23 March 2015 | 21 9.79'N:105 13.61'W, Chacala, Mexico
A couple of months ago, when we were in San Francisco, we visited the "Matthew Turner." She's a gorgeous tall ship that the Call of the Sea Foundation is building in Sausalito using traditional methods and tools.
The day before Yesterday, I was reading Cruising Outpost, my favourite sailing magazine founded by Bob Bitchin. Bob was also the publisher of Latitudes & Attitudes, probably the most famous cruising magazine of them all. In the issue I was reading, there was an article on the Matthew Turner and a profile of the Call of the Sea founder, Alan Olson. As it turns out, Alan is the person responsible for introducing Bob Bitchin, a tattooed outlaw biker at the time, to sailing. If you have read either of Bob's magazines you will know that Bob is a larger than life person - both physically and mentally - and that is an understatement. It must have been quite an experience for Alan to introduce Bob to sailing and to sail with him and his biker buddies all the way to Guatemala. Dee and I had a good laugh thinking that there must be some good stories there.
So, where am I going with all of this?
Yesterday, Barry & Sylvia, friends of ours who are cruising on a classic S&S design yawl invited us to go sailing with them for the afternoon. We jumped at the chance to not only spend time with them, but to enjoy what promised to be a great sail. They had a couple of friends along with them.
The gentleman had a "Matthew Turner" hat on and said that he was "helping" with the project, but from his mannerisms I could tell that the must be playing a large role. I asked him his last name and he replied "Olson." Yes, he was no other than Alan Olson, THE Alan Olson! Well, besides a great day on the water, we heard many great stories, including about Alan's prior schooner the Stone Witch which Bob Bitchin sailed to Guatemala on - Bob's first passage. Alan was full of other great stories as well about the many oceans he has crossed over the last 35 years. You name a passage and he has probably done it.
For my Melges racing friends, Alan's wife, Angie, was the main organizer for the Melges 24 nationals and world's last year in San Francisco. Quite the connected couple.
Dee and I commented to each other later on that this is another example of why we should always say yes to invitations and new experiences. A simple day on the water can turn into a very serendipitous and memorable event.