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Flotsam & Jetsam: No Ordinary Bystander


Modern tenders might be outfitted with 1200 or more horsepower and be capable of speeds of 50 knots or more. Beyond their role, these speed demons have little in common with the 42-foot Bystander, which was the longest-serving and probably the most successful race tender in the history of the America’s Cup.

Bystander was commissioned and owned by Harold S. (Mike) Vanderbilt and acted as towboat, crew carrier and sail carrier to three victorious America’s Cup campaigns in 1930, 1934 and 1937. In 1958 she served as tender to Vim, which was narrowly beaten to defend the Auld Mug by Columbia.

By 1960, Bystander had landed in Australian hands and served in another three America’s Cup campaigns, tending to Gretel, Dame Pattie and Gretel II. She was rescued in 2002 by serial J-Class restorer Elizabeth Meyer who shipped her back home and paid for a 23,000-hour refit that took nearly seven years. Meyer replaced the 170-hp gas engine with a 440-hp Yanmar turbo diesel, thus putting Bystander a little closer in the power department to her modern sisters. She recently sold for $1.6 million. Lyman-Morse at the Newport Shipyard, 1 Washington Street, Newport, RI 02840. (401) 619-5350.



Keeping that boat hook from causing a tripping hazard, or alternatively, slipping over the side and disappearing into the deep blue yonder is a goal worth having.

Accon Marine, which invented the Pop-Up cleat and specializes in flush-mounted hardware has released a line of retractable push pole holders to keep gear handy and prevent it from going overboard.

Accon 708 Flush-Mount Push Pole Holders are made of 316 stainless steel and UV-resistant glass-filled nylon construction. When not needed, they retract into the deck for a flush fit.

An optional waterproofing cup to protect against water intrusion is also available. They also make a surface mount solution that folds down.

Prices range from $65.33 to $74.75. The waterproofing cup costs $14.32. Accon Marine, 13665 Automobile Blvd., Clearwater, Florida 33762, (727) 572-9202.


Number of miles sailed by the Volvo Ocean Race competitors in the 2017-2018 edition of the around the world race.



Rubha nan Gall lighthouse is located on the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. In Scottish Gaelic the name means “Stranger’s Point.” The lighthouse was built in 1857 and automated in 1960. Since then, the nearby keepers’ cottages fell into disrepair, but in 2013 they were sold, completely renovated and one was turned into a rental property for up to eight guests.

Getting to the cottage may be a little challenging. You can only get there by hoofing it over a 2-kilometer footpath from Tobermory, the one town on the island. That means you’ll have to carry your own clothes, food and drink, so you may want to leave that large suitcase behind. The trip should be well worth it, though. The cottage has a contemporary kitchen with a woodstove, a lounge with an open fire, four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a solar powered battery bank, a spring-fed water supply and wireless internet access.

The location also provides ample tranquility, spectacular scenery and an abundance of wildlife, including puffins, otters, and seals.

If you get bored, you can always walk back to Tobermory and visit the Mull Aquarium, go on a whale-watching trip, hit the local cafes and restaurants or, if all else fails, the Tobermory Distillery, where you can sample their single malt whisky. Slàinte.



The tall ship Pride of Baltimore II, which had been struggling with severe financial challenges, got a new lease on life when the State of Maryland’s legislature voted overwhelmingly to provide $500,000 of annual funding for the next five years.

The ship’s mission is to be an ambassador for the State of Maryland and its people. She has visited 40 countries over the past 30 years.

The state’s financial support will not be enough to fully fund Pride of Baltimore, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the ship, but it should buy the organization time to raise additional donations to make the vessel fully operational again.

“We are excited about the legislation to secure long-term funding for Pride,” said Captain Eric Nielsen, chair of the board of Pride of Baltimore, Inc. “But we still must continue to raise significant funds to sustain our important work. I am hopeful that individuals and businesses that appreciate Pride will continue to support our mission.” 2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 330, Baltimore, MD 21224, (410) 539-1151.

This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue.



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