-foot fiberglass version is offered by a Carpenteria, Cali- fornia, firm in kit form for home completion which would cost at least $20,000 to build and outfit. But in the 1930s and 1940s, literally hundreds of Tahitis were built all over the world, and dozens of them went on long bluewater voyages, many of them around the world. At least two Tahiti owners have circumnavigated twice Jean Gau in his Atom; and Tom Steele in his Adios. The tales and confirmed reports of Tahiti's performance in weather that would, and did, disable large ships while the owners were snug in the cabin below, would fill a book. But, would-be voyagers should know that both Adios and Atom (and perhaps others) were on occasion capsized and rolled over completely. This is not due to any fault of the design merely that owners tend to take ~ 355 ~ Tahiti into water and weather in which it is possible to be over- whelmed, no matter what size the vessel be. Southern California was an early hotbed of Tahiti aficionados, and dozens were built there by amateurs and professional craftsmen. One of these was purchased after World War II by Tom Steele, who departed San Diego on a circumnavigation via the trade winds route and the Cape of Good Hope with various companions. Off the tip of South Africa, with an inexperienced hand, Ray Cruickshank, aboard, Adios encountered what was later called the worst storm in years. Adios was knocked down several times, rolled over, and badly dam- aged. Trying to make Port Elizabeth, they were again struck by an eighty-mile-an-hour gale with mountainous seas and freezing weather. They lost the mizzen mast, the main boom, the dinghy, and the rudder, and suffered severe damage internally. Steele later managed to get the auxiliary running and they motored into port. Ashore, friendly South Africans took up a collection to help rebuild Adios. But Steele refused to accept such generosity, and found a job and financed all the work himself. Moving on months later, Steele completed the circumnavigation successfully. Only on his return did it occur to him that this was as good a way as any to live his life He did not live it alone, however. Along the way, he picked up a bride, Janet, and together they made a second circumnavigation via the two canals. A well-known meeting of sea vagabonds was recorded in Aden on the way up the Red Sea, when the Steeles encountered the Eric Hiscocks, who were also on a second circumnavigation with Wanderer III. The Steeles, on the second circumnavigation, showed other voy- agers what an experienced couple can do with a 30-foot boat. They had a washing machine in the forepeak for hooking up to freshwater facilities ashore. They carried a small motorcycle on deck for use in port. For example, while at anchor off the Club Nautico in Algeciras, Spain, they used the motorcycle for touring to Malaga and Granada, the first time in four years they had spent a night off Adios. On long passages, with moderate winds, Janet would bake large supplies of fresh bread in their pressure cooker. In the trades, they would commonly hoist a squaresail on the mainmast. Completing the second leisurely circumnavigation at San Diego in 1964, this Tahiti chalked up 55,472 sea miles and visited 286 ports and anchorages in seven years. Steele was awarded the CCA Blue Water Medal for 1964. The ~ 356 ~ award was presented to the Steeles in Panama during the uprisings there, where Tom was temporarily employed as an operator of one of the canal "mules."(15) In 1974, Tom and Janet were on a third circumnavigation. . MICHEL MERMOD ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN INNUMERABLE JOKES ABOUT the Swiss "navy," this landlocked mountain country has produced many good sailors, including at least one singlehanded circumnavi- gator. He was Michel Mermod, who set off in 1960 in a 24-foot converted lifeboat, Geneve. He followed the popular route via Panama, the Galapagos Islands with a detour to Ecuador where he was arrested as a Peruvian spy then on to the Marquesas, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji. From there, instead of going through Torres Strait, he sailed north from New Caledonia to the New Hebrides, the Carolines, and the Philippines; then he headed across the China Sea to Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. He visited Ceylon, the Chagos Islands, Seychelles, Madagascar, and South Africa. Crossing the Atlantic, he touched South America at Natal, Brazil, and then returned via the Balearic Islands (capsizing once in the Gulf of Lion). The only known Swiss circumnavigator, he was alone all the way except for the last few miles in the Gulf of Lion.(16) . THE STURDY ONE FEW, IF ANY, CIRCUMNAVIGATORS ATTEMPTED THE EAST- about route via the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal, until the Smeetons did it in the 1960s on Tzu Hang. Slocum had started out that way, but was warned at Gibraltar by British naval officers about pirates, and thereafter went the other way. Robinson, Long, Peter- sen, the Hiscocks, and the Griffiths had taken the westbound Suez Canal and Red Sea route before the canal was closed in the 1967 war, and all of them reported varying degrees of discomfort, ship- wreck, or harassment. The first recorded yacht circumnavigation east-about was by the solo navigator, Edward Miles, who left New York on August 29, 1928 in the little schooner Sturdy, which he had built himself. It took forty-nine days to reach Gibraltar, after which he sailed through the Med, touching at Tangier, Algiers, Tunis, and Malta, with a detour ~ 357 ~ to Constantinople and the Greek islands. At Alexandria he laid up Sturdy and returned to the United States via steamship for a visit. Nine months later, he returned to Egypt and started through the canal. During the passage, in the blistering heat of the desert, there was an accident in which spilled gasoline was ignited. The Sturdy burned to the water's edge and Miles lost everything. He made his way back to Alexandria and thence by steamship to New York. Immediately he began work on Sturdy II, somewhat larger than her predecessor, being 36 feet overall with a beam of 10 feet 10 inches and a draft of just under 5 feet. Instead of a gasoline auxiliary, this time he installed a 20-horsepower diesel with a fuel tank holding 500 gallons, giving him a range of more than 4,000 miles under power alone. He shipped Sturdy II to Egypt on a steamer and launched her there in September, 1930, a year after the destruction of Sturdy 1. Passing through the canal again, he took a month to sail through the Red Sea. From there he went to Ceylon, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, and Yokohama. On July 14, 1931, he departed Yokohama for Hawaii, which he reached after fifty days. From Honolulu, he made the Pacific crossing in only eighteen days somewhat of a record arriving September 30. Coasting downhill past Mexico and Central America, he went through the Panama Canal, and then on up to New York. The elapsed time was just under four years, but about two years of this was spent rebuilding his dream ship, following detours, and enjoying "time off." To date, no one has duplicated his route east-about around the world, and no one is likely to until the Suez Canal is reopened. . THE CHALDEAN GODDESS ANAHITA WAS THE NAME OF A FAVORITE CHILDHOOD CHAR- acter, the Chaldean goddess, and Commander Louis Bernicot thought she fitted his idea of a retirement ship perfectly. Born and raised in L'Abervrac'h, on the Brittany coast, he owned his first sailboat at the age of ten, and spent all of his life by the sea or sail- ing over it. He earned his master's ticket in the tall sailing ships, and in later years was an officer or agent for steamship lines. At one time he was stationed at Houston, Texas. In 1934 Bernicot retired to a farm at Dordogne, but he was a sailor and out of his element. Like Slocum, he felt cast up on the beach by ~ 358 ~ Old Ocean. Then it came to him: Why not sail around the world as had Captain Slocum? Perhaps this would cleanse his soul of the dreary November. Anahita was built in 1936 at Moguerou. Rigged as a sloop, she was 41 feet long with a beam of 11 feet 6 inches and a draft of 5 feet 7 inches. The ballast was all in the keel, and a novel arrangement of the tiller allowed one man to handle the vessel while lying down. Other features included roller reefing and self-tacking jib. Supplies included 90 gallons of fuel for a small motor, and 90 gallons of fresh ester. Leaving on August 22, 1936, Bensicot conducted the shakedown tests on the first leg during which everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, including a broken rudder. Without steering, he had to put into Funchal, Madeira, for repairs. With everything shipshape again, he sailed down past the Cape Verdes to South America, touching at Argentina, where he refitted and took on stores. On December 22, he departed. In early January he encountered a bad storm, and a severe knockdown most likely a partial capsizing which made a mess of the cabin, but caused no structural damage, except to the rail stanchions. Later he thought that Anahita must have rolled past 180 degrees and pitchpoled at the same time. At Cape Virgins Bernicot entered the Strait of Magellan, with its enormous tides, williwaws, and vicious currents. He had little trouble passing through, however, and thirteen days later sailed out past the Evangelistas and Cape Pilar into the Pacific. Then he encountered the same kind of a storm which had driven Slocum back toward the Horn. Suffering from a kidney infection, and almost incapacitated, Commander Bernicot hove to on a starboard tack and managed to make some offing. Once reaching the edge of the trade belt, he sailed westward to Easter Island, where he was unable to land or to anchor, and then went on to Gambier and Tahiti. From there he sailed across the Coral Sea and through Torres Strait to Thursday Island. He crossed the Arafura and Timor seas, stopped at Keeling-Cocos, Mauritius, and Reunion. On November 6 he reached Durban. Next came Cape Town and the west coast of Africa, with calls at Pointe-Noire and the Azores. On May 30, 1938, he rounded the buoy and entered the Gironde and anchored under the point of Graves in the early evening. In later years, he sailed Anahita on many short voyages, and in the ~ 359 ~ fall of 1952, while he was working atop the mast, a stay snapped and knocked him to the deck, killing him. . THE FRANCOIS VIRGINIE ALTHOUGH BORN AND RAISED AWAY FROM THE SEA, ROGER Plisson was a Breton and Bretons are the last descendants of the old Celts, who as everyone knows are creatures of the sea. In Malestroit, where he was regarded as a local wit and character by the bistro bunch, he painted houses for a living and stubbornly preserved his bachelorhood. But somehow, at times, he would get the feeling that he was missing something in this good life. He did not find out what until one day his friend, Christian Bothua, invited him to come along on a voyage to England. During the crossing, Roger learned how to handle the tiller and to trim the sails. It was his first time on a sailboat, but as he felt the power of the wind filling the canvas and the salt spray on his face, the age-old stirrings of his ancestors came to him strongly. Before they returned to France he had already made up his mind that he would build a boat and sail around the world. Build her he did, and named her Francois Virginie, and trucked her from his backyard to the nearest water. There he outfitted, loaded aboard food and water, and sailed out from the Isle of Houat on November 12, 1967 for Cape Horn an ambitious start for a 24- foot sloop. Two days later he encountered a typical Bay of Biscay buster. He was dismasted and had to put back to La Corogne under jury rig. Replacing the mast, Roger started out again, even though it was very late in the season. This time his destination was Cayenne in French Guiana. Without any actual experience or technical knowledge of navigation, he had to rely on only his Breton tenacity. Somehow he made it. The details of this fantastic voyage, he glosses over. From Cayenne, he sailed to Martinique, thence to Panama and through the canal. Down through the islands to the South Seas and Australia sailed the Francois Virginie; then up inside the Great Barrier Reef, through Torres Strait. Here he damaged the rudder, but made it as far as Reunion, where he stopped for repairs. Off the Cape of Good Hope he lost the mast again in a blow. He limped into Cape Town for repairs and a new mast. Sailing once more, he called at St. Helena, then clawed uphill to the Cape Verdes, ~ 360 ~ the Canaries, and finally the Isle of Houat, 18 months after his departure. When reporters interviewed him, they asked him why he did it. "If you really want to know," he said. "Try it yourself." He had, after all, a reputation to maintain as a local character in the provincial town of Malestroit on the Oust in Morbihan, Brittany. . THE ZANTZINGER STORY MOST READERS WOULD FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SYMPATHIZE with the problems of Richard Zantzinger, who could probably be the first and last of the beat-to-windward generation to circumnavigate the world in a small boat. A middle-aged swinger, with an ex-wife, a girl friend, a pad on Spa Creek in Tidewater, Maryland, a bankrupt contracting business, and a $20,000 commitment to the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes, he somehow was able to buy for cash a $16,000, 35-foot fiberglass sloop, outfit it and set off on a circumnavigation to cleanse his soul of its wintry November, and prepare himself for life's future tribulations. Yet, his experience is a lighthearted and refreshing departure from the usual contrived mo- tivations of blundering paupers seeking escape by sea. His is the story of how a real swinger does it. Born of an old family in southern Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay had been his playground, and sailing boats his passion. His was the usual pattern of school, college, war service, fast company, free- wheeling life, marriage, children, divorce, business failure, and then in middle age trying to start life over again. It all began in late 1968 and early 1969, when his firm, R. C. Zantzinger, Jr., Inc., Concrete Contractor, after a particularly bad setback on a school contract, went belly up about the same time his marriage ended finally in divorce and the Internal Revenue Service began pressing for $20,000 in back taxes. The idea of a circumnavigation, suggested by his girl friend, Connie, came during the depths of his personal depression. He immedi- ately began searching for a proper ship, and after the usual futile encounters with brokers who did not know any more about it than he did, he found the 35-foot sloop only ten miles from his apartment and bought her on Christmas Eve. He had already crewed on a sister ship of this particular model and was familiar with its performance. When he broke the news to Connie, she told him she thought he ~ 361 ~ had lost his mind, even though she had been the one to suggest the adventure. The next few months were spent remodeling and outfitting, and taking a correspondence course in celestial navigation, and dodging creditors. In between times, with the aid of pilot charts, he plotted a course around the world in the middle latitudes that would give the most ideal conditions. He renamed the yacht Molly Brown after the unsinkable lady of American folklore. He had hoped to get permission from his ex-wife to take his chil- dren Kyle, seven, and Richard, five along on the first easy leg to Key West, when school was out. When he finally departed, he had aboard Kyle and the oldest son of a family friend, and Connie's brother, Robert, and another friend, Howard Jennings, both graduates of the University of Virginia, who would go as far as Panama. Leaving Annapolis on June 9, 1969, they had a picnic all the way to Morehead City, North Carolina, along the Intercoastal Waterway. Then, going outside for the 500-mile leg to Fort Lauderdale, they encountered a gale with mountainous seas, and for several days were "lost," unable to take a sight or get a radio bearing. They made it 6 days later, after missing their landfall by 400 miles. A week was spent ashore while repairs were made. The family friend flew home, and his place was taken by John Tucker, who wanted some sailing experience. Sailing leisurely down the Keys, they reached Key West on June 29. His daughter, Kyle, left here in a tearful good-bye and flew home. Heading south, Zantzinger awoke at dawn one morning to find the mountains of Cuba just off the port side, only three miles away. Frantically starting the engine, he used up most of their gasoline supply getting clear. The next stop was Grand Cayman, where some local hoodlums came aboard pretending to be customs officials. Zantzinger loaded the shotgun and they split. After some pub crawl- ing in Georgetown which, in Georgetown, isn't easy they departed for Panama. His girl friend, Connie, flew down to join him for the stay in the Canal Zone, and some wild parties were enjoyed in the local yacht clubs and nearby fun cities. At Balboa, the Molly Brown underwent some repairs to further assure an unsinkable status, sightseeing trips were made about the Panamanian countryside, and after some en- counters with trigger-happy Panamanian cops, Zantzinger drank one ~ 362 ~ last bottle of wine with Connie, waved good-bye, and headed for the Galapagos. At Wreck Bay the local port officer proved friendly and co- operative, and once ashore they quickly found the local pub. After having dinner with the local immigration officer, Zantzinger dis- covered that his visa had been validated for ten years instead of ten days. In the village of El Progreso, Zantzinger met Maryrose Monnier, twenty-four, a Swiss female soldier of fortune who had been stranded in the Galapagos, where she had gone as a tourist guide. When the Molly Brown left, Maryrose was aboard, and from Tahiti to Cape Town she was Zantzinger's only permanent crew member and com- panion. After visiting the Marquesas and sampling its alcoholic delights, they sailed through the Tuamotus and called at Makatea, before entering Papeete. In French Polynesia, every encounter with a petty official resulted in a violent argument between the fiery Mary- rose and the unfortunate chap in French, which Zantzinger could not understand. All he could gather was that Maryrose had a violent distaste for petty officialdom. John Tucker left the ship in Tahiti, where he had found a girl friend who owned a motorbike. Completing a thorough job of re- search on the drinking establishments of Papeete, now a tourist- ridden hub of commercialized fun, and rehabilitating the Molly Brown, departure was made but - not before getting into a loud hassle with a stranger who turned out to be Marlon Brando - for Nuku Alofa, Noumea, and Queensland. Sailing up inside the Great Barrier Reef, they stopped at Townsville, Cairns, Cooktown, and Thursday Island. On Thanksgiving Day, Zantzinger called home to talk to his son, Richard. He learned that Kyle was in the hospital, but only for a barbed-wire cut. At Townsville, also, he had waiting for him a $1,000 check from his brother, which arrived in time to save the voyage from an untimely end. A young Australian joined the ship for the trip to Darwin, which they reached after much pub crawling ashore and reef crawling at sea, meeting crews of other yachts for impromptu parties, and meeting new drinking companions at every stop. From Darwin, the odyssey led through the Arafura Sea to Timor, Bali, and way points, one of which was Kupang, a remote exotic fishing village where families lived and died on boats. From a small greasy trading vessel tied up to the quay, a loudspeaker system was ~ 363 ~ blaring out, "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog," by Elvis Presley. They sampled Bali via a Honda, and with new-found friends from the Quantas Airlines local staff took in a Balinese cremation cere- mony, various local festivities, and impromptu parties with others in the European colony, while Zantzinger waited for more money from home, his bankroll having shrunk to less than $30. While waiting, they also took an excursion into the mountains with a group of hippies from New Zealand and Australia, went to cock fights, at one of which Maryrose got into another wild argument over a bet, and finally were saved at the last moment by the arrival of $250 from home. After replenishing fuel, groceries, and paying local bills, they departed with $1 remaining. Crossing the Indian Ocean in February, they encountered much bad weather. At the Keeling-Cocos Islands, a young Australian on the cable station staff rowed out to tell them that visiting yachtsmen had worn out their welcome at the plantation, and showed them where to anchor near the airfield. Recent visits by yachts, such as one from Denmark which had been wrecked on the reef after which the crew sponged off the islanders for six months, and a grubby 28-footer with a penniless American aboard who was still there, had helped create the current state of inhospitality. The next stop was Mauritius, where the Molly Brown was robbed and vandalized by a young local hood who stole Zantzinger's chro- nometer, sextant, cameras, and $1,600 in traveler's checks from home. The local Criminal Investigation Department soon caught the cul- prit, who turned out to be a frightened sixteen-year-old Indian boy. From Reunion, they sailed to Durban, then Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. In South Africa, the hospitality was, as usual, over- whelming. At one of the many parties, Maryrose took up with a handsome young Frenchman, and Zantzinger met Gail, a British schoolteacher. After an expedition to Zululand with Gail and two new friends, Zantzinger asked her to join his crew. He had already anticipated that Maryrose would be leaving. Maryrose had other ideas, however, and it was necessary to use all his salesmanship, tact, and maneuvering skill along with some implied threats and a cash pay-off to get her to leave the Molly Brown. While visiting with a local family with children, Zantzinger thought how much fun it would be to have children aboard again, so he called his brother in Maryland and suggested that Willie, his eight- year-old nephew, join the ship. His brother called back later to say ~ 364 ~ that Willie was flying to Johannesburg, and with him was another family friend, Cathy Hartman. When they arrived, Zantzinger was shocked to see that Cathy was no longer a scrawny twelve-year-old, but a wholesome young lady. After hectic sightseeing, shopping, and last-minute partying, the voyage began again on June 1. The sail to St. Helena was a picnic all the way. At Jamestown, they managed with the help of the crew of a visiting ship to find more exciting things to do than a whole genera- tion of circumnavigators before them. By coincidence, also in port was the Danish yacht Sawunkhaloke and aboard her was Zant- zinger's former crew-mistress, Maryrose. A good time was had by all. From St. Helena, stops were made at Ascension, Paramaribo, and several ports in the West Indies. There they were met by his chil- dren, Richard and Kyle, for the final leg to Miami, where the Molly Brown was moored at the same marina she had left a year before, completing the circumnavigation. On the passage back to Annapolis, Zantzinger nearly sank the Molly Brown in the Intercoastal Waterway after a series of mis- adventures, including an encounter with a closed bridge. At last, the Molly Brown was moored again at Spa Creek, where Zantzinger and Gail put up with friends. The morning after arrival, a Coast Guard boat moved up the creek and tied up alongside the Molly Brown. With the Coast Guard was a middle-aged man with close-cropped hair and wearing civilian clothes. His name was "Mr. Green," and he was from the Internal Revenue Service. He was seizing the boat for nonpayment of $19,300 in back taxes. He gave Zantzinger one hour to raise the money. At that moment, he could not even raise $20.(17) This did not, however, faze the unsinkable Richard Zantzinger, who now presumably was ready for another assault on the citadels of the financial establishment.(l8) ~ 365 ~ - end chapter 39 -
AUTHOR's NOTES Chapter Thirty-nine 1. Edward Allcard, The Spray, 1970, Vol. XIV. 2. Jean-Charles Taupin, The Spray, Autumn 1969, Vol. Xlll, No. 3. 3. Bill Nance is the brother of Bob, who accompanied the Smeetons on the third and successful attempt at the Horn, and who purchased Tzu Hang when the Smeetons retired to an Alberta ranch. 4. See The Spray, Spring 1969, Vol. Xlll, No. 1, for Murnan's dis- cussion of his novel sea anchor. 5. For this passage, Dr. Holcomb received the CCA John Parkinson Memorial Trophy Award. 6. Dr. Holcomb was also a well-known TransPac competitor. 7. Viking was 35 feet 6 inches loa, 30 feet lwl, 12 feet beam, and 6 feet 6 inches draft. Under new ownership, Viking was lost in the Galapagos Islands on a subsequent voyage. In a recent letter from the modest couple, it was learned they are operating a charter service on their new yacht in the Virgin Islands, with home port at St. Thomas. 8. In a letter received at the last minute before publication, Louis Van de Wiele wrote that he and Annie had purchased, and were living in, the Chateau de Madaillan, a castle in Par Laugnac, France: "My wife has gone to Canada for a month [to visit the Smeetons].... She must be fairly close to you right now.... We sold Omoo in Mombasa in 1955, after sailing her from Belgium via the Red Sea. We lived up country in Kenya for five years. Back to Belgium in 1960, where I took up yacht designing which is now my profession and livelihood. In 1968 we bought a 13th-14th Century feudal castle, or what remains of it, in the southwest of France, where we came to live permanently in 1970. I still design boats, but do little sailing, my wife rather more, when she gets the chance." 9. The Spray, Autumn 1969, Vol. XIII, No. 3. 10. By coincidence, Shaw was later aboard the Dante Deo when she was wrecked in the China Sea. 11. The Suez Canal has been closed since that war, forcing all yachts to go around the Cape of Good Hope or transport overland. 12. The Spray, 1971, Vol. XV. 13. Hannes Lindeman had gained fame by crossing the Atlantic in a folding canoe. Elsie was formerly the Liberia IV, her actual measurements being 29 feet 6 inches loa. She was built in Hamburg in 1958. Dr. Lindeman sailed her from Germany to the Congo via the Bahamas. 14. Tahiti's original dimensions were: 30 feet loa; lwl, 26 feet; beam, 10 feet; draft, 4 feet. The ocean sailing rig totaled 422 square feet, the coastwise rig, 470 square feet. Displacement was 18,100 pounds more than most modern ocean-racing 40-footers Later builders increased the sail area to 500 square feet for better performance. Tahiti's prototype was named Orca, and appeared in 1923. Carol, the 37-foot version, appeared in 1924. John G. Hanna was born on October 14, 1889, in Galveston, Texas. Deaf since a scarlet fever attack at age seven, he was largely a self-taught engineer and designer, writer, and inventor. During World War I, he was an aeronautical engineer, designing propellers for Glenn Curtis. In a letter to Weston Farmer in 1930, Hanna related that Wilbur Wright himself had told him that his control patent was up to that time the only one that was not an infringement of the original Wright patent. He married a schoolteacher from South Dakota named Dorothy Trask, whom he met aboard ship on a voyage between Galveston and New York. They settled permanently in Dunedin, Florida, in 1921, and had four children. He was a long-time contributor to Rudder, Motor Boat and other yachting publications and was widely known as the Sage of Dunedin because of his sharp and pithy comments. 15. Adios was a 32-foot version of Tahiti and was the "plug" for the fiberglass model now molded by a Carpenteria, Califomia, firm, I was told. 16. Technically, Mermod did not complete his circumnavigation because he did not cross his outbound track. 17. Readers will find all the raw and irrepressible clinical details in Zantzinger's book, The Log of the Molly Brown (Richmond, Va.: Westover Publishing Company, 1973 ). 18. Readers will also be delighted to know that Zantzinger came through his financial and tax difficulties in reasonably good shape. In March 1974, he told me that he had finally gotten the Molly Brown back and was still sailing her on weekends. He was then living in a Washington, D.C., suburb with his parents, and working in a job that required traveling around the Eastern Seaboard. Although the Molly Brown, and Zantzinger himself, proved unsinkable, the publishing firm that printed and marketed his book did not. In 1974, the firm went out of business, and the book went out of print.
end of chapter 39 and end of narrative text - Appendices follow -
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