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Thread: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

  1. #1
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    Default Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Has anyone here ever met Captain Robert S. Douglas of Vineyard Haven, MA? He owns the schooners SHENANDOAH, and ALABAMA. Capt. "Bob" as he is called, has the longest standing schooner-captain relationship in the world, of 47 years. No One else has captained the SHENANDOAH since her launching in 1964. There is more than meets the eye with Capt. Bob, I had the privilege of getting a tour of his boat shops, which is an old Buick Car garage, now the "Five Corners Shipyard" where "Coastwise Packet Co. d.b.a. Black Dog Tall ships" does business from. Just curious if anyone else has has the pleasure to meet this amazing man.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Just in passing back when B&G was young and I was doing hauls of Goblin and then Granuaile there. He always had a right attitude towards sailing.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I worked for him for 4 summers, 1979 to 1982, when I ws finishing highschool and starting college. I worked on shore tending to various boats, including Violet, Raider, Alabama, and several others, and doing various other sundry chores as directed. I lived in the shed between the tavern and the bakery and pretty much had the run of the shops, which were like the back store room at a museum.

    Brian

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Ian, you are correct, he is quite a sailor, you should take a sail on one of the schooners!
    Brian, He still has Raider, she is quite a neet boat. His shops are so cool, my favorite of his shops is the old 28ft catboat DOVER, which has been stored in there since 1973, and still is in great shape! I have had the pleasure to do several week long sails with him, and those are some of the best times ive ever had.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I've sailed with him, did you know his son and namesake Robbie is the fastest sailor in the world. Something like 53 knots on a kiteboard

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Capt Douglas articulated for me the basic truth that while cruising about is educational, broadening, and all that, why leave the perfect waters and winds of Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Buzzards Bay?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I had forgotten about the Dover. Did you see a small (8 ft) plywood pram in the shop at all? It was a Bolger Elegant Punt. Last I saw it, it was blue. I built that when I was 14, and then sold it to Bob and Charlene so their kids, Robbie and Jaime would have a small boat to sail. The Beetle Cat they had was a bit of a handful for them (they were like 8 and 10, or so) at the time. They both went on to become quite the sailors themselves, of course.


    Brian

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I spent a few days with Bob and his wife as Shenandoah was being towed here one December for a winter's overhaul. As he and the rest of the crew stowed and checked everything, he let me steer from Vineyard Haven to the Cape Cod Canal through Quicks Hole. It was a sheer delight. I'd seen Shenandoah south of the Cape many times when I was a child but had never been aboard. They are the finest kind of people and his wife makes really hearty meals, much needed when the temps are in the 20s. The conditions were otherwise perfect for a long tow and just as we finished tying up at the shipyard a snowstorm descended. My wife was there to pick me up and get me home for a long hot bath.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Hwyl - Yes I did know that, Capt. Bob told me.
    Ian - I cant agree with you more!
    Brian - What was the name of the pram, I have a picture of one but, want to know what the name was when you had it.
    rbgarr - I had the delight of taking the helm for quite awhile while under full sail, you said it perfectly, it is a sheer delight!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Was it one of R.M. Packer's tugs bringing you to Maine? My dad ran tugs for him years ago and had to go get Shenandoah when a hurricane was coming once.
    Last edited by Hunky Dory; 07-24-2011 at 06:43 AM. Reason: spelling

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    The tug was named Jaguar is all I remember. I didn't know until just as they cast off and left that there was another forum member (whose name I don't recall at the moment!) in the tug's crew for the tow.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Capt Bob, owbned Tugs at one point, one was the WHITEFOOT, and the other was the JAGUAR. Neither of them he still has. When SHENANDOAH was towed into Hyannis for the maritime festival this year, RM Packar's tug THUBAN towed them in. she's got about 5,00 Horsepower, what a powerful boat!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I spent two weeks with him while the train car was being hauled off the tracks in North Falmouth and put on the ferry to the Vineyard. My most vivid memory was of waiting for the train car to be loaded on the ferry. We stood in the Steamship Authority ticket office and watched in the darkening evening as the ferry came in, emptied all it's cars and trucks and prepared to be taken over by this full size train car.

    Bob said: "It's been one of my dreams since I was a kid - to see a train in Woods Hole again."



    Here's the link for the whole story.
    Last edited by elf; 07-24-2011 at 09:05 AM.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    CrosbyStriper,

    The pram was called "Wood Duck."

    Brian

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Brian, Yes he still has WOOD DUCK, I saw her in the rafters up with many other boats in the shop. I'll look to see if i have a photo of it i will post.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Here you go Brian, let me know if it works.

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6129/...663e284d_b.jpg

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Yes, that is it. Wow. That little boat is 35 years old now.

    Brian

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Bob has more boats in the rafters of that shop than he'll ever have on the water. It's a zoo getting around it.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
    And other things, too.
    http://www.landsedgephoto.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    elf - I cant agree with you more, gotta wish there were more places like that out there! He has got to have at least 25+ dinghy's and rowboats, plus the other larger craft he has. is anyone interested in pictures of his shops? I can post a few if people would like to see them.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I had a deja vu moment on Friday.
    Dick Newick has been visiting on MV after a long absence and I managed to get him out for a sail on Damfino, one of his latest. Years ago, Dick delighted in sailing his trimarans in circles around Shenandoah. On Friday, we did at least half a circle before losing interest.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I probably saw you, i was onboard this past week, what was the name of your trimaran. I think I might have actually seen you do this.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Met him briefly in Newport years ago. It was great when Shenandoah and Bill of Rights were in harbor together.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Next election, vote against EVERY Republican, for EVERY office, at EVERY level. Be patriotic, save the country.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I had a deja vu moment on Friday. Dick Newick has been visiting on MV after a long absence and I managed to get him out for a sail on Damfino, one of his latest designs.
    Years ago, Dick delighted in sailing his trimarans in circles around Shenandoah. On Friday, we did at least half a circle before he lost interest.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 07-24-2011 at 10:58 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Another fun thing to do in the spring is hang around in the Fairhaven shipyard when one of the big boats is being hauled for spring work and listen to Bob gripe about how much it all costs. He's such a doofus.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
    And other things, too.
    http://www.landsedgephoto.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    I had a deja vu moment on Friday. Dick Newick has been visiting on MV after a long absence and I managed to get him out for a sail on Damfino, one of his latest designs.
    Years ago, Dick delighted in sailing his trimarans in circles around Shenandoah. On Friday, we did at least half a circle before he lost interest.

    I sailed with Bob Douglas on the Newick trimaran Moxie. Bob's comment was, "this is nice, this is fun, but it's not sailing" (paraphrased from distant memory)

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    I sailed with Bob Douglas on the Newick trimaran Moxie. Bob's comment was, "this is nice, this is fun, but it's not sailing" (paraphrased from distant memory)
    Yup. There's a history. I was just glad to give Dick another go.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I can post a few if people would like to see them.
    How is the Raider coming along? Is there a launch date planned yet? Got pics?

    Quinque

    a shetland sixern shallop sailing the salish sea


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    How is the Raider coming along? Is there a launch date planned yet? Got pics?
    I hope Raider is launched some time. It went into the shop for a rebuild in the winter of 1979/80.

    Brian

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Last I heard was a planned launch this past spring of 2011 - so they must be getting close now?

    Quinque

    a shetland sixern shallop sailing the salish sea


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    RAIDER, is actually still in the shed, Capt. Bob has been working on the schooners, and many other miscellaneous projects, but hopes to get to RAIDER soon. She has not lost her shape, and is quite a pretty boat, both inside and out! Unfortunately, i do not see a projected launch date anytime soon. Yes I have a few pix, I will try an post them

  31. #31
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Can anyone relate the story about Raider? History, design, ownership, etc.? Thx-
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    I will do some research into it. All I know offhand is she was built in 1914, 48ft overall, and is cutter rigged. Her previous owner is still living on the vineyard, he sold it to Douglas in 1976 I think. rbgarr, are you familiar with the builder Roy C. Blaney? From Boothbay Harbor?, Douglas has one of his lobster boats, 30ft, 1958, called "ACTIVE". An internet search has turned up nothing useful.

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6147/...c6b3a108_b.jpg

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6014/...6b19e21a_b.jpg

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6011/...ec21d42f_b.jpg

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Thanks so much for the photos - really appreciate it.
    Can anyone relate the story about Raider? History, design, ownership, etc.? Thx-
    Raider is an original Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter built in Porthleven by Kitto in 1910 for a Barry Pilot. She was originally named the Rene B.
    Virginia Jones wrote an excellent article on the history of the boat which can be found in the 2010-2011 issue of The Wave magazine - which can be purchased thru the BCPC Owner's Assc. website below.

    Quinque

    a shetland sixern shallop sailing the salish sea


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Capt. Robert S. Douglas

    Quote Originally Posted by CrosbyStriper View Post
    ... are you familiar with the builder Roy C. Blaney? From Boothbay Harbor?, Douglas has one of his lobster boats, 30ft, 1958, called "ACTIVE". An internet search has turned up nothing useful.
    Roy has passed away. He was a partner in Pamet River Yachts (on Cape Cod) which he sold around the time of the Korean War. He moved here after that and probably built ACTIVE in his one-man shop on the east side of Boothbay Harbor.
    Last edited by rbgarr; 08-04-2011 at 08:26 PM.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

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