The Cannon?

Cannon Inquiry continued, from 1st response:

6/30/17
From Dan Moreland… “Clyde - Pretty sure it was not the ROMANCE”

Tony Probst wrote:
"I just got goosebumps when I saw the photo. I have seen and touched that cannon around 1968-70. I was invited onboard the Romance for what I believe was called Pirates Day in St Thomas where a bunch of yachts dressed up as pirate ships and had fun for a day or two. This was a single cannon that was in a wooden cart that was used as a signaling gun. It was fired a few times during the day with no shot of course and once or twice paper was placed in it, I know this because I was given the honor of lighting the fuse once with the paper loaded in it and I remember the paper coming out in flames. I do not know the back story of the cannon, I was about 10 to 11 years old at the time. I wanted to say I am 99% positive this is the cannon but the wording Romance is burned into my memory, I am 100% positive this is the cannon. Hope this helps".

7/1/17
Hi Tony and others:
Walt Haney here. Sailed on Romance 1966 and 1967. I do recall the cannon. Will try to dig out pic of it.
Cheers, Walt

I sailed as a tourist on the Romance in the BVI in 1968 (or 1969, not quite sure) Adrian Loughborough was the mate. I never saw a cannon.
Arthur Topilow

7/2/17
I sailed on Romance on one of their '8 day adventure cruise' in the Virgin Islands as a tourist in June or July '75, and I don't remember a cannon on board then. I was on their '75-'77 circumnavigation and there definitely was no cannon on board. n Summer '82 I was 'shanghaied' off the dock at Yacht Haven, St. Thomas, by Skipper when they were desperate for crew for a 'girl scouts' charter trip. (The owner of the yacht I was crewing on gave me permission for a couple weeks off).There was no cannon on board then, either. Cheers!
Bob Wallace

7/3/17
Never heard Skipper tell stories of a cannon on board, and it wasn’t on the ship while I was. That doesn’t prove anything, except that I have no info to add.
Be well Marineros!
Bert Rogers

Hi Tony. I have no recollection of any cannon aboard the Romance during my days aboard in the mid 80s. And Skipper and Mrs K. had me in every nook and cranny of the awful awful looking for stuff.
Michael Jehle

7/4/17
Hello Marineros,
Jeroen Gerritsen here (aka “Dutch”), sailed on Romance in the Virgin Islands 1969-1970. I never saw the cannon, but I do remember a story Skipper told:
Whenever they encountered a charter yacht sailed by a particular friend of theirs (I don’t remember any names) both ships would haul out their signal cannons to play pirates and blaze away at each other (It may have been part of the celebrations that Tony Probst recalled, but I do remember Skipper said it was one particular boat and skipper they always “attacked”). Anyway, the skipper of the other boat dressed up for the part, and when they passed each other Skipper shot the gun. The other captain went down behind the bulwark and everyone cheered the realistic action….until he got up with real blood all over his face! Turns out he had been hit by the wadding of the blank charge. Fortunately, he had no serious or permanent injury, but it gave everyone a good scare. Skipper said they never shot the gun again after that.

7/5/17
Tony, I never saw the cannon during my time aboard.
Regards,
Andrew Leyzack (1985-86)

Well… it’s always good to learn the facts from Skipper.
Nonetheless, I relished the obviously embellished version of the cannon / paper wadding story that was relayed to me... the version in which a Romance crew member was hit in the forehead by said wadding from said saluting ship’s cannon, knocking him out of the rigging, yelling out “ahhhh” as he fell to the deck. Everyone thought he was faking it, cheering his stunt. Skipper of course poured the crew member and himself a cup of rum, when he realized the fall was real.
I wonder if there are any other versions out there!
Clyde Sanadi ’73

Clyde,
That's the version of the cannon story I remember, too. No cannon on board for our trip. South Pacific trip '71-72'
Lynn Bouck

This pretty close to the story I recall as well. I was told that he battle took place sailing down wind in Sir Francis Drake Channel off Roadtown and the other vessel was a dutch steel cutter with leeboards called ALICANTE I think. Never used a cannon in my time (’73-’77)
Dan Moreland

With apologies to Lynn, I think we did have a cannon, one of the mini jobs, maybe 12 inches long, mounted to a wooden stand. Don't remember if we used it.
Jeanne Shaub, 71-72 south Pacific

8/16/17
I was on Romance in 72-73 and eventually relieved Ace Goldberg as mate when he went home. All the crew but me were from I believe Beloit college where they served for a few months aboard for college credits. Later, Clark Voss came aboard shortly prior to my departure to join the Coast Guard and serve as a Bosun for 3 years on the USCGC Barque Eagle. I remember Guy Herman, Doug?, and a brilliant but awkward shipmate named I believe Barney Goldblatt. Barney came aboard with at least 3 pairs of glasses as his vision was very poor. I don't remember dates well and who else exactly was aboard at the time, but I recall we would pass the Queen of Sheba close aboard at times when we saw her and they would fire their cannon at us. Barney was just on the rail and was about to climb higher onto the ratlines when the Queen of Sheba fired off her broadside. He fell to the deck and bedlam ensued as Skipper ran forward to check on Barney and Gloria took the helm. We were all busy handling sail and maneuvering the ship and I am not sure if their wad hit him in the forehead, or just his clumsiness in climbing caused him to fall from the rail and faceplant on the deck. The results as I remember, was that he had 2 shiners, broken glasses and Skipper was concerned enough to consider taking him to Roadtown. I believe we probably had a small cannon aft that Skipper may have used from time to time as we did rendezvous with Queen of Sheba a few times for their "broadsides" as both ship's passengers loved the show. Because we always seemed so busy handling sail during those times, seldom aft as Skipper and Gloria would handle the main, I cannot swear we had a small cannon, but it would make sense that we did.
Scott Beard

I was aboard when the mishap happened. We were off Road Town, Tortola and having a mock battle with Rhanhild (sp) an old fashioned cutter. She had a full size signal canon, unlike the little replica aboard the Romance (shot gun shells were her ammo). As we maneuvered close to Rhanhild, she fired upon us and due to over wadding her full size canon, one of our crew members was hit in the head by wadded paper right between the eyes. The 'battle' was instantly over and we 'raced' to Road Town and the help of a local doctor. One of the guests (a girl) who had taken a liking to our decky helped him recover aboard. Both his eye were blackened and closed for a few days. Nothing more came of it (in the 'old' days lawsuits weren't so prevalent). When he received the blow, he was bowled across the deck! He recovered and that was the end of 'mock' battles. I was there.
Adrian Loughborough

Some great stories here. Thank you for sharing.

This wraps up the Marinero saga of the cannon.

In 2004 I received the following email:
Hi, my name is Robbin Shepherd. I am related to the Capt. Duncan who sailed the Brig "Romance" and claimed the Island of Navassa for the US. I have been searching endlessly for more information on this Ship. I have found nothing except two court documents for Navassa Island along with several sites for Navassa Island that only mention the ship name and a bit on my Capt. Duncan. I would like to ask you if you might have any idea where I might find more on this brig. Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance. Robbin Shepherd.

If anyone can help, let me know and I'll forward the information to Robbin.

Back to the Top Back to the Brigantine Romance