Thursday, June 30, 2016

Introduction to BONUS FEATURES

BONUS FEATURES is a companion link to PHOENIX OF HIROSHIMA and opens with pictures of and stories about items we had on the Phoenix, including a few articles published about the Phoenix as our family sailed around the world (1954-58). All the posts in 2016 are Phoenix-related. 

(I have reversed posted order to make them chronological if read from top to bottom, so read down through June, 2016 first, then read down through May.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

PHOENIX MEMORABILIA: Inflatable world globe

Jerry inflates plastic globe marked with our route around the world. The oil painting behind him is of me at six-ish (before we left Ohio for Japan, anyway).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


     This is the official Phoenix chronometer. Skipper gave it to me after (or for?) my first wedding.
     On the boat, it had just looked like an old box. My husband, pleased with its potential, went to some trouble to polish it, restoring it to its original lustre and beauty. I was amazed at the transformation.
     When Skipper saw it, however, he was disgusted. It had probably not looked that sleek when he bought it (at Army surplus!) and years of sun and salt water had only made it more weather-beaten. Now, he humphed, it was "sissy." It had lost all its rugged uniqueness as something that had endured the Phoenix circumnavigation.
     But I cherish it, both for its history and for its workmanship. The clock face is set in gimbals. You can lift one lid that allows you to read the time while the clock is still protected by glass. Another, lower lid enables you to get at the clock to set it.
     In the picture below (which in the more somber lighting makes the chronometer look closer to what I remember it looking like on the boat), Jerry is tipping the clock face forward for you. 

Monday, June 27, 2016


     Neither Ted nor I know what happened to the sextant he and Skipper used during the voyage around the world. In a documentary, Voyage of the Phoenix, made by William Heick for Canadian Broadcasting in 1967, Skipper was using what I'm sure was the same sextant on the way to North Vietnam, long after our trip around the world.
     Here's Ted taking readings.

     But we don't know where it is now.
Note Mi-ke in Skipper's lap.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

PHOENIX MEMORABILIA: Parallel calipers

     See that light-colored stick thing on the lower right hand corner of the desk? Dad and Ted would walk this instrument across the charts to find our position. (Once when they didn't have the right chart, our position was halfway up Mt. Fuji.)
     I want to call the thing "calipers" or parallel bars but I know that can't be right. It's for making parallel lines.

I think the one in this picture is the one we still have. (See below.)

     Here's Skipper using a similar one at the desk in his cabin. I assume they used several over the years. They are probably pretty cheap.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


     This is a terrible picture of the compass. All it shows is its location in the cockpit, aft of mizzen mast, with Skipper's foot supporting our original cat Mi-ke's paws and Skipper's hand holding the tiller. On the bright side, however, it is a very good picture of Mi-ke.

Friday, June 24, 2016


     This seems to be the only shot we have of the tiller. I'm straddling it because it's a calm day (and I'm messing around) but in storms it could kick so hard, even the men couldn't hold it, so Skipper designed a rope pulley system. They'd stand with the tiller at one hip and grip the ropes to each side of it.
     Wait, I found another picture of it:
     I think we presented the rudder (although it was broken) to Kompira-san, the god of the sea, when we got back to Japan. We'd visited his shrine just before we left. Of course I don't believe he's the one who got us safely around the world--I don't think anyone in our family really believed that--but, like having the Shinto priest at our launching, it was "the thing one did" in that culture.