Pete Seeger RIP

Pete Seeger has taken his last sail and played his last song on the banjo.   Many of you have met him and been on Clearwater. One connection you may not know of is his connection with Peter and Jeanette Phillips.

When we were going across the Atlantic in Voyager, Peter and Jeanette told some stories.   When Pete Seeger was trying to raise money to build the Sloop Clearwater to do education and help clean up the Hudson, he had this old small sailboat that he used to stop at ports along the river.   Peter lent him his schooner Voyager to help with that.
It got done and the Clearwater traveled many trips up and down.     Ernestina went down to the Hudson one fall and helped them with the "Pumpkin Sail"  They would go from port to port giving talks on clean water.  Then they gave pumpkins to the kids.
 Pete met us near Kingston and we went to a concert with him, he was getting too old to do many concerts, Gordon Bok was the main singer there.
Of course after many years of campaigning, GE finally agreed to help clean up there PCB mess, and many communities stopped using the Hudson as a sewage dump.
The ex- Exec director of Ernestina, Greg Swanzey, was a captain of Clearwater, and a lot of the Ernestina crew worked on and at least two became captains of the boat. Another guy that got his start on Ernestina went on to run a tug in the Hudson as a part of the PCB cleanup.     Tao, his grandson,  was up and visited Ernestina.     We went to a party in Westport with several of Pete's family.

Fair winds to Pete Seeger; and an old gaffer's random ramblings

As an old CLEARWATER volunteer/relief cook/pumpkin tosser, I knew Pete and even jammed with him a couple of times. Tao and Kitama were old shipmates, too.

We will certainly miss him. He was a great encourager of people trying to find their musical voices (for good, or in my case, for ill - I learned my first shanties on board CLEARWATER!). He was also on the Advisory Board of BROADSIDE when I was a member of the editorial collective.

I never knew the Phillips's VOYAGER was the same boat CLEARWATER used (for much the same tasks that MYSTIC WHALER now performs, picking up the overload of spring ed-sail bookings). I sang a few shanties aboard her one night too, at 79th St. Boat Basin in NYC.

Since you mention Gregg Swanzey, I will also note that he was captain on my first Trans-Atlantic, aboard schooner TE VEGA, Leningrad to New York in 1989, 25 years ago. (Eventually I guess I should get those pictures developed.)

Soviet-American Sail 1989 was conceived and planned aboard CLEARWATER during my first tour as a volunteer aboard her in 1987. (Some years ago Gregg organized an SAS reunion aboard ERNESTINA in the Hudson. )

Don't tell Paul this, he will want me to write an article about it for W&W.

Greg DeCowsky

Pete Seeger

Those shipmates who didn't catch it last week ... PBS did a terrific special tribute to Pete. Had a great piece on constructing and launching the Clearwater too. Keep your eye out for reruns; its worth watching.

Voyager and Voyager

Not to take away from Peter Phillip's illustrious Schooner Voyager, but it was my own vessel, another Voyager, built in 1978, that sailed on educational sails with Clearwater for 11 springs, starting in the early 80s. I had learned the program as captain of that sloop from 1973-1975. The Mystic Whaler is now in her 19th season on the Hudson River, sailing along with that wonderful sloop, teaching children about the environment.

Frank Fulchiero