Preview: STARLIGHT – The Profound Effect A Boat Can Have

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Every once in a while a boat arrives in a harbor and everyone ashore stops, turns, and stares.  That’s a hard thing to achieve at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival when a couple hundred beautiful boats are already right there…

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48 Responses So Far to “STARLIGHT – The Profound Effect A Boat Can Have

  • Avatar

    Philippe Guillemin says:

    Great story. Great interview. Its the boat…it’s the sailor

  • David and Margaret Tew

    David and Margaret Tew says:

    I wish he could have gone into more about the German woman who went through the hurricane with him on STARLIGHT. I wonder how her life turned out afterwards, if he ever knew.

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    David Yeowart says:

    Well done Michael, she is a credit to you. such a beautiful boat.

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    Mark Barber says:

    This video is a testament to the power of an excellent interviewer, who in this case did a beautiful job in helping the subject reveal his heart; and through witnessing that unveiling, touched my own.

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    John Swansey says:

    I’ve just watched this for the second time. Starlight is beyond perfection. From every angle she is achingly beautiful. From the sassy spoon bow back to the open transom, every spot of paint, every line, every bit of patinaed brightwork, is perfect. But no detail is as perfect as the whole. I immediately recognized the name of Hervey Garret Smith, as his Marlinspike Seamanship book is my favorite in a large collection of vintage sailing books. The illustrations are precise and beautiful as is the prose, with his unique sense of humor throughout. To see what was once his boat really brings it all together for me. And the story of her life with her loving two-time owner is epic and moving. Bravo!

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    Joel Schwalb says:

    I’ve been in 50′ seas on a 700′ container ship but still can’t imagine what Michael described as his experience in this, best ever, OCH video. I’ve watched all the OCH videos and this is definitely the best, the man and his boat.

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    John Swansey says:

    Truly fantastic video in every regard. I’m in awe of the man, the boat and the story. Best of the best of what OCH brings to us grateful viewers around the world. Bravo!

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    Brian Joas says:

    Above all else, this video was worth the cost of my subscription to OCH.

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    Christopher Waaler says:

    Fantastic video. Great inspiration for years more of sailing life. Thank you.

  • Doug Hermann

    Doug Hermann says:

    After watching and reflecting on this video ….. it inspires you to post something profound and touching,,,,,, All I can come up with is Wow!

    The boat, the construction, the resurrection, the life on the sea, the travels.I wonder if the German girl could be found and we could hear her story?

    Thank you Michael for sharing, thank you Eric for having a “profound effect” when you spotted Starlight.

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    Steve Kelleher says:

    Fabulous video. As I watched it I was reminded of Dick Proenneke living in a cabin in AK and fashioning most everything he owned. I think Michael is perhaps the maritime kindred spirit of Dick. Thank you for sharing.

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    Stu Fyfe says:

    Inspiring, wonderful video. One of the best on OCH

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    Dean Mendenhall says:

    Would love to hear about the thought process of changing rig from the knockabout sloop to the gaff cutter with addition of the bowsprit. Love those outside chain plates,and Also the huge hogging strake in way of the mast. That should add years to the structure.

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    Laurence Clement says:

    Like a few above, I am speechless.
    Thank you all for this video .. so well done.
    A lucky boat after tragedy.
    Hats off to all involved and a life well-lived.

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    dave nederhood says:

    Excellent interview and video of two priceless individuals, Starlight & Michael. Feel like I am over-burdened on my seemingly young, 1978 Bristol 35.5, what with chartplotter, AIS, gimbaled stove, icebox, and lifelines…loved the “…I turned right & headed for Hawaii because otherwise I would have just lied…” thank you. PS Inspired me to order all of HG Smith’s books…so I can get after it!

  • Mark Shaw

    Mark Shaw says:

    I am left speechless. Thanks so much for the stories.

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    Charles Neuman says:

    Wow, that’s deep. I’ll take his last line with me.

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    GEORGE Ireland says:

    What is marvelous story. I was enthralled by Michael’s attitude. I went to sea if in the Navy for four years and then to 31 years in the merchant Marine. I was also captain of the America that Rudy Schaeffer built for the movie Sail to glory. As Michael had a little tear in his eyes I did too. It was a very emotional video. Eric really does a magnificent interview. And to think he is also a great shipwright as well. Thank you so much for off-center Harbor. I am so glad that I became a member. It is so wonderful to realize there are so many people out there like me.

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    Alan Balchin says:

    I have had and still partly having a terrible run of major health problems. Now at 75 years of age
    Michael has now helped me to keep going and complete my Oonagh and to have her as the one to get onto the bigger boat – next to be built
    Such an inspiring interview
    Thanks from Australia.

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    DOUGLAS ST. ONGE says:

    I can not tell you how much that I enjoyed Michael’s story. I can only dream of having the experiences that seaman had.
    I have never owned a sailboat mostly because my wife was not into boating of any kind and we had six children and not enough money.
    My only shipping experience was on the Great Lakes iron ore carriers before I was married in the mid-fifties Listening to Michael talking about his experience in a great storm reminds me of my experiences in late November and December on Lake Superior. The long hulls and low draft of those ore boats would allow them to bend so much in a big storm that you could hardly see the aft end if you were on the bow end. The first year I sailed was on an ore carrier built in the early nineteen hundreds. I was part of the deck crew with quarters in the bow of the boat. In a big winter storm the only way you could get to the stern where the cook house was to attach yourself to a long cable that was attached from the bow structure to the stern of the boat. A loaded ore carrier in a big storm was so low in the water that the waves would wash over the deck. The hull and deck would be a floating iceberg because of the fresh, unsalted water. There were times we had to get out the steam hoses and carve the ice off the deck and hull The additional weight of the ice with the iron ore would make for a very dangerous condition. Only because of the fresh unsalted water on the Great Lakes were ore carriers allowed to have such a ling life. The second year that I sailed the ore carrier that I was on was built in the ninteen forties, bigger and better than the old ones. To get from the bow quarters to the stern, instead of a cable from the bow to the stern there were long tunnels under the deck on both sides of the ore carriers on top of large ballast tanks. Oval cutouts were made into the ribs of the ore boat for you to walk through. Walking through those tunnels in a big storm was something else because the steel hull bending so much would create a loud screaming noise. It sounded like the hull was tearing apart. My first name is Doug and both years that I sailed on the Great Lakes there was an older sailor named Doug also. He was one of the wheels men on our crew. We became good friends and he told me stories of his sailing days on the salt water oceans. He told me that he was never seasick in his life until he sailed on the Great Lakes. The storms on the Great Lakes are so different from storms on the ocean. Instead of the long distance between ocean waves and the shorter distance between the Great Lake waves, Twenty to thirty foot waves in the Great Lakes became battering rams. Iron ore carriers have bows that are very blunt compared to the sleek bows on ocean going ships. My quarters were in the bow of the boat and during a big storm we had safety belts to go around us in our bunks to keep us from being thrown out onto the steel floor. I am eighty six years old now and no longer have visions of sailing the oceans. My wife and I have a beautiful monument at our grave site and on my side of the monument I have a sailboat engraved on it. I hope that one day that I get to to the great beyond.
    Douglas St. Onge

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    ric bergstrom says:

    Amazing! The look in his eyes as he re-lives some of those moments as he tells the stories.

    That man has seen some things!

    I almost took the boat out yesterday solo as I was doing some spring clean up stuff…I mean she was ready to go…but alas…so much work alone…and docking and all the hassle.

    Now I’ve got regrets. I skipped a beautiful day on the water for what???

    Next time I am going….and who knows if I am coming back!!!

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    Julian Kuffler says:

    So nicely done video. Michael lives E B Whites’ suggestion to “Simplify simplify Simplify”. The rest he makes himself.
    Thanks, please continue.

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    Larry Cheek says:

    A superb video, maybe OCH’s best ever. Eric’s interviewing technique was perfect: Brief, simple, open-ended questions—and then just attentive silence, letting the man speak. Perfectly complementary editing, as well.

    A pretty nice boat, too!

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    James Thompson says:

    I’m 90 years old and coming off a bad patch healthwise, but still have a little yawl I can manage. This man and his boat and his story just astounds me! I have never had his range of experience with the sea but his inspiration is a huge and will keep me going a bit longer. He is simply a powerful inspiration. Thanks so damn much to him and OCH.

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    James Neiburger says:

    Inspiring to say the least! I think I’ll go out to the barn and work on the Stonehorse today! Thanks. J

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    Pierre DARDEL says:

    Mind blowing ! Thank you so much for sharing 🥰

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    David Green says:

    I nearly fell out of my chair when he said “I’ll be 80 next year.” To look at the man you could say he was 50-something. Wouldn’t I love to spend a day on the water with him and that fabulous vessel.

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    Rod McLaren says:

    Did he say he’s coming 80? I’m five years behind him and hope I have it as much together as he does when I get to that age, and I look forward to developing a connection with the boat I am building which holds even a fraction of that which Michael has with “Starlight”. Thank you, Michael. Thank you OCH.

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    Robert Kunzig says:

    Truely a lovely boat and soul to fill it. Second Rig, perfect look! Better performance?
    Oh I wish I was 40 and with money – I’d place a bid right now and wait till Michael said it was time. Congrats Michael and thank you OCH

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    Pat O'Neal says:

    What a Wonderful and Beautiful story and Yacht and Owner. It reminded me of when I was a young adult, Married with 5 children and a beautiful Yawl from Tampa Florida on delivery to Newport for the Bermuda Race was rolled 360 and dismasted. It was the first time I had ever read a story of a sailing yacht being rolled. All survived and the boat Debloom was rescued and towed and hauled in a yard in New Rochelle. Living near bye in Larchmont I went to look at her and almost bought her from the insurance co. I did not but probably made a Big mistake. Keep up the wonderful work with your Wonderful Videos Pat ONeal

  • Avatar

    Doug Day says:

    Well, talk about inspiring the next couple of months of sanding and varnishing! Thanks, Michael

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    Wes Faulkenberry Jr. says:

    @ 1:15 he mentions “Brian” . Would that have been Brion Toss, I wonder?

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      Glen Gullickson says:

      That would be Brian Lange, son of Cecil Lange, who built the Cape George sailboats.

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    Mark Riley says:

    “I just want to be happy it happened”, what a great quote and an awesome down to earth guy.
    We could all learn a lesson from Michael and his prospective on life and sailing…
    Hello from Australia Michael…

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      D John Chambers says:

      I totally agree, what a wonderful perspective on life, and inevitably, death.
      John from New Zealand.

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    Glen Gullickson says:

    My wife and I have known Michael for over fourty years and I had the pleasure of sailing Starlight home from Hilo to Washington State, with Michael. I can 100% guarantee that the Michael in this video is the Michael you get every day! He is the most sincere, honest and caring person in the world. It is our pleasure to count him as a friend. We love Michael like family.

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    Philip Myer says:

    Great video- a really salty character with his wonderful boat and story.

    • Avatar

      John Jacobsen says:

      And how about The Profound Effect an OCH Video can have? I think I’ll skip church today. No need.


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