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  #11  
Old 12-08-2007
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Thanks nightowle. A few retired surf boats were still around in those days, and it was known by budget-minded people like us that they could be converted to a seaworthy sailing rig. My resourceful friend Walter Ramsden got out a few books, talked to others and came up with the design, which he then built at the edge of his street and tiny backyard in Squantum. Walter could have added a lot of important details to this story, but he crossed the bar years ago.

In the hope it may stir up some interest on the Winnebago waterfront I'll add a few more details later. I'm looking for my photos of the thick ice that trapped us in Chesapeake City for three weeks.

Thanks to John Pollard I've finally mastered the trick of embedding photos.
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Last edited by FishSticks; 12-09-2007 at 11:30 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2009
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The Watermelon (Salty Dog)

She sits at the Pioneer Inn Marina. It has not seen the water in 3 years, but the owner is giving her some "lovin" this year.
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2009
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Watermelon Mystery Solved!

Thanks for the good news! I will make contact later with the owner, who likely is in need of encouragement in his project. We have something in common, as I am currenly swamped with work in getting my old schooner ready for the season. Will post more later.
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Old 05-10-2009
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Very cool. It would be great to see some current pictures of the boat.
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Old 11-19-2010
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Change of identity alert.... Watermelon has become Salty Dog and gone missing again!

I am much obliged to rhessenius for solving the mystery of Scituate No. 1/Serendipity/Watermelon/Salty Dog! And credit to Sailnet, which I joined for the specific purpose of making this search. But now I have lost the trail again, for the Pioneer Inn Marina seems to have disappeared. So I'll try to rejuvenate this thread and hope for more news. Now it's Salty Dog we are looking for.

It was fifty years ago today (11/19/60) that we set off for the Caribbean in Serendipity from Squantum, Mass, so I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, though in no mood to relive the night of our departure. We ran downwind all that night for the Cape Cod Canal, rolling something fierce before a strong NE breeze. With a half ton of unstowed gear aboard, for we had set the departure date with a vow to leave - ready or not. And of course we weren't ready. Here are a few old photos.



From CG surfboat to ketch - June 1959



Serendipity ready to launch. Note the added freeboard. The chainplates run down to the original sheer line.



Ice storm south of Morehead City. It took us more than two months to get this far, and the first palms and Spanish moss we saw were not supposed to be encrusted with ice. It would build up in the rigging until until we hit a rough spot, then come crashing down on deck like broken glass.

That's our skipper and Serendipity's builder, the late Walter Ramsden, at the helm. He was a talented, practical mechanical engineer and a skilled sailor who won a lot of races with his Indian, Apache, sailing out of Squantum Yacht Club in the mid 50's.



Careened in Charleston to repair ice damage, February 1961. We had been trapped by thick ice in Chesapeake City for three weeks.



When it got rolly we stood spread-eagled at the tiller and braced ourselves. Our watches were two hours on, four off. Here I am in February 1961. I believe we were near the edge of the Gulf Stream approaching Florida at the time.

On the passage from Charleston we had been becalmed for most of a day after a norther in the stream, which seemed to have meandered inshore, or so we thought, for we spent many hours rolling violently amongst large steep waves whose peaks were tumbling off and crashing noisily. I've never seen or heard anything like that since. We went for a long spell without a sight. Then came fog. I was the navigator and worked mostly with sun lines. We had a taffrail log and used an RDF at times, but had little success with radio bearings. And we had a lead line. We nearly ran into the STA buoy (St. Augustine) in the fog, and that was far SW of my DR x on the chart. When we circled the buoy in disbelief of the marking it ate our log's rotator, adding injury to insult. By the look of those waves where we were becalmed we assumed we were in the stream and being set back northward, but apparently that was not the case, for we actually had made much more progress south. It was quite some time before my credibility was restored.

More photos to come.
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Last edited by FishSticks; 11-22-2010 at 09:27 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2010
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WOW!

Thank you for sharing this story.

Wait 'till Smack get's wind of this thread. You'll make BFS fo' sure!

Great story, and great pics.
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