Preview: WANDER BIRD Rounds Cape Horn – 1937

October 20, 2013

Maynard Bray

See what it was like back in 1937 to beat around Cape Horn against the prevailing westerly winds known as the "roaring 40s" in the 85' German-built pilot schooner WANDER BIRD. With his young family and only a small crew Capt. Warwick Thompkins made the passage from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to San Francisco (by way of Europe) in 8 months, and besides taking these movies, wrote a couple of books about the experience: Fifty South to Fifty South (1938) and Two Sailors and Their Voyage Around Cape Horn (1939), both of which are available from Amazon.

WANDER BIRD gradually fell on hard times in the Bay area but was brought again to life by Capt. Harold Sommer, her subsequent long-time owner. After he and his devoted friends completed a massive restoration and got her sailing once more, Ben Mendlowitz captured her on film. Here are some of the photographs from that fine day.

The vessel is now back in Germany, shipped there for preservation, and given back her original name. ELBE #5.

Photos by: Benjamin Mendlowitz:

Schooner WANDER BIRD Photo by Ben Mendlowitz

WANDER BIRD in San Francisco Bay

Schooner WANDER BIRD Photo by Ben Mendlowitz

WANDER BIRD displays her original name ELBE 5 on her sail

Schooner WANDER BIRD Photo by Ben Mendlowitz

WANDER BIRD after Harold Sommer's restoration

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