Days of Yore
A sad farewell and a fond homecoming
COSTA MESA (USA) _ Orange Coast College in this sun-blessed southern Californian town has bid farewell to Alaska Eagle, the training yacht of its School of Sailing & Seamanship.
In the last 30 years, Alaska Eagle (left) crossed the Pacific over 40 times. And the Atlantic 3 times. And all that was after the yacht’s heyday as Flyer, the Royal Huisman-design that won the 1977-78 Whitbread Round the World, the precursor of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“We’re glad that you take her home!” an Orange Coast College administrator told the ‘Revival of The Flyer,’ a non-profit that bought the yacht for an undisclosed sum. It will enter it ibel and later modified to a sloop.
Dutch industrialist Conny van Rietschoten sailed Flyer (below) t to victory in 1978 Whitbread. He won again in 1982 in Flyer II, giving him a legend status that endures to this day. That status is rooted above all in the remarkable tale of Van Rietschoten’s heart attack in the Southern Ocean, 10 days away from port in the 1981-82 Whitbread.
He wrote later that he swore his crew to secrecy. New Zealand’s Ceramco “was already breathing down our necks. When you die at sea, you are buried over the side. Perhaps the Ceramco crew might then have spotted me drifting by. I was determined that would be the only thing they would see or hear from Flyer on the matter!”
Ah, those were the days! Revisit them at http://bit.ly/17XcAqW