THE SKIPPER

I have always been around the sea and the mountains, searching for the wild places that inspire and draw inspiration into my soul. 

I have always been around the sea and the mountains, searching for the wild places that inspire and draw inspiration into my soul. 
At the age of 16, I left my native Washington State for the wilds of Alaska, filled with dreams of experiencing true wilderness.  In Alaska I became a hunter and a trapper, traveling by canoe in the summer and dogsled in the winter, piquing my interest and curiosity to become a naturalist.  I lived the simplest of lifestyles, occasionally working on fishing boats, on logging crews, and as a gold miner.  For 10 years I traveled throughout Southeast Alaska and the Yukon, always looking for what was beyond the next bend in the fjord, or behind the last mountain I could see. 

 

It was at the headwaters of the Yukon River that I built my first small sailboat.  Like the Tagish people I was traveling from Atlin to my summer camp when I came across an abandoned fox farm from the 1930s.  On its beach was a forgotten, old metal lifeboat.  I quickly decided to make some wooden oars and row the old boat back to my camp where I could build it into a sailboat.   I sailed the “Taku Queen” in the lakes at the headwaters of the Yukon, brought her by train to Skagway, and spent several seasons sailing around Southeast Alaska. 

 

Looking west for so many years in Alaska,  Hawaii was my next destination and a good change of weather.   Within a week of arriving, I found work on a 64 ft racing schooner from 1932, named “The Mistress”.  It was here that I learned to navigate the open ocean and work on traditionally built wooden boats. I slowly worked my way up from deckhand to the first mate as we sailed around the Hawaiian Islands, across to L.A., and down the coast to Central American and Panama. 
Having had a taste of the Central American landscape I became interested in the mighty Amazon River, and I set out visit and work in the region.  In Manaus Brazil, I put together a small expedition to go up the Rio Negro to the frontier of Venezuela.  The small town of Barcelos served as the headquarters for a business I started with a local German/Indian with a strange and peculiar past.  Here I lived for over a year, making numerous trips with canoes, some up to 30 feet long, to the head of the tributaries.  I spent months at a time living with the  Yanomami Natives, studying their culture, and learning the natural wonders of the jungle. 
After a year my river travels was cut short by a battle with Malaria, and I found myself back in Seattle working as a shipwright.  As I recovered I was hired as crew for offshore supply vessels in the oil fields of Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico and tugboats in Alaska a far cry from the trapping lifestyle I had lived before. 

 

The call of Alaska slowly drew me back north, and not long after arriving I met a fantastic new girlfriend with an interest in anthropology and Asian Culture.  We decided to plan and organize an expedition to Borneo, studying the culture and producing an anthropology documentary.  Together we spent over a year living and traveling by canoe up and down the rivers to the highlands with the Kenyah and the Penan nomadic tribes, we produced an hour-long ethnographic documentary and the first ever  Ethnomusicology survey along the Baram River.  

 

We sold the documentary to several museum and universities in Germany and ethnographic film festival in Greece, Our success led to another expedition, this time in Alaska, to film the fjords and ecological systems and history of John Meier.  We spent the summer in the stunning Tracy Arm Wilderness Area with a crew of 15 people from New York, shooting film and studying the natural history and ecology of this unique area. 

 

When we finished the film I moved to Washington State and bought a small ranch in the mountains to raise and train horses.  I did some logging and real estate development along the way but felt the need to be back on the water.  So after many years, I found the Irish Rose, a 42-foot cutter-rigged the former racing boat.  It took me four years to totally rebuild the boat, leaving only the original hull, mast, and keel.  I spent another five summers sailing and exploring the Canadian west coast and Alaska. Teaching and sharing from my years of experience of the natural history and the culture of the first nation people along this rugged coastline  

 

I've now purchased the sailing vessel Labora 18 m built in 1939 and refurbished through the eighties and nineties.  I left my home in Washington State and flew to Denmark this summer to start the project of refurbishing and upgrading and putting together a crew of like minded adventures for sailing through  Europe and down to the islands off West Africa and off to more exotic places.  Starting the new adventure of a sailing and seamanship school  on an old traditional sailing rig.

Liberty International Sailing Club

 

 

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Sailing Labora