|C. A. THAYER |
photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The author of the below essay, Gordon Jones, signed on as Ship's Carpenter and wrote of First Mate Dickerhoff from his observations on that trip.
"We're in tough shape––a dozen greenhorns booming along in the pitch black of a rainy, rainy night in a three-masted, ex-lumber schooner somewhere off the coast of northern CA. The 60-mile gale carried with it the worst rainstorm in 18 years. Our vessel was 62 years old––had spent the last few years on a beach up in Puget Sound as a 'pirate' ship, luring unsuspecting tourists aboard for a fee. No––she would never sail again.
Mate for this passage on the THAYER
But Dickerhoff had lived the scene before, in years past in other windjammers––MOSHULU, HENRIETTA, MELROSE, LOTTIE BENNETT, CAMANO, CENTENNIAL, LIZZIE VANCE, and ALERT. And those experiences were ingrained, were indeed, responsible for the crows feet at the eyes, the fearing respect for the sea, and its unpredictable moods and its tremendous forces. And they had tempered the man to value thoroughness and pride in one's work far above speedy but slipshod performances.
Yes, with 'smilin' Jack' in charge of he deck that night, we came through bruised, wet, and thoroughly exhausted. But we came through, for he showed us the way.
And then there were three other nights at sea, when the wind was fair and stars were out in a warm, clear sky. Our vessel almost sailed herself, the huge fore-and-after drawing quietly and powerfully, pushing us on toward San Francisco.