Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz is the 40th superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and the first female officer to hold that post. She was previously director of reserve and leadership at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., and commanded two cutters — an icebreaking tug on the Great Lakes and a medium-endurance cutter that patrolled the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
The director of Mystic Seaport’s Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard and the man who led the construction of the schooner Amistad and the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan lets us quiz him.
First memory of being on a boat: While my mother would never admit it, I always believed I was conceived on my father’s first boat — an ancient Cape Cod pound-net boat he purchased in Greenport, New York, and rebuilt in the backyard of our brand-new suburban development home in East Meadow, Long Island, before I was born.
She was a beloved member of the French bluewater sailing “fraternity” who earned her nickname as the “Little Bride of the Atlantic” when in 1990, at the age of 33, she won in record time the fourth edition of the Route du Rhum, the solo trans-Atlantic race from France to Guadeloupe. Considered one of the best sailors in the world — a female rock star in a male-dominated sport — Arthaud, 57, was killed in Argentina on March 9 when two helicopters collided during the filming of a reality show for French television. Nine others also died in the accident, including three-time Olympic medalist swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic bronze-medal-winning boxer Alexis Vastine.
As a seaport of historic import, Mystic, Connecticut, faces south, toward the swells of the Atlantic. That’s where business was, and that’s where the ships plied their trade. Therefore, driving away from the water and into the hinterlands to find a link to nautical tradition seems counterintuitive.
But turning off Flanders Road at the weathered red wheelhouse parked in the shrubs leads to the shop of McClave, Philbrick & Giblin, which specializes in the restoration of classic sailing yachts that might be a century old or more.
MP&G keeps a list of restorations it has completed. Of the 47 projects that were tracked since the late 1970s, the ones here involved boats that are at least 100 years old.
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