The Yachtsman's Journal

Driving through a gale under jib and mizzen

Some years ago I had the good fortune to purchase this gem of an album. It is the personal yachting journal of Mr. Frederick Gade of New Rochelle, N.Y. It features his sailing adventures at the helm of several yachts including the famed yawl, Petrel. From Indian Summer days aboard the Micmac II, to driving through a gale during the storm of November 1914, this album documents Gade's nautical life from 1900-1915. There is even an August 1913 Saturday Evening Post with cover photograph featuring Gade sailing the Petrel during Race Week 1913. What a wonderful photographic documentary and what a time it must have been. 

Maybe I'm a bit sentimental, but it always disturbs me when I see family heirlooms for sale at estate auctions and antique shops. One can only speculate the journey of these undesirables and how they have made it here to the bidding block. Was it hard times that forced a loved one’s hand, greed, or did the family simply die out? Though the objects themselves are quite inanimate, my heartstrings are pulled towards the original owner. Perhaps it is because I'm afraid one day my precious belongings may too find themselves being sold to strangers. Who knows what the future may hold, but I have hope and faith that generations from now my memory might live on within some of these possessions I have painstakingly created or lovingly collected. But years from now, if by chance, the wolf comes howling at the door, or my lineage is lost, I hope there will be someone who will recognize the value in these things which once brought me such joy, that I might be remembered also, as they treasure the items as if their own. 

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
— John Masefield