I suppose the best place to start is in the beginning.
In 1883 in Hamburg, Germany, a 2-masted pilot schooner was christened Lotsenschoner No.5.
And here’s where I punt to the SF Chronicle for a summary of the next Century or so of the boat’s life:
So Harold Sommer is my cousin. Third cousin, I believe, on my Mother’s side, on her father’s side. My middle name is Sommer. He passed away in 2010 and the SF Chronicle has a great obituary on him with more details about his pivotal role in the amazing story of this ship. When I was a kid and we were driving through San Francisco, my parents and I got to take a tour of the ship during the renovation process. I got to use the facilities and she was a gorgeous vessel, even in a state of resurrection. We didn’t get to sail on her but we did get to walk around as she was moored in the marina, and Harold was our guide. Our extended family is pretty big and he was not the sort of cousin that my mom grew up seeing at the holidays necessarily, but it was still neat.
Fast forward a bit and in 1995, the Smithsonian recognizes Harold Sommer’s restoration work as “the most significant vessel restoration done by a private individual in the United States.”
And on that website are a bunch of videos in German with no subtitles that I’m dying to be able to understand.
I’m going to write to them and see if they have English versions, or could make some, but being the impatient geek that I am, are there any bilingual Dopers out there who might be willing to dub them or suggest (cheap) ways for me to get them translated/transcribed/dubbed?
Great story and all -seriously. I wish I could help with German translation, sorry.
I am commenting on the youtube linked video in the SF Chronicle link, fwiw. Really enjoyed watching that! Seeing the enjoyment those two youngsters were having and on such a unique ‘vacation’, too, is gonna make me find the book mentioned to learn even more of those 120-ish days of theirs
I am envious that I never had a chance to climb in the rigging of such an awesome vessel. Again, hope you get the translations you seek sooner than later.
There are a bunch of other videos in German on this youtube channel:
If only they were in Spanish, I’d at least be able to get a gist of what they’re saying. Young ‘Commodore’ Warwick visited the ship once it was back in Hamburg, so his blurbs about knocking around the decks as a kid are in English at least.
No love from my new German pen-pals yet. But I found some more footage on their Youtube page of my cousin that is English and can at least be heard over the German voice-over. Apparently he went up to Seattle to say goodbye before she got loaded on the barge that took her back to Hamburg.