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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
More Yankee
The letter was never written. In my heart I knew my parents would never let me go. It was a few years later that the Brigantine "Yankee" was sold and the Johnsons set about building a smaller Yankee which could cruise the canals of Europe.

The new owner of the "Yankee" continued the concept of circumnavigations with a college aged crew who paid for passage. Tragedy followed in this pursuit. One crewmember vanished in April of 1964 while hiking in the Galapagos Islands.

( This is link to letter from Derek Lumbers, the skipper, and statement of Marsha Hunt as to the disappearance of Saydee Reiser on Isla Floreana, in the Galapagos Ids. April 15, 1964.) Lumbers' letter is when he was captain of the brigantine Yankee . The subsequent voyage across the South Pacific ended in disaster on the infamous Beverage Reef off the island of Rarotonga, part of the Cook Islands.

It must be noted that in 1964, all navigation was done with a sextant, chronometer, and compass. The coral reefs in Polynesia are tricky and difficult to transverse even with modern aids like GPS. Factor in the treachery of unpredictable weather and the frailties of human nature and you have the recipe for disaster as in the foundering of my heart's desire, the "Yankee", on the very dangerous Beverage Reef. The crew was rescued and taken to Rarotonga, but the hull of the "Yankee" remained on the reef. I do not know of any salvage attempts.

Derek Lumbers apparently took up with a Cook Island woman, and no more about him has been learned after many inquiries from his relatives.

I will get on with Easter Island soon.

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