Adventurer Dodge Morgan Remembered at Waterfront Tribute; Had a Sense of Humor, Bruce Schwab

Hoyt D. Morgan, son of Dodge Morgan, in the Cabin of the American Promise

By Carol McCracken (Post # 861)

Family, friends and the curious gathered yesterday afternoon at Portland Yacht Services to remember the legendary Dodge Morgan who died September 14, 2010. Morgan was the first American to sail around the world, non-stop and solo. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the start of that feat.

One of the highpoints of the tribute was the showing of a 40-minute film of that voyage taken from film from the on-board cameras – three above deck and three below. It is available on DVD. The voyage started from Bermuda and ended in Bermuda. Toward the end of the film as Morgan approached Bermuda, his family and well-wishers, he asked the camera what should he do to prepare for his landing? Take a shower and put on clean clothes he told the camera. He did. The circumnavigation was completed in 150 days, another record.

During the showing of the film, mhn.com had the pleasure of visiting with Morgan’s son, Hoyt on board the 60 ft. cutter, American Promise, on which his father made his famous voyage in 1986. The famous “AP” was docked at “PYS” so that following the tribute, those who wanted could go aboard her. Hoyt recalled how he was “pissed off” at his father for taking off on this trip. “I was 12 years old at the time. It was sad not to have your dad around,” recalled Hoyt, 37. “Dad never failed at anything.” American Promise was donated to the US Naval Academy where she was used as a training vessel. For that her interior had to be totally redesigned to accommodate a crew than one, solo sailor. Hoyt commented on how very different the interior was from the way it was for his father. The younger Morgan lives in New York City.

Back at the tribute at PYS, Bruce Schwab who sailed solo in the Vendee Glob aboard his Ocean Planet back in 2004 leaving from PYS, said when he was about to embark on his own adventure Morgan told him: “Winning isn’t everything. Wanting to is.” Schwab also said “that his solo sail was not his biggest accomplishment. It’s appreciating your own faults and taking one day at a time. It prepares you for the rest of life.” Morgan also told Schwab that it “is hard to find something in life that isn’t funny.”

Hill resident, Norm Nelson, who attended the tribute with his wife Sally, said: “I wanted to learn more about him.” Both are former sailors.

editor’s note: The Rozalia Project now owns American Promise and is dedicated to cleaning debris from the ocean and marking derelict lobseter traps for collection by the proper authorities. For more, please visit www.rozaliaproject.org