By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,366)
She’s stunning! She’s sleek and fast! The interior sparkles like a gem because she is a gem! She’s brand new having been launched last August in Panama City, Florida, where she was built. And she arrived just after 5:00 pm this afternoon in Portland Harbor to participate in the Tall Ships Parade tomorrow afternoon. This Columbia is named for a classic Gloucester, MA. fishing boat – known for her seaworthiness and speed – backed into her dock space at 58 Fore Street so she will be ready to join the Tall Ships event expected to attract many thousands from all over the country. For those gathered at Ft. Allen Park to watch her arrival, it was an awesome preview of what is to come over the next few days here on the Portland waterfront.
More importantly, Columbia is the life long dream of .Eastern Shipbuilding Group. president, Brian D’Tserna, Panama City, Fl. As a commercial fisherman, D’Tserna, 72, turned his skills into boatbuilding when he
founded this Panama City boatyard. His yard has built many hundreds of fishing boats including the ill-fated Andrea Gale. Of late, the yard has begun building off-shore supply boats – known as OSV, according to Captain Joyner.
The ultimate in sailing pleasure, the interior is crafted of maple, mahogany. teak and other woods from the Rain Forest. Columbia sleeps twenty-six (26) people comfortably. Each of the four (4) guest cabins that can sleep three (3) passengers, has ‘en suite’ – fully equipped bathrooms. A guest does not need to leave his cabin to use the head. All cabins have a television mounted on a wall. Chef Barbara Stevens used to own a restaurant in Panama City, FL. and is an experienced galley chef in her own right. She prepares lunch and dinner every day for the crew and most often breakfast as well. Throughout the Columbia are hand-carved stars; seventy-one (71) of them in fact because the owner likes them. Columbia is 141 ft. long at the waterline and 175. from bow sprit to the end of the boom.
Laundry and keeping the crew and owner and his guests in clean clothes occupies a lot of the Captain’s wife, Ruth, time. She does between 8 – 10 loads of laundry every day because cleanliness is so crucial on a yacht. She is also responsible for cleaning and serving meals to the owner and his guests when on board. However, so far he hasn’t spent a lot of time on board because even at 72 years of age, the owner is still very involved in his shipbuilding business in Panama City.
The crew currently is evenly split between men and woman said Captain Joyner. Men are better at responsibilities including strength such as raising sails and engine work. Women are better at “everything else” said the proud Captain grinning. Heather Slivko-Bathurst is the bosun in the crew. Her responsibility is the yacht’s rigging high above the deck.. Every time the yacht tacks (changes direction) while under sail, she has to climb the mast to reset the topsails. That can be six (6) times a day or more depending on the weather conditions.
“We are supposed to be the last in the Tall Ships Parade tomorrow,” said the amiable Captain Joyner, who graciously hosted mhn.com during a more than hour tour of this breathtaking yacht. “But I doubt we’ll stay back there,” he said referring to the well-known speed of the Columbia.