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Ocean Planet Report
Newport, RI USA
August 4, 2002 

Heroes in Newport!


Yesterday was a big day for me here in Newport, mostly on a personal level, but possibly also for Ocean Planet; all week, while working diligently, two very different but powerful personalities were on my mind. 

Peter Blake: Right next to us is the huge “SeaMaster,” imposing not only for her size (110+ ft!) and awesome exploration capabilities, but also there is the almost palpable presence of the late Peter Blake. This man was such a legendary figure in the sailing world, and the boat so impressive, that we feel tiny and humbled being next to them. 

Bob Dylan: Yes, Robert Zimmerman himself played yesterday at the Newport Folk festival, 37 years after he was virtually booed off the stage when he “went electric.” Long sold out when I arrived in Newport, I was DYING to see the show. For a guitar player and general music nut like me this was a big deal.

Turns out that the stage for the Newport Folk festival is visible from the water, so HUNDREDS of boats jammed into the vicinity in a raucous scene of swimsuits, water balloons, and every kind of boat from lasers to ski boats, inflatables, surfboards(!), to priceless motor launches. I was lucky to grab a ride on a 37′ high speed tender to a huge motor yacht whose crew I had met in the yard. We gingerly wiggled our way as close as possible through the crowd and after several tries managed to get the anchor to grab with minimal scope.

I had brought my small “boat guitar” and played a few tunes to earn my “ride” until Mr. Dylan and his band hit the stage. “Zimmie” was up and down in his show, with inspired strong vocals on some songs and strangely (well, not strange for Bob) lost on others. We shared the binoculars and had a good time. A big bonus for me is that eventually a beautiful classic motor launch rafted alongside us that is owned by a very successful, local businessman who also has a big classic sailboat. I managed to get him in conversation and invited him to see Ocean Planet which he said he would do. This is the kind of lead and contact that hopefully will get us to the line…..cross your fingers. 

After returning to the yard, I called (team helper) Agnes and found she was aboard SeaMaster. We were luckily invited aboard by the skipper for dinner! Aboard the boat I was in awe of the legacy left by Mr. Blake. After dinner I brought out my little boat guitar and played for the small audience of the skipper, mate, Agnes, and most meaningful to me, the ghost of Peter Blake. The skipper told me that Blake was an accomplished pianist so I was inspired to do my best. Perhaps I was warmed up by playing earlier, but my fingers seemed to respond well and I even sang decently (rare for me). My audience was delighted and asked for several repeats and encores which I was gratified to provide.

Anyway, I hope I did well by Mr. Blake and good luck will come of it. Today it’s back to the boat, emails, and hoping that yesterday’s chance acquaintances come to visit….

Thanks for reading,


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