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Old 03-14-2015, 12:34 AM   #1
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Scrapping the Calypso

French Boatyard Suggests Scrapping Jacques Cousteau’s ‘Calypso’ | | PassageMaker

This just seems wrong.
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What kind of boat is that?
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Old 03-14-2015, 04:34 AM   #2
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Didn't realize Calypso was so big. Cousteau's grandson was featured in Showboats International magazine last issue. I didn't realize there's been such an intense, long-running family battle over Jacque's dynasty.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:53 AM   #3
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I have fond memories of his programs, he was a charismatic documentary presenter.

It appears to be an unusual boat with wooden hull and riveted steel bulwarks; not sure what the superstructure is made from? reminds me a bit of the Onasis ' Christina' that was going to scrapped, until a super yacht chartering company bought it and did a multi million $ Rebuild.

A famous owner gives it provenance, but is it enough to save it?
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:25 AM   #4
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That is really quite sad, of all the ships that end up being saved by foundations and museums Calypso is a great candidate.

I remember sitting on the edge of my seat watching Cousteau and his "frogmen" explore the depths of the oceans wearing streamlined backpacks and zooming around in flying saucer shaped mini subs!

His narratives with his thick french accent only made the shows seem more exotic. I believe he is almost solely responsible for the sport of recreational diving and it's allure.. not to mention his part in invention the equipment. I know for a fact it was a large part of what has become one of my great passions to explore the underwater world.

I had the good fortune to have become acquainted with one of the Authors of a Cousteau biography who lives here in Port Townsend.. his personal accounts of Cousteau only made him sound more impressive.

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Old 03-14-2015, 11:47 AM   #5
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Before Cousteau died, when he was sourcing a replacement for Calypso. He was asked about preserving Calypso, making it an exhibit that one could tour through. He was opposed to this as he felt most would be disappointed by the austere interior. The ship was a symbol and a tool not to distract from the message. Would probably be more fitting to clean it and make it an artificial reef. Unfortunately wood vessels are poor choices for reefs.

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Old 03-14-2015, 01:39 PM   #6
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Too bad a place such as the Monterrey Bay Aquarium or Scripps Institute could not step in and help underwrite an effort to preserve her. Even as a land based exhibit if not a floating museum. This is the definition of an iconic boat.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:27 PM   #7
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Just because someone famous did very cool things with a 70+ year old wooden ship, that does not mean it should be preserved or restored. It's still just an old wooden ship with a high degree of decay. Probably not possible to restore. Most certainly not practical.

Here in Wilmington, there was a 19th century steam tug that was restored somewhat and put on the riverfront on blocks as a display. Eventually planks just started falling off of it. Those were repaired, more fell off, and finally they just cut it up and hauled it off. Sad, but it lived over 100yrs. It's life was done. Can't stop decay.

Thank you Captain Cousteau.

God Bless Calypso. Let her go.
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Old 03-14-2015, 04:56 PM   #8
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I agree with Ski
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustybarge View Post

It appears to be an unusual boat with wooden hull and riveted steel bulwarks; not sure what the superstructure is made from?
It was built that way because it started its life as a mine sweeper. Steel hulls and magnetic mines don't play well together.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:53 PM   #10
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Wooden minesweeper on the long road of restoration, docked along the San Joaquin River:


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Old 03-15-2015, 01:32 AM   #11
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I was given a guided tour of Calypso when it visited Hawaii when I was a kid because of my mom's position with the Honolulu city government at the time. The coolest thing was climbing down into the underwater observation compartment in the bow.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:48 AM   #12
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Slight thread drift, here's an interesting piece about 'Jackie' and Onassis and the newspaper reporter with a hidden camera in a guitar posing as a band member on the super yacht 'Christina'

BBC News - Catching Jackie with Aristotle Onassis
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:01 AM   #13
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I would like to see Calypso restored. What it takes is two things. Getting it out of the current owners hands and an interested party. In the meantime it should just be covered and stored somewhere.


I have a big respect for history and things both restored and operational. I was lucky enough to see the j boat Endeavour in 1989 in Bequia right after being restored from ruin. She sailed in and dropped anchor about 500 yards from us. I believe she changed hands for something like $100 at one point when she was at the saddest, until finally, 'her' interested party, Elizabeth Meyer, found her. Here is an interesting piece on it. She wasn't even a billionaire, yet made it happen - what a woman!

Elizabeth Meyer recalls 'Armageddon battle' to restore Endeavour - CNN.com

And here is her baby;

I have a pic of her from 1989 too. Still hangs on my office wall.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:50 PM   #14
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I would like to see Calypso restored. What it takes is two things. Getting it out of the current owners hands and an interested party. In the meantime it should just be covered and stored somewhere.


I have a big respect for history and things both restored and operational. I was lucky enough to see the j boat Endeavour in 1989 in Bequia right after being restored from ruin. She sailed in and dropped anchor about 500 yards from us. I believe she changed hands for something like $100 at one point when she was at the saddest, until finally, 'her' interested party, Elizabeth Meyer, found her. Here is an interesting piece on it. She wasn't even a billionaire, yet made it happen - what a woman!

Elizabeth Meyer recalls 'Armageddon battle' to restore Endeavour - CNN.com

And here is her baby;

I have a pic of her from 1989 too. Still hangs on my office wall.
I'm not a saily person, but if you get the opportunity to see a J class boat don't miss it.

Simply amazing and extraordinary; the size and height of the sails: Staggering.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:34 PM   #15
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What remains of Calypso is mostly under cover, but there's not much left. The reconstruction stopped years ago and the new wood in the bow is now looking pretty weathered. The yard just wants either the project to proceed or be moved out. Moving her now will be tricky.

Some old boats are important, others not so much, who decides? A fellow just announced he'll spend $2m to restore an old fishboat (Western Flyer) because she appeared in a book by John Steinbeck....Calypso will require ten times that many dollars to get back out to sea. Ms Meyer restored Endeavour and inspired the rebuilding and re-creating of almost a dozen more J-Class yachts. Who knows how many thousands of people were inspired by this seemingly small and selfish act?

I believe strongly that the saving and restoration of old boats/ships is worthwhile. Static display on dry land is a less desirable outcome, but can still be educational and inspiring. Restoring an older vessel to operation is far, far more valuable. Calypso should be restored and employed taking young scientists to sea.

Calypso today....

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Old 03-16-2015, 12:56 AM   #16
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I think it often comes down to how far gone the relic is - the Charles W. Morgan in Mystic has been steadily maintained, the Mary Rose, the Constitution, Nelson's Victory. The Kalakala, too far gone (ah, I see it was just scrapped in January, sad). In my opinion the Queen Mary in Long Beach has had millions poured into maintenance over the decades but it's still not enough - when I was on it last year it was getting sad in lots of places and the lifeboat areas are falling to pieces. When it comes to Calypso all I've seen is a photo, but it looks close to too far gone to me.
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Old 03-16-2015, 01:02 AM   #17
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... In my opinion the Queen Mary in Long Beach has had millions poured into maintenance over the decades but it's still not enough - when I was on it last year it was getting sad in lots of places and the lifeboat areas are falling to pieces. getting sad in lots of places and the lifeboat areas are falling to pieces. ...
The new Queen Mary (with tug) arriving in San Francisco last December, escorted by a USCG cutter.

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Old 03-16-2015, 01:04 AM   #18
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Been on QM2 three times, now that's grace and beauty. Ah I love that ship.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:28 AM   #19
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I was lucky enough to see the j boat Endeavour in 1989 in Bequia right after being restored from ruin. She sailed in and dropped anchor about 500 yards from us.
We had the same experience in Newport in the 90's when Endeavour sailed into the harbor and either anchored or picked up a mooring . . . I don't remember which because I was running around like a kid trying to get good photos. (Which I haven't digitized yet.) A couple of years before, I'd seen Shamrock in the same place. Unforgettable, mesmerizing, breathtaking are just some of the words that come to mind seeing these iconic vessels under sail.
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:07 AM   #20
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Speaking of restoration, the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) in Newport is a wonderful place to visit. I spent hours in there last year, simply a treasure to visit and the ongoing restoration project is a sight to behold! (The Coronet Project).

Salt Water New England: International Yacht Restoration School, Newport, Rhode Island
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