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Sailing Cape Horn

Good evening…we’ve survived the storm. The 6 p’s of preparation worked. We had to shovel and plow. Plowing was amazing. I’ve never plowed snow and walls of water before. The ground is still frozen and all the rain on top of 9” of snowfall made mucking about the grounds difficult. Our boots were just tall enough to reach the barn and still stay dry. Roads have been flooded out in our area and the fog as thick as the soup we sail thru in the early part of the season. While driving yesterday I found myself secretly wishing for the schooner’s compass and GPS.

Looking thru old photos on hand, this photo reminds me of the time Irving Johnson made his voyage aboard the Peking. The other evening we showed the crew the Irving Johnson film, Around Cape Horn. Which I’m sure many of you know about. It’s a wonderful classic that we show the crew every year with the disclaimer “this is what you won’t be doing in the rigging” as it shows Irving coming down one of edges of the sails pinching it between his fingers only, all while the Peking was underway!

If you haven’t heard of Irving Johnson here’s a tidbit for your morning coffee:

Irving Johnson was born in 1905 in Hadley, MA and had always dreamed of sailing from reading many seastories as a youth. Being far from the sea he had to come up with a way of preparing himself to become a sailor. Doing a headstand ontop of a rotton telephone poll and making it swing from side to side was one of his many interesting training techniques.

In late November, 1929 Johnson joined the crew of the 377(LOA) foot 4 masted barque Peking for a voyage around Cape Horn. Johnson had always dreamed of such an adventure. Little did he know the adventure it would become. He was lucky enough to bring a camera and film a home movie to capture this historic event. Irving was able to capture the crew’s daily life & activities and amazing images of a (typical) dangerous storm as the Peking sailed the tretcherous waters of Cape Horn. Some of his footage was shot from up in the rigging! Johnson narrates the video which makes the movie a well worth event. The Mystic Seaport Shop has the video available at: (

Today the Peking can now be visited at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. (

So we leave our crew for the evening with great thoughts of historic sailing adventures that have been made and thoughts of ones that lay ahead of us this summer…

Have a great day! Be well. Do good. And hang on tight! (“Why would you let go” as one wise captain would say.)

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