“We are all seamen on the ship Earth”

Frank O Braynard by Chris Maynard for the NY Times Maritime historian, OpSail creator and South Street Seaport founder Frank O. Braynard has passed away at the age of 91.

While the modern day concept of tall ships events was first launched in Europe in 1956, Mr. Braynard brought the spectacle to US shores linking an event called Operation Sail to the World’s Fair in 1964. Celebrating our country’s rich maritime heritage as well as the international camaraderie and goodwill engendered by the young participating trainees, OpSail attracted the attention and endorsement of President John F. Kennedy, a sailing enthusiast himself.

Continue reading “We are all seamen on the ship Earth”

Mattapoisett Community Sailing Association (MattSail)

Billy Mee by Laura McLean from ST (08 27 07) I’ve had the pleasure to help a group of community volunteer leaders launch a new nonprofit in my hometown of Mattapoisett, MA. The Mattapoisett Community Sailing Association was founded to accomplish a number of worthwhile objectives.

The real catalyst for MattSail was the death of Billy Mee, a fixture on the Mattapoisett waterfront and friend of many. The organization’s first program was named the William E. Mee Youth Sailing Program in order to honor his legacy as an expert sailor who introduced a lot of area residents to the sport and his passion.

Continue reading Mattapoisett Community Sailing Association (MattSail)

5 reasons why Bay City, Michigan is a great maritime City

Bay City Tallship Celebration 2003

Bay City, Michigan is a great maritime city and here are my top 5 reasons why:

  1. Homeport of BaySail, a private non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes through engaging shipboard experiences aboard two schooners, the Appledore IV and Appledore V. Baysail programs include science education for K-12 school groups, overnight voyaging for youth and adults, public sails, charters, group tours, and port visits.
  2. Official Host Port of the American Sail Training Associations TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE Series three (3) times. (2001,2003 and 2006)
  3. Two time winner of the American Sail Training Association prestigious Port of the Year Award. (2001 and 2006)
  4. Host of the American Sail Training Association’s 2005 Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships and International Safety at Sea Forum.
  5. Recent announced plans for a Maritime Heritage Center. (Study gives thumbs up to maritime heritage center idea – Bay City Times – August 19, 2007)

According to a report in the August 21, 2007 Bay City Times (City clears way for maritime heritage center.)

The project is expected to include a combination of buildings that will support different functions such as a boat building and repair shop, blacksmith shop, rope-making facility, sail-making loft, gift shop, restaurant and host of other activities.

Continue reading 5 reasons why Bay City, Michigan is a great maritime City

Northeast Maritime Institute Dedicates Lemley Hall

06 05 07 NMI Lemley Hall ceremony 

While Norm Lemley is well known in some circles of the maritime industry, his influence and good works have impacted many, many more who may not recognize his name. Norm had a very successful 36 year career in the United States Coast Guard rising to the position of senior civilian officer and has probably influenced nearly every signifcant piece of domestic and international maritime safety legislation in the past 25 years. I had the great fortune of being introduced to Norm by Eric Dawicki, president of Northeast Maritime Institute and working with him as a board member of the American Sail Training Association. (See Norm’s ASTA bio).

Yesterday Norm’s friends and family were in attendance as Northeast Maritime Institute opened a new educational facility called Lemley Hall. NMI’s motto is “Honor the Mariner” which is really the hallmark of Norm’s life’s work. Congratulations to NMI on a spectacular new building and to Norm for the well deserved recognition!

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Follow Up Perspective – NC Maritime Museum

What Friends are for is a Point of View column in today’s The News & Observer written by David Dubuisson, a 17-year member of the Friends of the Maritime Museum and a member of its board of directors. (Previous posts here, here and here) (North Carolina Maritime Museum)

The column provides the Friends of the Maritime Museum perspective and highlights the challenges engendered in public private partnerships. 

Most importantly, it also demonstrates what a dedicated and passionate group of individuals can do to advance a cause in a community.  Building a strong cultural institution is a collaborative affair. It requires vision, commitment and hard work from diverse interests, all of which the Friends thankfully seem to have in spades. 

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Final Countdown to 1,000 Days at Sea

About 4 years ago my friend Rick Scarano introduced me to Reid Stowe. This Saturday, April 21st after many years of careful planning Reid will sail out of New York Harbor for an epic voyage of 1,000 days at sea.

Reid likens this adventure to space travel and I think that is entirely appropriate. He’s had a few similar trips aboard his schooner Anne although none of this duration. The press release states:

“…Stowe and Ahmad will have lived on the sea for a period longer than anyone has before: continually traveling in a high-impact, isolated environment while extending the limits of human endurance to promote a global message of inspiration, perseverance and human ecological self sustenance.”

For some interesting pictures and posts about schooner Anne check out one of my favorite blogs tugster: a waterblog. (here, here, here and here

Also be sure to check out the 1,000 Days at Sea website and blog.

I look forward to following their adventure and wish Reid and Soanya fair winds and following seas.

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Harvard Business Review – Sailing the Seas of Business

Back in January when we launched the Sea-Fever Consulting LLC website I wrote about the influences in choosing our name: 

We believe that the sea is a strong and effective metaphor for business. Both present an ever changing environment and those that don’t adjust can find themselves far off course or worse.

Today more than ever organizations need to find their“star to steer by.”  Sea-Fever will help you “navigate challenges” and “discover opportunities.”

It was exciting to read the From the Editor column in the March 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Editor and managing director Thomas A. Stewart opens the issue by writing:  

“It’s more complicated than you think.” That could almost be our motto. Most business situations, the kind that come to the attention of the senior decision makers you are, require that leaders get a couple of big things right: the destination, so people know where they’re going, and a pole-star, so they don’t get lost. But the voyage itself is sure to be anything but clear sailing. Success comes to those who read and react to the unobvious but important complications of wind and current, who tack tirelessly in the face of adversity, who exploit every puff in the doldrums, who seize the chance for a long run downwind.

Sounds good to us!

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Transcendent Leadership

Michael Useem, Wharton professor and author of The Go Point (see review) participated in the recent World Economic Forum and reported about the experience over on The Huffington Post yesterday. The World Economic Forum: A Call to Exercise Global Leadership, Not Just Self Interest. Useem wrote:

…the event also served to define and reinforce a shared culture among participants. Central to that culture is an emphasis on transcendent leadership — the idea that standing above all other values is the ideal of a joint commitment to bettering the planet.

Business leaders, the British prime minister (Tony Blair) suggested, must therefore move beyond “corporate social responsibility” to embrace a “strategic engagement with the moral imperatives of the era.”

Powerful and ambitious words are what we should expect from our leaders; however, several recognized that they will ring hollow if not converted into action.

E. Neville Isdell, CEO of Coca-Cola and co-chair of the Forum, warned that the outside world sometimes viewed Davos as “the epicenter of ego” — and that the calling was now for all participants to make it, instead, “the epicenter of commitment.” James J. Schiro, CEO of Zurich Financial Services and another co-chair of the Forum, followed with a call to action. “I’ve been coming here for 15 years, and what’s evident is the rise of a focus on leadership and change.” Consequently, “I would ask everybody, when you return home, to exercise your leadership.”

Leadership is about making possible what was once perceived impossible. Transcendent leadership presents a vision of optimism, hope and a better world for all.  Does transcendent leadership represent what would be Collins’ Level 6? 

Only time will tell whether or not these world leaders who meet in Davos can set aside their provincial mindsets and make a collective difference in solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

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Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in recognition of the holiday last night I reread his Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963). I am sure that I must have read it previously in a highschool or college civics course but I more recently became re-acquainted with it when I participated in Aspen Institute’s Executive Seminar last May. If you have not read it or need a refresher like me, you can find online and downloadable versions here.

I believe that King’s letter is an amazing work for many reasons with one of the most important being that it effectively frames the difficult conversation. This is no small feat. Sitting in a jail cell presents a limited range of options for leadership but King quickly responds to the opportunity created by the Alabama clergymen’s public statement (April 12, 1963) directed at him regarding the nonviolent demonstrations taking place in their community. It is a very powerful piece of writing and worth the time it takes to read closely. Continue reading Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.