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Thread: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

  1. #1
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    Default Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    I hoped over to Mystic Seaport this past weekend for and end of the season visit on my Hubert Johnson Jersey sea skiff. As I was slowly passing the warfs I noticed a gentleman taking pictures of my boat, and then a bit farther along the same gentleman watching me. After a second he called out "Is that a Hubert Johnson??", to which I replied "yes she is!"; to which he replied "Hubert Johnson was my grandfather!"
    I then proceeded to back up to a floating pier there and invite him aboard. We had a very nice visit for 10 or 15 minutes and exchanged contact information before I dropped him back off. He and his wife were at the Seaport for the weekend, so later on I sent him an invitation to take the two of them out for a ride the next day. So yesterday morning I had the grandson of the builder of my boat (who is also the son of a boat builder) out on my boat for a very nice time and some good sharing of his boat building history. He says he has some history of the company that he can share with me when I am back in New Jersey for Thanksgiving.

    I also struck up a conversation with someone who has been at the Seaport aboard a custom built 70' long distance self sufficient cruiser for a number of weeks (that it turns out he built himself). Conversation really opened up when I mentioned my boat, to which he replied that he knew Huber Johnson boats very well, because he grew up in Bayhead New Jersey, where the boat was built. This person, as it turned out was Sam Connor, ....... THE founder of the Port Townsend Woooden Boat Festival. Sam and his wife and I had some very good conversation, boats, wooden boat building, and his career, (which is amazingly storied and accomplished).

    Quite a nice weekend.


    Greg and Vinton Bauer. (Greg’s father, Grant Bauer, was the person behind “Bayhead skiffs”, a Jersey shore icon.)
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    Last edited by nedL; 10-18-2021 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Great Story Ned. I love those bits of serendipity that happen around old boats.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    The schooners Harvey Gamage and Roseway also happened to be there, ...... along with Black Knight (which has been there for a while).
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    What a fantastic story, and great to find connection to your boat's life before it was ever part of yours. It's amazing how small the world can get when you're attached to physical artifacts that signal to a (small but dedicated) community that share similar histories, circumstances or interests.

    Nowhere near as profound as your story, but of a similar tune: Two summers ago I was driving my 18' crabbing skiff west through western MD--I was returning to Wisconsin after a week of sailing on Chesapeake Bay with my father. We built that boat together in MD when I was in high school but it had been with me in WI for eight years before making that journey back east. As I pulled into a rest stop at Sideling Hill a driver got out of his truck and approached me. I figured it'd be another 'hey, that's a nice boat' conversation. Instead, this guy had seen me on the interstate and followed me in to ask, "that a crab skiff?" I asked him how he knew, and he said the transom and skeg were dead giveaways. And turns out he's the son of Jim Holt, the first permanent director of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We chatted for a bit about what it was like to be a kid on the CBMM campus in the early days. I had been sailing at the museum just a couple days before. Great moment, and good conversation.

    Just recently I picked up a copy of Inshore Craft of Britain. I got it online from a bookshop in Bath, ME. Right inside the cover there's a "Robert D. Culler" library stamp. It seems too outlandish to think this was in Culler's personal collection, but that's the only way I figure this makes sense.

    Hopefully you do indeed learn more about your boat over Thanksgiving. What joy.

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    Last edited by npbarker; 10-18-2021 at 12:26 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    that's a great story too! Who would think that someone walking up to you on a mountain rest stop would have such a close connection! That's how I would take the Robert Culler stamp as well. His name even looks familiar in that font!

    That reminds me, ..... I once worked with a woman who found a copy of the book "The Von Trapp Family Singers" (Sound of Music) at a tag sale for a dollar or so. It was signed inside the cover by all the members of the family.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Ned,
    Sam Conner built my boat Wonderland in 1978!
    A fact that I learned a year after meeting him in Antigua, 4 years after getting the boat!
    I flew home with his son a few years ago,( we just happenned to have the same 2 flights from Antigua to Seattle).Being a young fellow, I paid for the drinking we did in the Antigua airport,( I'm like that).When we touched down in Seattle, I said lets go have a few in the airport bart... he said Bruce, I'm only 17, can't drink in the States! He works in the museum I believe...wise beyond his years.
    bruce
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 10-18-2021 at 01:12 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Very cool stuff, indeed!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Since we are telling stories, a few years ago I found a nice copy of Bill Garden's Yacht Designs in a small used book shop in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island.



    I already had two copies but I had to buy this one because of the inscription:



    From Bill Garden to his "old friends the Ganns", meaning Ernest Gann, the aviator, author, sailor and world traveler, and his wife Dodie. Not quite the same as Pete Culler's personal copy of Inshore Craft of Britain but still pretty neat I think.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Yep, small world!
    Bruce,…. So Sam and his wife won’t be making it to Antigua the year (apparently they usually had). They were asking about wintering around here (Ct / RI), or more likely the Chesapeake. Sam’s career has been an amazing one! He has stories and experiences to share.
    He just sold his shop and farmstead on Nova Scotia and is “retiring”. His farm hose on Nova Scotia was the childhood home of Donald McKay (clipper ship builder).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Since we are telling stories, a few years ago I found a nice copy of Bill Garden's Yacht Designs in a small used book shop in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island.



    I already had two copies but I had to buy this one because of the inscription:



    From Bill Garden to his "old friends the Ganns", meaning Ernest Gann, the aviator, author, sailor and world traveler, and his wife Dodie. Not quite the same as Pete Culler's personal copy of Inshore Craft of Britain but still pretty neat I think.
    Yes! How neat is that!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Great stories all!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    That copy of Garden is awesome, I got the great pleasure of getting to borrow John Thomas's copy of Garden, it had previously belonged to Dave LeCercq and had personal notes from both LeCercq and Garden in the margins.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Since we are telling stories, a few years ago I found a nice copy of Bill Garden's Yacht Designs in a small used book shop in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island.



    I already had two copies but I had to buy this one because of the inscription:



    From Bill Garden to his "old friends the Ganns", meaning Ernest Gann, the aviator, author, sailor and world traveler, and his wife Dodie. Not quite the same as Pete Culler's personal copy of Inshore Craft of Britain but still pretty neat I think.
    Very cool. And isn't it incredible how every used bookseller seems to have the same handwriting for their penciled-in pricing?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    Very interesting Ned, thanks for sharing.
    Wooden boats have their own lives, and stories. I've had a few serendipitous connections like that. Wandering Star's builder's son in law reached out to me through social media. Curiously, his cousin knows my wife. I had him aboard for a visit and heard some great stories. When I sold my Dion Dory, it was to Dion's grandson. And with each of my keelboats, I have researched, located and contacted a first owner, builder or designer.
    I love this stuff.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Unlikely coincidences on my boat's history

    I found two canoes described at https://maineboats.com/print/issue-146/heirloom-canoe that once belonged to my grandfather. The history and connections are a great part of an old boat.

    Benson

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