Anyone know this 1966 schooner? Lost in the Med.?

                         C'est la Vie (Norman Fortier photo, 1968)

We received this letter from author Steve Fayer who is writing a book about this schooner ____

 Dear ASA 

In 1966, I helped build the 64' gaff-rigged schooner C'est la Vie in Frederiksvaerk, Danmark, and crewed on her maiden Atlantic crossing in the tail-end of hurricane season that year.

A half-century later, I am working on a book about the construction and maiden voyage from original logs and journals. Designated a USRV by the U.S. Congress, it was designed to undertake marinebiological research on an initial three-year circumnavigation. But within weeks of leaving Danmark, those plans were changed.

Last I saw C'est la Vie was in Padanarum, Massachusetts in the late 1960s. She was then doing some racing off the New England Coast. Marine photographer Norman Fortier took a magnificent shot of her under full sail around that time.  The negative is at the museum in New Bedford. The photo can be viewed on the Herreshoff forum on the web.

My query: I wonder if your organization and its membership can help me determine the fate of this vessel. One of the original crew told me years later that he heard she had burned and sunk in the Med. But I have been unable to confirm.

I am enclosing a sail plan in the event it may help jog some memories. Some may remember that the boat was under-rigged - the masts shortened by the original owner during construction. (Unfortunately, the 10 1/2 ton iron keel was not also trimmed, making her somewhat cranky and stiff in hard weather.)

Thank you.

Steve Fayer



  • Designer:  Arne Slaaby Larsen, Hellerup, Denmark
  • Builder:  Folmer Jensen, Frederiksvaeerk, Denmark
  • Original owner:  Jack Hines, Philadelphia, PA
  • Construction:  Mahogany on oak frames
  • Comments from Steve Fayer:  The hull was painted white; her boot top and trailboards were blue.  The stainless steel chain plates were external.  The figurehead, a mermaid, was hand-carved in North Carolina.  Stays and shrouds were oversize stainless.  No turnbuckles; only deadeyes (the Danes called them jungfru ("virgins").  Auxiliary power was a GM 453 diesel.  For its original research mission, Raytheon provided radar, sonar, radio and radio direction finder, and an underwater diver-to-boat and diver-to-diver yak-yak communication system.  Below decks, a chain locker, foc'sle with crew's quarters and crew toilet, a galley, two staterooms and master head, a large salon, chartroom with bunk..  Aft of the chartroom, the cockpit with storage lockers, and in the stern a lazarette used for food storage..