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George Bush and the Line Behind the ‘Mayflower’

Rob Moore captured this shot of the Mayflower replica in Plymouth, MA.
© 2023 Rob

Next time you see a line trailing in the water behind your boat or someone else’s, rather than criticize the sloppy seamanship, maybe remember the story of John Howland.

One dark and stormy night in the mid-Atlantic in 1620, he was washed overboard off the Mayflower. Yes, that Mayflower. Howland managed to grab a rope that was trailing in the water, and was eventually pulled back aboard. He went on to have quite a life in America, working as Plymouth Colony Governor John Carver’s executive assistant, marrying, and eventually fathering 10 children — all of whom survived to adulthood. And through them, possibly millions of descendants. Without that rope, none of them would have been here, including George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Alec Baldwin, or any of his actor brothers.

The Mayflower did not have PLBs, an MOB plan, an EPIRB, DSC, PFDs or practice in the Quick Stop man-overboard maneuver. It was a different world.


1 Comment

  1. Paul Brogger 1 year ago

    For the most part, warning another skipper of a trailing line is not “criticism” — it arises out of concern that a presumably unintentional oversight might result in a much worse situation: a line wrapped around a propeller.
    (Calling attention to fenders left over the side might be construed as criticism, not so a trailing-line warning.)

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