Something a little different this week – just to show that there are things I can write about that aren’t Freeper-oriented:
Back in the 90s, I only had one vacation dream – to go on a Windjammer Barefoot Tour.
This company had a small fleet of tall ships, and they weren’t the kind of place to wear a tux for dinner.
They were the kind of cruise where they had a “Pirate Night”, and you weren’t really sure if they were play-acting.
They were the kind of ships that had all the passengers moon the “Foo-foo ships” as they sailed past the 15-deck-high monstrosities, fire the windjammer’s signal cannon at them as a literal parting shot, then repair to the deck bar for a rum swizzle or ten.
They were the kind of ships that could cozy up to islands and coves that the cruise ships couldn’t get within a nautical mile of.
But before I could scrape up the cash, two things happened:
The S.V. Fantome four-master from the fleet was lost with all crew in a hurricane, and suddenly, you couldn’t book online any more.
I didn’t know it, but the founder, Captain Burke, had retired and left his kids to run the business – into the ground.
And they did – with a vengeance.
The Flying Cloud:
The flying cloud as of 2009:
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Captain Burke’s marvelous, whimsical, outrageous Florida
home castle burned to the ground (he was in a nursing home by then)
The story of how it all came tumbling down is here:
(a long read, but SO worth it!)
This story had everything. A far beyond colourful patriarch, scheming brothers and sisters, draining of company coffers for personal use – a true-life “Dallas” series with tall ships instead of oil wells. Someone should really make this story into a movie.
All flesh is grass? Best laid plans of mice and men? Preen over that house/car/wardrobe as much as you like – in 50 years (or less) it’ll all be gone, either crumbled to ashes, or sold to someone who neither knows nor cares to know about you?
Or the old standby – entropy increases.
But damn, it must have been fun while it lasted!
(footage below is of the S.V. Fantome before the hurricane sank it)
My humble apologies – the footage below was taken on the Fantome’s sister ship, the S.V. Polynesia, which was sold several times after the dissolution of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.
A infomercial for Windjammer including the perky hostess holding forth in the now-underwater Fantome, and a surprisingly young-looking Captain Burke: