The more things change the more they stay the same. Somehow we started rereading Yankee’s Wander World by Irving and Electa (Exy) Johnson. Published in 1949, it’s a classic, true story of sailing around the world by pioneering voyagers supported by the paying guests who joined their adventurous cruising life.
For this post-war voyage Irving and Exy Johnson wanted to find a North Sea pilot schooner. And it was Sterling Hayden who helped them find the Duhnen, the last schooner the Germans built before the war. After purchasing her, they took her to a boatyard in Brixham, England, to convert her to a brigantine. What caught our eye and reminded us of how things never change was this line: “In Brixham there was none of the regulations that we would have found in a big, modern shipyard.”
It’s funny how people 70 years ago felt a similar sense of oppressive oversight. It was surely far less restrictive than today.