What a wonderful surprise to find your web site dedicated to the Romance. You've done a fine job with it-- thank you for reminding me (and others) of the great, life-changing times we all shared on board.
I first joined the crew of Romance during a sabbatical from my sophomore year at college, in 1983. I remember arriving at the English pub on Tortola late one Saturday night to find that the ship had left that afternoon. Bewildered, penniless and unsure what to do next, I spent the night on the beach to be greeted in the morning by a vision that still remains vivid in my mind--the Romance sailing into Road Harbor under a full press of sail.
Being a tender and naive college kid, the first few weeks aboard were rough--I remember Skipper barely said a word to me except to chastise me for trying to grow my beard. Suddenly I realized that this was not going to be the balmy Caribbean cruise that I had anticipated. But, recovering from the shock, I worked hard to prove my worth and soon won the acceptance and respect of the K's and my mates--Mac, Angus and Phil. My time aboard Romance that year was an important turning point in my maturation and to this day I look back on that time and the people I worked alongside with great respect.
I returned to the Romance as mate in 1985 to work again with a great group of guys, Brian and Andrew. I have great memories from that time: Skipper making the gravy each evening in the galley, Mrs. K's fabulous meals ( and the look on passengers faces when they realized there were no napkins..); the swell and roll of the ship, sleeping under the stars; heaving the anchor and the pride we all took in setting sail quickly and efficiently; motoring into the English pub or Stanleys for a night of dancing and debauchery; Skipper's lessons in rigging, sail making, and ship handling; the pride in a job well done. There were many memories packed in those few short years and they have all stayed vividly with me.
I returned to the ship with Lisa Forecellini for a delivery trip from Antigua in 1987 and I remember as I left the ship to return to graduate school, watching her one last time as the Taxi drove over the hills of Tortola.
After my time aboard Romance, I worked 2 seasons aboard the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, made yacht delivery's down south from the east coast, and still race whenever I can in the Bermuda Race. If any of my mates from the Romance happen to stumble upon this site as I did, I would love to hear from you and to know what you're all up to.
Thanks again Tony for doing homage to the K's, a great ship and the people who served aboard her.
Michael A. Jehle
Director of Curatorial Affairs
New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake Hill
New Bedford, MA 02740
ph (508) 997-0046 ex.38
fax (508) 997-0018
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