In mid-September Dodge Morgan, the American sailor who once held the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation, died. Bruce Schwab, another American solo circumnavigator, recently posted these words on his blog about he remembered Morgan.
“Last week Dodge Morgan, one of the greatest figures in American ocean sailing passed away from cancer. There is more history about him than I could possibly fit into this email. However to start with here is a story that ran on the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/18/sports/18morgan.html
“From my own perspective, here are a few thoughts…
“A great character, storyteller, writer, sailor, humorist, speaker, adventurer, philanthropist…
“Dodge was, and will always be, a Giant in many ways. In my world there is no greater or more influential figure. Obviously he was a huge inspiration to solo sailors. I am incredibly proud to have had him as a supporter, and to have had him on the OceanPlanet Foundation Board of Directors.
“At the Newport boat show on Thursday I ran into several people who knew of his passing and we shared some short stories…such stories about Dodge could fill a library.
“He enjoyed making fun of himself in his writings, which greatly impressed me for a man of such obvious intelligence and ability. He had a great sense of humor and successfully put it to good use all of his life.
“Last year I went to his “Bang and Go Back Regatta”; a fun low-key event at Dodge’s Island home. There were various boats entered in the “race” which was mainly an out and back tour of the beautiful bay…I resisted the invites to crew on several boats, and instead took a rowboat that Dodge offered up for me to use. I just rowed around and watched the “race” for fun. Later, at the subsequent “awards” presentation (where Dodge was in fine form) he presented me with a drinking flask engraved with “09 Snow Island Regatta, Worst Finish”. He knew that I don’t drink much and am usually a rather competitive guy…so he thought it was hilarious.
“At the 2004 relaunching of OceanPlanet in Portland, Maine Dodge spoke along with Maine Governor Baldacci and Phin Sprague of Portland Yacht Services. Dodge did his usual deceptively rambling speech (the guy was a great actor). Then, in front of the crowd and the Gov. he turned to me and loudly proclaimed: “Bruce, winning isn’t everything…WANTING to is.” Great words for anyone.
“Even though I’m proud to have finished the Vendee Globe race, that is nothing compared to what Dodge did… Building a new boat on his own nickel, he crushed the existing record of 292 days down to 150. He successfully built businesses and a great family; lived the life he wanted where he wanted and had a great time doing it. I can’t think of a better example what an American, or simply any human, could be.
“Thank you Dodge, for setting such a fine example.”