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Heritage Stories
March 27th, 2015 @ 01:14 PM EST by Newsletter Author

Sand, Varnish and Beer

. . . from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, NYC style


There was a time when National raced a large fleet of wooden folkboats with gleaming varnished Stika spruce spars. Each spring after launch these spars where laid out in the yard and owners spent numerous hours preparing them for the coming racing season. Ev Etches and Charlie Riley’s spars were side by side in the yard and Charlie immediately started sanding and varnishing while Ev, ignoring his sad looking mast of peeling old varnish, went to the bar for a beer. Each night after work would see Charlie in the yard and Ed at the bar. Periodically Charlie would come upstairs and warn Ed to get started as the first race was only a week away. And each night he said not to worry he would be ready. Finally the day arrived and Ev put down his beer and went out in the yard and picked up Charlie’s gleaming 6 coated varnish spar and started to carry it to his own boat. “Where are you going with my mast” Charlie cried out. “To my boat, this is my spar, look at the number on the butt end” was Ev’s reply. You guessed it, Charlie varnished the wrong mast. When the laughter dined down, Ed gave Charlie a much needed hand with his proper mast.