Sloop Clearwater

Ben WhitcombBenjamin B. Whitcomb III, known fondly as Benji, died after a long illness on April 23, 2021. He was 72 years old. Benji came up through the ranks in the early days of the schooner Harvey Gamage, becoming skipper of that vessel. He was a consummate sail handler, often sailing Gamage off the hook in crowded Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas. Backing the big main sail, he’d spin off the hook handling Gamage as if it were a dinghy. Whitcomb was a calm, resolute, even-tempered, soft-spoken mentor to a generation of schooner sailors who learned by watching him at work. He met his wife, Lisa, aboard and together they raised two daughters, Rose and Maria. Later in his career he became relief skipper of the North River sloop Clearwater for the 1994 season. Benji settled in the Kingston area and became a sought-after master carpenter and home builder.


By Harry Hungate