Tag Archives: Al Bezanson

The 30th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival and Parade of Sails is Just Around the Corner!

In checking the Schooner Festival schedule for friends who are visiting during that time, I realized the event will be here very soon. Sponsored by Maritime Gloucester, tickets aboard Gloucester’s gorgeous hometown schooners for the Parade of Sails can be purchased by clicking these links: Schooner Thomas E. Lannon and Schooners Ardelle and Roseway. Click here for special viewing opportunities at the Beauport Sleeper McCann Museum.

Al Bezanson provided the names of the schooners, in order of appearance:

Sugar Babe
Thomas E Lannon
Adirondack III
Tillicum I
Lewis H Story
Liberty Clipper
Light Reign
American Eagle
Morning Light
Green Dragon

Thanks Al!

Originally posted on Good Morning Gloucester

First sighting of REDBIRD

Hi Joey ___

REDBIRD’s long migration from San Francisco via Portsmouth, VA is now complete.  She is now a year-round resident of Cape Ann.  This beautiful schooner had been kept in the builder’s family until Daisy Nell and Captain Stan brought her to town for the first time last Saturday.


Al Bezanson


Redbird arrives in Gloucester

A Selfie of Friendship and of Hope

My friend Al Bezanson visited me at Rehab, where I made my first "selfie." Between us, on his cell phone, is Al's bride Phyllis in her 20's. Al was in Gloucester to work on his schooner Green Dragon for spring launching. It's always a pleasure to see Al and Phyllis in the gallery, and at their summer digs on Rocky Neck over a bottle of rum. I made a promise to myself to sail the Green Dragon this summer, and take another selfie of us at the wheel.

My friend Al Bezanson visited me at Rehab, where I made my first “selfie.” Between us, on his cell phone, is Al’s bride Phyllis in her 20’s. Al was in Gloucester to work on his schooner Green Dragon for spring launching. It’s always a pleasure to see Al and Phyllis in the gallery, and at their summer digs on Rocky Neck over a bottle of rum. I made a promise to myself to sail the Green Dragon this summer, and take another selfie of us at the wheel.

Al Bezanson Asks- Has GMG hitched its wagon to the wrong bird?

Richard J. King is senior lecturer in literature of the sea with the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport.  In 2004 he published an article in the Log of Mystic Seaport (Vol 55), “The Most Valuable Bird in the World.”  (Domestic birds excluded.)  I was quite astounded when I read it at the time, and have just now enjoyed his new book, published by the University of New Hampshire Press, “The Devil’s Cormorant.”

With all due respect to the beautiful GMG icon, one has to admit its eating habits don’t set a great example for a blog that so often features fine food.  But the cormorant ___ ahh ___ only the freshest fish will do.


Overview from the publisher of The Devil’s Cormorant

Behold the cormorant: silent, still, cruciform, and brooding; flashing, soaring, quick as a snake. Evolution has crafted the only creature on Earth that can migrate the length of a continent, dive and hunt deep underwater, perch comfortably on a branch or a wire, walk on land, climb up cliff faces, feed on thousands of different species, and live beside both fresh and salt water in a vast global range of temperatures and altitudes, often in close proximity to man. Long a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and evil, the cormorant has led a troubled existence in human history, myth, and literature. The birds have been prized as a source of mineral wealth in Peru, hunted to extinction in the Arctic, trained by the Japanese to catch fish, demonized by Milton in Paradise Lost, and reviled, despised, and exterminated by sport and commercial fishermen from Israel to Indianapolis, Toronto to Tierra del Fuego. In The Devil’s Cormorant, Richard King takes us back in time and around the world to show us the history, nature, ecology, and economy of the world’s most misunderstood waterfowl.

Fish on Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

This week we visit with Al Bezanson who recalls his days working at Gorton’s Seafoods in Gloucester. As an engineer he worked on ways to improve their products, specifically the fish cakes. Al moors his schooner Green Dragon in Smith Cove and is enjoying his summer stay at Rocky Neck’s Accommodations, where we shot this video.





(Sorry about the poor sound quality in parts of this video. Still scaling the learning curve.)

Photos © Kathy Chapman 2013

Video © Marty Luster 2013

Flake yard photos courtesy Bodin Historic Photos.
© Fredrik D. Bodin 2013


You Do Realize YOU Can Participate In The Schooner Race Right? Get Your Ticket To Race On A Schooner

The Gloucester Schooner Festival is almost upon us.  There is still time to book a ticket to ride on a schooner in the race September 1st.    The course is a beam reach, three times around, affording close-up views of the participants coming and going.  A splendid way to spend a day you will long remember.  Twenty-three schooners have registered.

This is ROSEWAY in the 2006 race.  She was built in Essex in 1925, and is doing important work today with young people at sea.  Space on ROSEWAY and other schooners listed here can be arranged through Maritime Gloucester_______


Al Bezanson

Roseway at GSF 06-2

20 days to the Schooner Festival … Sign up for the race!

Here we Go- Al Bezanson and I Am Going To Beat You Into Submission Until You Signn Up And Take Part Of The 2013 Gloucester Schooner Festival!

Al Submits-

20 days to the Schooner Festival … Sign up for the race!

Sunday, September 1st is the date for the 29th Annual Gloucester Schooner Race.  There is plenty of space remaining for passengers in the race.  Maritime Gloucester will link you to a schooner or arrange for a ticket. 


This photo of AMERICAN EAGLE leading ALABAMA in the 2011 race came from Amy Beaudet on GREEN DRAGON.  The race course is set for beam reaching – optimum sailing for schooners.  About 20 schooners have signed up and as the race progresses you can expect to be in traffic the entire time with photo opportunities like this.

Al Bezanson

American Eagle and Alabama

Creature Quiz From Al Bezanson


The day after Kim Smith’s movie, just a couple blocks from the cinema, in the searing noonday sun, a squad of these were scurrying toward the east along the Rogers Street sidewalk behind Cape Ann Savings.  They were about two inches long.  The questions for your readers are, who were they, where might they have come from, where were they going, and why?

This was my first shot with this new lens.  There is a Sony E-Mount and a Micro Four Thirds version, $239.

Zooming down Rogers St


Al Bezanson

MBBS #2 Wicked Graylock Seacock From Al Bezanson


Another random photo from the Maine Boat Builders Show.  This caught my eye because I have battled a few corroded frozen seacocks in inaccessible places.  When the frozen seacock wins you may be floating dangerously.   

The Graylock Seacock System booth was manned by two young brothers from the Cranberry Isles.  I spent some time with them and this is what Seth Gray told me,  “The idea for the project came from my father, Ed Gray.  He had the idea for years but just didn’t know how to put it into action.  For my senior design class at Wentworth (in 2011) I chose to take his idea and make it practical.  Out of that senior project came our first design, which has evolved since then into the display at the show. Years and years of working on the water and working on systems aboard boats led us to the conclusion that our system needed to be both rugged and simple.”

Wicked Graylock Seacock

Check out their website and the installation in the Cranberry Isles Water Taxi.


Al Bezanson

FOB Al Bezanson Photos from the Norfolk Botanical Garden

Al Bezanson Photo

Hi Kim,

Went to Norfolk on the weekend and I was forbidden by family to hang out on the waterfront.  So…. I got these shots at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.   The dragonfly was in the wild but the butterfly was a captive in the Butterfly House.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Al Bezanson

Thanks for sharing Al!!


Nice Note from Al Bezanson

Tuesday night while setting up my projector at the Southborough Library for my pollinator garden lecture for the Southborough Open Land Foundation I needed a shim to balance the projector. To my surprise and delight, the gentleman sitting next to the projector handed me a GMG coaster from his pocket! He was none other than GMG’s Al Bezanson, there at the lecture, with his lovely wife Phyllis. Joey teases me so much about butterflies we thought he would get a laugh out of seeing a photo of the schooner expert at my lecture. Many thanks Al and Phyllis for coming and it was so great to meet you both!


Hi Kim

Thanks for coming.  Your talk was outstanding, and you had me enthralled with your knowledge of our natural surroundings.  It is always a treat to read your GMG comments on others’ sightings.  From now on I will be taking a much closer look at the details in Phyllis’ gardens.   I know something about birds but I am a butterfly novice.

Gloucester is one hour from Southborough if you hit it right.  Sorry you experienced the traffic nightmare.  That’s one reason Phyllis and I will be back on Rocky Neck this summer.  Fifty years ago we lived at 4 Wonson Street with a Tomato Hornworm the size of a small cucumber.

All the best,

Al and Phyllis Bezanson

ELSIE crew, 1921

Al Bezanson submits-

from verso:  "Elsie's crew, 1921 International Fishermen's Races."  photo: Cox Bros., Halifax N.S.
Gardner Lamson Collection

From the collections of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Elsie’s crew, 1921 International Fishermen’s Races (photo:  Cox Bros., Halifax, Nova Scotia)  Capt. Marty Welch.

Fred Buck has pitched in to help the Schooner Festival committee recruit entries and increase public awareness of the original International Fishermen’s Races.  This is one of several photographs of ELSIE the Cape Ann Museum is sharing for our use.

From A Race for Real Sailors   The first ELSIE – BLUENOSE race.

______ The combination of wind and too much sail proved to be more than the ELSIE could bear.  First to go was her jib topsail halyard.  As a crewman scampered out onto her bowsprit to re-reeve the halyard, the bow plunged deeply into the sea, burying the bowsprit to the third hank of her jib.  Moments later, the foremast snapped off at the cap and both jib topsail and staysail came down in a mess of wire stays and rigging.  Without missing a beat, the crew set about clearing up the wreckage.  The mate and a couple of fishermen headed out on the bowsprit to cut away the jib topsail that was now dragging under the forefoot.  “Down into the jumping sea went the bowsprit and the three sailors were plunged under five feet of water.  They cut away the sail and brought it in with the crew behind them hauling it inboard through the green-white smother.”  Those aloft worked frantically to secure the topmast, assorted wires, blocks and halyards.

Within six minutes the ELSIE, under forcefully shortened sail, appeared to be making better time than before.  Angus Walters reacted in the spirit of sportsmanship by immediately dousing his own jib topsail and clewing up his main topsail.  _______                               

Al Bezanson

A Race For Real Sailors

Al Bezanson submits-



How many folks can name the schooner sailing over City Hall and explain why she merits such a lofty presence?  It is a fascinating story – thoroughly researched here in Gloucester by a Canadian — Capt. Keith McLaren.   A Race for Real Sailors (2006), the Bluenose and the International Fishermen’s Cup, 1920-1938.  An America’s Cup yacht race had been cancelled in 1920 for weather conditions considered ‘normal’ for working fishing schooners, and this prompted the idea for the competition between the Gloucester and Lunenburg fleets with ‘honest to God boats.’  In the words of Joe Garland, Capt. McLaren’s book is “The definitive account of the fabled sailing rivalry between the fastest of the last fishing schooners of Canada and the States — and with photos to take your breath away.  What a read!”  The front jacket painting: Racing Schooners, circa 1921, by Dusan Kadlec, portrays Bluenose and Elsie racing.  Sailing proudly over City Hall is Elsie

At the Cape Ann Museum across the street there is an exquisite Elsie model built by Erik Ronnberg.   


In the acknowledgements the author makes special mention of help he received from Joe Garland and Dana Story, and credits Erik Ronnberg along with James Craig and Stephanie Buck at the Museum.  A Race for Real Sailors is available in the Museum’s gift shop.

A newly-launched Bluenose II will be making her first appearance in Gloucester on Labor Day weekend at the Schooner Festival.  Our good  friends from Nova Scotia have reached deep into their pockets to create a new masterpiece.  This would be a perfect time for people in our city to refresh their knowledge of Gloucester’s famed past in preparation for a grand welcome.

Al Bezanson

Power Nap From Al Bezanson

Stubby sez___

When you’ve been patrolling the wharf all night, standing daytime gate duty and greeting ARDELLE’S passengers you gotta catch forty winks when you can. Even in the blazing sunshine.   Especially when you’re 72 in human years.  Such is the life of a Maritime Gloucester Volunteer.  Not complaining, mind you.

As told to Al Bezanson

Power nap

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