Skip to main content

You Know That Great Charlie Barr Story?

 $21.99. The History Press, Mt. Pleasant, SC, (843) 725-9614.

 $21.99. The History Press, Mt. Pleasant, SC, (843) 725-9614.

There are so many wonderful yarns about Charlie Barr, the legendary skipper who captured three America’s Cup victories. This one just turned up in a book I was reading that’s published by The History Press (my employer) over the weekend.

Morton F. Plant was a Branford, Connecticut native. A businessman, philanthropist, baseball team owner and the largest donor to the nascent Connecticut College for Women, Plant built his dream house in Groton, Connecticut. (It’s the particularly large one at the mouth of the Thames River, now University of Connecticut Avery Point’s campus.) Plant loved boats and racing yachts in particular. In 1903 he ordered four (4!) boats to be built by Nat Herreshoff.

One of his early Herreshoffs, Ingomar, a 127-foot schooner, was campaigned in Europe. Her success in the early 1900s was considered second only to America’s. During Kiel Race Week in 1904, Ingomar, with owner Plant aboard, was racing against Meteor, the German imperial yacht, with the Kaiser on board. As Ingomar was trying to overtake Meteor to starboard, Meteor failed to grant right-of-way. Plant instructed helmsman Barr to stay the course.

Ingomar won every yacht club race in her first season.

Ingomar won every yacht club race in her first season.

“By God Charlie, you’re the boy. I’ll give way to no man,” Plant declared. With just a few feet to spare, Meteor finally gave way. And the Kaiser later sent an apology to Plant.

I had never heard of Morton F. Plant, but after reading Morton F. Plant and the Connecticut Shoreline: Philanthropy in the Gilded Age by Gail B. McDonald, and learning all he did for people on the Connecticut Shoreline, I will look at many local landmarks differently. And I have another good Charlie Barr story for the stockpile.    



The New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge

There are 18 lighthouses in New Jersey. Read about how Armchair Sailor blogger Dani McGrath challenged herself to see all of them. READ MORE

plum island aerial

What's Up With Plum Island?

While sitting on the beach in Old Lyme, Connecticut, this past summery weekend, I watched a fleet of small fishing boats in Long Island Sound and Plum Gut catching all sorts of fish.


A Turbulent Trip To Paradise

All of the recent hurricane coverage showing devastated islands, demolished houses, overturned cars and boats tossed ashore as if they were toys can’t help but make me think about some of the vessels famously lost to hurricanes.


5 Things You Should Know About Flares

Only once in my career as a USCG helicopter rescue swimmer did I ever launch on a flare sighting that turned into an actual rescue. Three commercial fishermen were at anchor, sleeping, when their shrimp boat caught fire. By the time they got on deck, the wheelhouse was ablaze, and the only thing on the boat not on fire was these three guys, the Type 2 PFDs they were wearing and the one flare they grabbed out of the flare locker.