8-Bells for Bruce Kessler

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mvweebles

Guru
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
7,402
Location
United States
Vessel Name
Weebles
Vessel Make
1970 Willard 36 Trawler
I won't even try to introduce Bruce Kessler to those who have never heard of him. But he's passed at age 88. He was a rock star for early TrawlerFests with his Spirit of Zopilote, a 70-foot Delta steel trawler in which he circumnavigated in the mid 1980s, essentially before Nordhavn hit their stride. According to the attached article, he was the 6th powerboat to circumnavigated. He had over 100k nms under his keel - considering his many other accomplishments, an unmatched feat.

I thank him for the inspiration he left in his wake. I certainly was a benefactor. Hats off Bruce.

 
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RIP Bruce. Definitely a legend.
I thought those Deltas weren’t steel?
 
He, Dodge Morgan, and Webb Chile are my heroes. Had the pleasure of spending time with them. All never touted their own horns. All great gentlemen and willing to share their knowledge and help. Wish I had the opportunity to meet Slocum as think he rounds out that trio.
Even now Northern Marine makes great boats. Some consider them the descendants of Zopilot. Some would say a well done steel boat maybe a better choice to go RTW.
 
As soon as I read the title I clicked on this thread. Definitely a loss to our community. I remember him fondly.
 
Bruce was a storyteller. There was one story I had never read but one that he related to me directly. We were talking about the sinking of Zopolite, his 70-foot Delta Marine. We were talking about it because I was building Meander at Northern Marine, and he was giving me advice on what to put on my boat. He had built his latest (and last) boat, Spirit of Zopolite, at Northern Marine.

I had read that he had sunk his boat on an "uncharted" rock. While such rocks do exist in the Alaksa, they are rare. And these rocks weren't rare. So I asked him, "What happened?". How did a world-class trawler driver find himself in such a horrible situation? He said, "I will tell you," and then turned his back to me and said, "I was driving like this." He had been talking to friends and wasn't keeping an eye out. While he wrote many stories for print since that conversation 24 years ago, I have never seen him tell that story. I think it's a powerful story that such an accomplished boater can still make mistakes.

RIP, Bruce. Thank you for all of your advice and inspiration throughout the years.

-Mike Harrington
MV Gallivant
 
Bruce always had time to talk to another boater about boating. Had the pleasure of dinner with him and his SO at an early TrawlerFest back in the day when TF was truly a Trawler Festival run by Georgs K, the originator. Bruce was a boaters boater. RIP Bruce.
 
I followed his exploits as well as I could. I was fascinated with reports of his building of Zopilote and Spirit of Zopilote.
Yes , a terrific boat man.
Tis a shame he is gone.
 
I won't even try to introduce Bruce Kessler to those who have never heard of him. But he's passed at age 88. He was a rock star for early TrawlerFests with his Spirit of Zopilote, a 70-foot Delta steel trawler in which he circumnavigated in the mid 1980s, essentially before Nordhavn hit their stride. According to the attached article, he was the 6th powerboat to circumnavigated. He had over 100k nms under his keel - considering his many other accomplishments, an unmatched feat.

I thank him for the inspiration he left in his wake. I certainly was a benefactor. Hats off Bruce.

Bruce Kessler was a rock star in the power-cruising world, the sixth person to complete a circumnavigation in a power-driven vessel. He and I were close friends, a lot like brothers, for about 37 years. I had the good fortune to be aboard Zopilote as crew for with Bruce and his wife, former actress Joan Freeman, in the South Pacific for close to 1,000 NM from Brisbane to Cairns in 1990, then again in 1993, crossing 2,400 NM from the Azores to Fort Lauderdale, with a short stop for lunch in Bermuda. We kept our boats a few feet from one another at Dysart's Great Harbor in Southwest Harbor, ME, over 20 summers.

For a long Soundings article about Bruce and his boats and cruising, go to this link:
https://www.soundingsonline.com/news/adventurer-bruce-kessler-dies-at-88

Milt Baker
Former Nordhavn 47 Bluewater

Delta 70 Zopilote Bruce Kessler Pic 6 PL.jpeg
Bruce Kessler 6 SOZ.jpg
Bruce & Joan Kessler pic 10.jpg
 
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