The Schooner Sara B Log

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September 01, 2007     Post 17
Sara B and the Highlanders

The crew and passengers of the Du Teilley (Sara B): Bosun (Mike Dunn), Bonnie Prince Charlie(Chris Timm), Capt Walsh (Chris Gateley), Duke of Atholl (Richard Schuricht), cabin boy (Zeb ?), sailor/rower (Susan Gateley)
In late August we got a call from Henry Spang, who oversees the Oswego Maritime Foundation's schooner program. The OMF Ontario, the group's 85 foot steel schooner, had been asked to participate in a Labor Day weekend historic re-enactment at old Fort Ontario. The OMF Ontario was to land Bonnie Prince Charlie of the house of Stuart at Fort Ontario where he would then rally the Highland clans and march to overthrow King George the Second. But the OMF Ontario had been mired in the mud by fast dropping lake levels. So could Sara B serve as a very small substitute?

Though none of Sara B's crew had ever participated in a historic re-enactment, the idea of a self made living history weekend of outdoor theater and improv struck us as an interesting and intriguing act of creativity, so we agreed to bring the old girl up for the weekend to try her hand at acting, especially since the Maritime Foundation was offering her a free dock in their corner of the harbor. Although we don't know of any Scots heritage pertaining to Sara B, we do know she has had at least two different bagpipers aboard playing from her decks in the past.

The Du Teilley (Sara B) - photo by Mad-Peg (Christine Bough-Burgess)
Sara B ambled down to Oswego on a Friday afternoon and spent the night tied up at the entrance of what was once the Goble Shipyard dry dock. In keeping with the history theme, I wondered if perhaps that night a wandering shade of a dockyard worker or sailor might have paused to study this very small wooden gaffer with her dead eyes, tarred hemp rigging, and hand made ironwork.

The next day we lashed the double ended skiff loaned by Edgar Denton of Fair Haven on to Sara B's mainmast shrouds and assembled the crew for a group photo before shoving off. The crew included two veteran re-enactors playing Prince Charles and The Duke of Atholl (Chris Timm down from Ontario Province for the weekend played the prince, Richard Schuricht played the Duke, along with Mike Dunn of the Maritime Foundation serving as a sailor, and Zeb aboard as cabin boy. Chris Gateley was in costume as Captain Wash and the writer assisted Mike as oarsman (oars person?).

The Royaliste fires her guns
A two foot surf and ten to fifteen knot breeze caused us to anchor and land our men inside the breakwater. But we did depart the harbor and sail briefly on a sweet little reach in company with the ketch Royaliste who played the part of a British vessel attempting to thwart the Prince's landing. However, thanks to co-operative weather and smart 'ship handling' the slippery little black hulled smuggler schooner pulled off the landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie without a hitch, though one barefoot sailor got a bit wet guiding the skiff around an unanticipated rock ledge. The highland chieftains of the clan of the wolf, in all their woolen plaid finery awaited the Prince as planned and escorted him up the bank to the fort. We then raised anchor and had a brief but splendid little sail alongside the Royaliste, a seventy footer well handled by just three very busy crew who sailed her and manned the guns for a broadside at the fort.

Rowing the Duke of Atholl ashore
After returning to our dock Sara B's crew checked out the shore activity at Fort Ontario including highland games and meticulously re-enacted camp life including open fire cooking, and after darkness fell, music and legends and tales re told at a Ceileadh (Scottish party). Our day ended with a view across the water from the fort ramparts of a fine sunset of orange and gold as a lone piper bid farewell to the sun with a wailing salute.

Here's a link to Clann of the Wolf (re-enactors) website

Here's what a couple of the other participants had to say about the day.

John Dunn's entry in the Cape Dory forum

A letter from Chris Timm who played the Bonnie Prince:

Some hot action as Du Teilley (Sara B) gets underway after landing the Prince - photo by Mad-Peg (Christine Bough-Burgess)
Good day,

I wanted to thank both of your organizations again for an incredible experience on Saturday. The opportunity to sail in and then land, recreating the Prince's landing on Scotland was incredible. I have to confess this is probably the best experience I've had as the Prince over the years I've been doing this. Thank you SO MUCH for making this happen.

When we had the chance to sail beyond the breakwater that was pretty amazing too. I loved sitting in the bow just riding the waves. It was quite exhilerating. Everyone I worked with and met was simply top notch and very professional. Thank you for the welcome I received and your willingness to participate in the event...

I hope this was as good an experience for you as it was for me. I also hope we have the opportunity to do this again in the future.

Every best wish.
I remain,
At your service,

Chris Timm

Bonnie Prince Charlie (Chris Timm)

The Highlander games: tossing the caber

The cabin boy Zeb takes a turn at the helm

The Royaliste

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