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Thread: desperately seeking Tyche!

  1. #1
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    Default desperately seeking Tyche!

    anyone know the whereabouts or final resting place of Tyche the Alden/Crocker designed 27' schooner? featured in More Good Boats by R.Taylor.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Tyche was owned by Rodman Swift. His daughters, Agnes and Sally, were my "honorary grandmothers", who taught me to sail when I turned 5 (Rodman had died the year before I was born). Agnes lived with us every summer, on Greenings Island, Maine. So Tyche was something a a family celebrity.

    Sadly, Rodman had it in his will that she was to be broken up after he died. Agnes and Sally kept her for a couple years, but soon after Rodman's death a survey found a lot of rot in Tyche and she was, indeed, broken up. I believe she was broken up at or near the Concordia yard, where Rodman had worked.

    Alex

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Tyche was owned by Rodman Swift. His daughters, Agnes and Sally, were my "honorary grandmothers", who taught me to sail when I turned 5 (Rodman had died the year before I was born). Agnes lived with us every summer, on Greenings Island, Maine. So Tyche was something a a family celebrity.

    Sadly, Rodman had it in his will that she was to be broken up after he died. Agnes and Sally kept her for a couple years, but soon after Rodman's death a survey found a lot of rot in Tyche and she was, indeed, broken up. I believe she was broken up at or near the Concordia yard, where Rodman had worked.

    Alex
    thanks for the rest of the story, an fitting end for a gorgeous short ship.

    I was curious because I remembered seeing a very similar tiny schooner on the hard at the rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester about 1990+-
    Last edited by Daniel Noyes; 11-09-2017 at 01:14 PM.

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    I remembered seeing a very similar tiny schooner on the hard at the rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester about 1990+-
    I remember an extensive report about the very trip when that schooner went ashore. The article may have been in the o-o-p Small Boat Journal(?). Meanwhile, it does show up in the WB Index in issue 198 w/photo, p. 80.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    I remember an extensive report about the very trip when that schooner went ashore. The article may have been in the o-o-p Small Boat Journal(?). Meanwhile, it does show up in the WB Index in issue 198 w/photo, p. 80.
    Wasn‘t the one that went ashore TYHEE? I think the article was „The Wreck at Cape Ann“...
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    thanks for the rest of the story, an fitting end for a gorgeous short ship.

    I was curious because I remembered seeing a very similar tiny schooner on the hard at the rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester about 1990+-
    Ok sorry if I was confusing, by on the hard I just meant hauled out at the yard there near the entrance to Rocky neck, it's a launch ramp now, I think there was a small railway there then on land currently managed by Rocky Neck Accommodations.


    Ill have to look into the Tyhee wreck, not much coming up on Google

    here's a schooner (a much bigger boat than Tyche) off Ipswich on Cranes beach, then and now.



  7. #7
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Bill Bunting has written a wonderful account of Rodman (Tod) Swift's voyage on the bark Astral 1904-1905.
    Sea Struck; Tilbury House, 2004

    A wonderful read.

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    A wonderful read.
    +1!

    Rodman --he was never Tod to his daughters or to any of us; when speaking of him he was always either "Rodman" or a family pet name that we all used-- was a family hero when I was growing up. There were quite a few stories of him and Tyche. And the little dory he carried on deck, very appropriately named Tippy.

    One of Agnes's favorite trips was down to Roque Island, where she and Rodman got fogged in for a spell. Long enough that they began to joke about the tin cans they would put over the side, after they'd eaten the contents, maybe piling up high enough to ground out the schooner.

    You might get a kick out of this:

    Agnes, Sally, and Rodman together taught my father and his sister to sail when they were very young, just as Agnes and Sally later taught me. When my father and aunt were skilled enough to solo, they each received a "diploma" from the "Swift School of Seamanship and Navigation" certifying them as able-seamen. Of course they both treasure those documents. I have always been insanely jealous of their "papers," and a few years ago, my aunt very generously sent me hers for safekeeping:



    The catboat sketched in the upper right corner represents Agnes's catboat, Pusheen Gra, but it might also represent Sally's catboat, sister to Pusheen Gra, named Catosal, whom Sally had sold a few years before. Note the marine mammal in the lower left corner. That's because after Agnes wrote it out, Sally exclaimed, "but it needs a seal!" So Agnes drew a seal.

    I especially love the letterhead:



    Sadly, Rodman died the year before I was born, and I never got such a diploma. However, one of my most treasured votes of confidence was when Agnes and Sally gave me Rodman's sextant, probably 30 years ago. It's a 1902 Sewill, in perfect condition --but I'd never dare take it to sea! They asked only that I give it to the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society when I was done with it, since MVHS has a bunch of Rodman's belongings in their collection (tool chest, etc.). As my life is currently in turmoil (divorce, etc.), I just sent the sextant off a couple weeks ago. I miss it, but I'm happier knowing it's in a safe place.

    Alex

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Alex, that certificate is pure gold. And I just ordered a copy of Sea Struck...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    +1!

    Rodman --he was never Tod to his daughters or to any of us; when speaking of him he was always either "Rodman" or a family pet name that we all used-- was a family hero when I was growing up. There were quite a few stories of him and Tyche. And the little dory he carried on deck, very appropriately named Tippy.

    One of Agnes's favorite trips was down to Roque Island, where she and Rodman got fogged in for a spell. Long enough that they began to joke about the tin cans they would put over the side, after they'd eaten the contents, maybe piling up high enough to ground out the schooner.

    You might get a kick out of this:

    Agnes, Sally, and Rodman together taught my father and his sister to sail when they were very young, just as Agnes and Sally later taught me. When my father and aunt were skilled enough to solo, they each received a "diploma" from the "Swift School of Seamanship and Navigation" certifying them as able-seamen. Of course they both treasure those documents. I have always been insanely jealous of their "papers," and a few years ago, my aunt very generously sent me hers for safekeeping:



    The catboat sketched in the upper right corner represents Agnes's catboat, Pusheen Gra, but it might also represent Sally's catboat, sister to Pusheen Gra, named Catosal, whom Sally had sold a few years before. Note the marine mammal in the lower left corner. That's because after Agnes wrote it out, Sally exclaimed, "but it needs a seal!" So Agnes drew a seal.

    I especially love the letterhead:



    Sadly, Rodman died the year before I was born, and I never got such a diploma. However, one of my most treasured votes of confidence was when Agnes and Sally gave me Rodman's sextant, probably 30 years ago. It's a 1902 Sewill, in perfect condition --but I'd never dare take it to sea! They asked only that I give it to the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society when I was done with it, since MVHS has a bunch of Rodman's belongings in their collection (tool chest, etc.). As my life is currently in turmoil (divorce, etc.), I just sent the sextant off a couple weeks ago. I miss it, but I'm happier knowing it's in a safe place.

    Alex
    great Diploma.

    from looking over Tyche's lines it seems that this boat could take being sailed very hard, at 9' wide and 27' overall with 4 thousand pounds of ballast. I'm just imagining her with a electric motor instead of the petrol one she had and the aft cabin/engine room converted to another set of bunks and storage lockers, and maybe a bigger galley amidships and the forward bunks pushed further to the bow.
    What an incredibly huge small boat, looks like a lot of fun!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Great history! Thanks for sharing with all of us.

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    What an incredibly huge small boat, looks like a lot of fun!
    By all the accounts I heard, she was just that: a huge small boat. She handled big, and could take a good thumping and come through just fine. I believe it was aboard Tyche that Rodman rode out the '38 hurricane in Padanaram Harbor: he had set out three anchors, and positioned her so that if all three failed she'd fetch up on a mud bank. (His logbooks, also at the MVHS, record shockingly low barometer readings.) At the height of the hurricane, he was out on the foredeck using a mop to fend off the boats that had come adrift. Tyche never budged, of course. Tyche was even proportioned such that, at an uncertain distance, you could have difficulty telling just how big she was, and would think she was considerably larger than she was --until this HUGE MAN emerged from the cabin, and you suddenly had to adjust your sense of scale.

    On the other hand, Agnes often recounted that Alden never liked her; he felt she was too small for a schooner rig and should have been a cutter. Rodman, however, thought she was pretty near perfect, and I guess his was the opinion that mattered.

    I had an interesting encounter in probably... '94? '95? I had sailed Bucephalus to Rockland, ME, for the Friendship Sloop Society homecoming (she used to be registered with the FSS), arriving very early in the morning after being becalmed in Penobscot Bay much of the night, and found no room at the dock when I arrived. The sloops were rafted three deep, and seeing a little (28')(?) pinky schooner with no one yet rafted to her, and with no one apparently aboard, I slid along side and tied up. Lots of fenders, of course, and all appropriate lines. Being barefoot and careful, and arriving under sail, it wasn't a noisy operation, so it was only as I was making fast the last spring that up popped the tousle-headed owner, still groggy from being woken. He glanced around, saw that all was well, and made appreciative comment on my lines and my sloop. I thanked him for the use of his bitts, and returned the compliments --she was quite a nice schooner, and one of the few pinkys that I've seen where the stern had been done right (most have a kink in their sheer that makes them look like they've been kicked hard in the ass)-- and remarked that small schooners always struck a nice note with me, with Tyche in the family history. Mention of Tyche's name jerked this fellow's head right up, and he told the story of being rowed around Rockland by his father when he was young, and how Rodman had invited them aboard Tyche. He had been smitten with small schooners ever since, and this schooner was the direct result of that encounter with Tyche.

    The schooner was Perseverence, and the tousle-headed fellow, whom I wouldn't have known from Adam, was Lance Lee. So I'd say Tyche's influence lives on admirably.

    Alex

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    This thread, as with so many others, is reminding me of the vast number of stories that exist in the memories of the WBF members. Many of them have been shared but in drips and random replies to threads spread throughout the forum - very hard to tease out from the overall cloth. I would love to have a way to capture them all in one place.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    Bumpity,

    any photos of Tychee especially hauled out or interior shots would be greatly appreciated.

    Taylor seems to have only good things to say about this design, while he gives famous boats like the Stone Horse a fairly critical review.

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    got to wonder Pits, had you ever considered building Tychee again?

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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    I'll check around with the family and see if anyone has any shots of Tyche. I don't think I'll have much luck, though: after Agnes dies, the relevant photos probably went to Sally, and after Sally died, I can't be sure where they would have gone. Sally was enough of a celebrity (look up "Centered Riding," if you're interested) that her estate got swarmed by her extended family, and I wasn't on the east coast at that point to try and salvage anything maritime related. I expect if anything exists, it would be in the Rodman Swift Collection at the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society.

    However, you might get a chuckle out of this: Agnes was a serious packrat, and never threw anything out. I once came across a pot, carefully set aside on a high shelf in the pantry, with a note in her unmistakeable handwriting, "This pot has a hole. Do not use." Anyway, when my father sold the family house, anything remotely maritime got shipped out to me, including the contents of Agnes's closet, that we referred to as "the chandlery." Looming large in that trove was an enormous box of old cordage, all well-used, carefully hanked, and all pretty much played out for use on a boat. At one point it had been nice high-Becker manilla, some of it 4-strand, but that had been a long time ago. Of course Agnes had kept it, though. Today I went into it digging for a piece of line for my sister, who wants to put up a swing in her back yard. In amongst the light stuff, I found a couple good hanks of maybe 1/2", maybe 5/8"; hard to tell with old manilla.

    In Agnes's wonderful handwriting, one was labled "Tyche Fore Topping Lift," the other, of the same vintage, "Fore Sheet" --and Tyche was the only boat in the family who would have had a *fore* sheet.

    So something of Tyche does still exist.

    I set those hanks aside.

    Alex

  17. #17
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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    bit o' a tyche look alike on the prittiest under 30 thread!


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    Default Re: desperately seeking Tyche!

    got to wonder Pits, had you ever considered building Tychee again?
    This is probably disappointing, but no. Tyche was a lovely boat, with great sentimental value to my family, but I have my hands full with Bucephalus. She's only 19', but she's all I can manage in terms of maintenance and moorage. Tyche would be overwhelming for me.

    bit o' a tyche look alike on the prittiest under 30 thread!
    There's a lot to be said for a well-proportioned small schooner!

    Alex

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