A couple of lifetimes ago, I worked on the Clearwater, a replica of a Hudson River Sloop that does environmental education and activism. It’s too cold to sail on the Hudson in winter (unless you have an old iceboat, and then ice-sailing is fantastic!) so the boat gets put under a temporary shed and a small, hardy crew of people do winter maintenance work.
Lynch’s Marina in Saugerties was our home base back then, and that big building with the name on it is where we did indoor work when we weren’t on the boat itself. Connie Lynch, the man himself, left us many years ago, and the marina is now an upscale restaurant thing, I think.
Back in the 80s, Saugerties was a run-down, working-class town and I loved the three winters I spent there. Once the ice receded, we’d put the yawl boat back in the water and row around Esopus Creek, hoping the big boat would soon be sailing again.
That picture is me, taken by my Dad, who came up to visit one weekend. I took him out for a row, and we went all the way down to Esopus lighthouse. It was an abandoned mess of bricks back then, but since then, it’s been restored and even has a working light.
I’d forgotten about that weekend until I saw some old photos on my computer and decided it would make a good post for today. And also because it has this photo of my dad, one of my favorites of all time, facing the wind with the Hudson behind him.
A lot of people know Clearwater because of Pete Seeger, who was one of the founders and a long-time advocate, fundraiser, performer, and activist for the Hudson. Here’s one of my favorite photos of him, a long time ago, singing somewhere along the banks of the Hudson.
Sometimes people wonder how I can live in a tiny trailer. Well, I worked on the Clearwater during the sailing season for a few years, doing everything from deckhand to bosun to cook, and when I was full-time crew, I shared a space about as big as my trailer with four other people, in the fo’c’sle of the boat. So I know small!
Here’s a picture of the Clearwater under sail on the Hudson. She’s still going, and as a matter of fact, she’s sailing to Washington DC this Spring to bring attention to the Federal Clean Water legislation that is under fire by the current administration.
You can read more about Clearwater and the sail to Washington DC at this link. I donated to support the trip, and there is a fundraising link on the page, if you want to support this action. Every dollar helps.
Sailing down my golden river,
Sun and water all my own,
Yet I was never alone.
Pete Seeger (1919-2014)