I would like to add my recollections:
I was fortunate to sail on ROMANCE twice in 67/68. Around Christmas time I got a month off from the Wharton School in Philadelphia and headed to St. Thomas. With no money and no plans, I spotted ROMANCE anchored off of Trader Dan's and bummed a ride out hoping to find work. She appealed to me like no other vessel in the harbor (reminding me of a visit to YANKEE in Gloucester while I was in junior high school). ROMANCE had just arrived to begin chartering.
The skipper made my dreams come true - I got hired at $2 per day and had the great pleasure to sail with Adrian Loughborough, Lee White, Rick Perras and John Goodwin with the K's - really fine shipmates.. Where are they now?
It was a magical time; learning to maintain the ship and the rig and sailing in the Virgins. On two ocassions we sailed over to St. Croix leaving about midnight and I thoroughly enjoying being aloft on a moonlite night.
It was a nice balance: catering to the guests, maintaining the ship, oiling the rig, learning to serve wire, often anchoring twice a day, hard work - all under the eyes of the K's.
I fondly remember:
. Midnight in front of Trader Dan's, three of us yelling ROMANCE and hoping the skiff would make a shore run to collect us. But in those heady days no one paid much attention to 3 rum soaked marineros calling out to sea for ROMANCE at midnight.
. Anchoring outside the East entrance to Gorda Sound while the K's explored the better North entrance in the skiff. We had no chart of the North entrance.
. Sailing into West End, Tortola on a Sunday evening, looking for a cold beer and finding all the bars closed by 8pm and then finding a cool police officer who brought us to HM Jail and sold us Shaffers at $.25 per can from the jail's bar. I think we met a better crowd of people in this bar than most other watering holes.
. The skipper waking us in the galley as he started the day with rattling pans and hearty breakfast. Better get up or he will get grouchy.
After graduation and then some work as a race boat navigator and endless deliveries over the years, I took a job with the Moorings and saw ROMANCE often from my base in Roadtown. I made some money and bought a magnificient wooden NERIA ketch, a superb 37 foot Herreshoff design that I think the skipper appreciated. I sailed her for a couple years before selling her to Robin Tattersal, the Tortola Doc who raced her well and even let me race her in Antigua Week.
Tortola was a heady place then. Great wooden boat races. SOPHIE (Brad Ives) and LINDO (Greg Birra) - two square rig vessels calling in to Roadtown and then racing off the anchor and out of the harbor under sail and running down the coast of Tortola so closely matched that one fellow stepped from one of LINDO's yard across ro SOPHIE's.
During my years in Tortola, ROMANCE was often around and always a pleasure to see but she changed hands and then started the depressing slide. I saw her in the West End looking sad - rigging out of her, bullworks cut off at the deck, everything out of her. Her ending took a while and one lone Grenadian shipwright trying to bring her back.
I have long ago left Tortola and the tropics but fondly remember ROMANCE, the old days in the Caribbean and later following the K's tracks across the Pacific in smaller yachts. Recently I spent time on PICTON CASTLE in the South Pacific.
Now I live on the coast of California, up next to Oregon. I can hear the bell bouys and the fog horns and the barking seals and get the urge to go to sea again. Recently crossed the North Pacific on a 1000 foot container ship.
But I fondly remember the Kimberly's and the great pleasure to sail on ROMANCE.
Looking forward to more ROMANCE memories.
Bruce M. Cameron
647 Beverly Drive
Arcata, Ca 95521
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