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Featured Stories on Boating and Boater Safety

Heroism and heartbreak

The Jeannette Expedition of 1881, a mission doomed to failure, was undermined by hubris and overcome by catastrophe.

The Jeannette's sinking was dramatically portrayed by the popular French artist George Louis Poilleux.On a high overlook at the historic U.S. Naval Academy cemetery is a large and mysterious pyramidal mound of granite surmounted by a 12-foot-high cross of white marble, strangely draped in sculpted cascades resembling ice. A bronze anchor lies atop a plaque that reads: “Commemorative of the heroic officers and men of the United States Navy who perished in the Jeannette Arctic Exploring Expedition, 1881.”

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A forgotten monument

The Jeannette Memorial of 1890 — determined by architectural conservation experts in 1994 and 2008 to be in poor condition — continues to present a forlorn, forgotten and generally miserable appearance in the Naval Academy cemetery, which dates from the 19th century.

A white marble cross draped in formative “icicles” carved in high relief, it is heavily soiled and sorely in need of attention. Its original bronze memorial plaque was replaced in 1965 and cleaned and treated in 1994, and it is in readable condition. But a second bronze plaque, containing selected names of Navy men who perished in the 1881 Arctic expedition, is blackened and illegible.

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Learn, do, teach: sail training’s invaluable lessons

Peter Mello believes that finding ways to measure the benefits of sail training will prove that its valuse exceeds its cost.It was 1973 and my first day as a freshman at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts. I was at an awkward age in a new school with not a single recognizable face — and everything seemed to be happening at an accelerated pace. Although at the time it was all a bit of a blur, today I remember it like it was yesterday. The proctor came down the aisle handing out sheets of paper and pencils so we could select our afternoon activities, which are just as integral to the prep school experience as mountain-high stacks of books and small class sizes.I could feel the mounting pressure that day to make the first of many important decisions, but four decades later this is the only one I still recall.

I had the great opportunity to attend Tabor as a result of two things.

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Fair winds or foul: tough times for some tall ships

It's been a tough few years, but those who have experienced the benefits of sail training are rallying to find long-term solutions.The Ocean Classroom Foundation, a nonprofit sail-training organization that closed its doors at summer’s end after 20 years of educating students at sea, has sold its tall ships — Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts and Westward — to operators who plan to put one, maybe two, of the schooners back on the water in semester-at-sea programs and the third into service as a dockside attraction in southern Maine.

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‘Do whatever it takes’ to get a search resumed

The Coast Guard covered 25,000 square miles in two separate searches for the crew of the 39-foot sailboat Cheeki Rafiki.The search for survivors from the sailboats Niña and Cheeki Rafiki ended badly for both, with no lives saved. Yet friends and family of Cheeki Rafiki’s crew fought for a second Coast Guard search and won, with help from a massive political and public relations blitz, while the push for renewing the search for Niña fell on deaf ears in New Zealand.

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