Sunday, June 21, 2015

Re-Christening the Golden Rule

Posted By on Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 12:07 PM

click to enlarge Michael Gonzalez, of Trinidad, pauses for a moment on the rear deck of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. He said he was easily persuaded to join the restoration project over three years ago when he heard it was a wooden boat. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Michael Gonzalez, of Trinidad, pauses for a moment on the rear deck of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. He said he was easily persuaded to join the restoration project over three years ago when he heard it was a wooden boat.
“Hey hippie” was the tongue-in-cheek greeting on the electronic sign giving directions to the turn off on the Samoa peninsula to the Zerlang & Zerlang Boat Yard on Saturday, June 20. This was the first hint that the launching ceremony of the rebuilt sailing vessel Golden Rule was going to be a special mix of humor, well-deserved pride in boat restoration and a history lesson about non-violent peaceful protest against nuclear war.


The event clearly demonstrated that “it takes a village” to accomplish great things – in this case, a five-year, $180,000 restoration of the 30-foot wooden sailing ketch Golden Rule (called “the original peace vessel”). Leroy Zerlang, co-owner of the boat yard with his wife, Dalene, began the ceremony with a summary of how he came to have the vessel in his boat yard in the first place and how a Garberville chapter of Veterans For Peace formed the movement to salvage and raise the money to restore the vessel after she sank at the Zerlang’s dock.
click to enlarge Sally Willowbee (left), Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori and Kitty Bigelow Benton, daughter of the original captain of the Golden Rule, apply the traditional christening prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. Willowbee is a daughter of one of the original Golden Rule crew members. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Sally Willowbee (left), Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori and Kitty Bigelow Benton, daughter of the original captain of the Golden Rule, apply the traditional christening prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. Willowbee is a daughter of one of the original Golden Rule crew members.
“The boat arrived in Humboldt Bay in 1995 and was owned by a local doctor,” Zerlang said. His involvement began when he agreed in March of 2010 to “get her ready for the next time she was going to sink.” But the owner never came back to reclaim her after the repairs.

The Golden Rule then became a derelict, sitting on the beach at the boatyard – something that doesn’t look good for a boat-repair facility, said Zerlang. ”I was ready to get drunk some night and burn it, but my online searching led to responses from the Smithsonian, the Quakers and a bunch of other people that this was a boat worth saving.”
click to enlarge After an opening ceremony, a large crowd gathered on the edge of Humboldt Bay to watch the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. The vessel was then towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • After an opening ceremony, a large crowd gathered on the edge of Humboldt Bay to watch the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. The vessel was then towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history.
Zerlang next introduced to the large crowd Chuck DeWitt, of Fairhaven, the restoration coordinator, volunteer Michael Gonzalez, of Trinidad, Brekin Van Veldhuizen, of Eureka, a graduate of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, who led the hands-on work, and other boatyard employees.

After the local chapter of the Veterans For Peace members got the local restoration underway, the national V.F.P. organization made the restoration of the Golden Rule a national project, intending to use the vessel as an educational tool advocating the end of war as a national policy. After sea trials at the end of next week, a crew will sail the Golden Rule to San Diego on July 16 in time for the Veterans for Peace’s national convention. Its theme this year is “peace and reconciliation in the Pacific.”
click to enlarge A large crowd cheered the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • A large crowd cheered the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
A set of guest speakers followed on the program, including Seth Rick, of Shively, one of many restoration-project volunteers and donors. He said he was motivated to join the project due to the presence of a nuclear-blast survivor in his own family circle. He introduced Hiroshima survivor Shigeko Sasamori, of Marina Del Rey, who ended her short speech with a plea: “Never happen again. Never happen again. Never happen again. Golden Rule is an education peace boat.”

After Gail Eastwood offered a blessing of the Golden Rule (“May her work of peace making be blessed”), Sasamori and Kitty Bigelow Benton, daughter of the original captain of the protest voyage in 1958, christened the bow of the Golden Rule with the traditional bottles of champagne. One bottle broke on the first blow, but the second required multiple blows before breaking, eliciting loud cheers from the crowd of onlookers.
click to enlarge Chris Willrodt, of Comptche, greeted Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori after  the launching of the Golden Rule on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Chris Willrodt, of Comptche, greeted Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori after the launching of the Golden Rule on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
The Golden Rule was then launched into Humboldt Bay, where Cody Zerlang, at the helm of the tugboat Ajax, towed it to the HSU Aquatic Center along the Eureka Waterfront. It was accompanied by a crowd of onlookers on the Madaket, a water-cannon salute by the Port of Humboldt Bay fireboat, and other assorted vessels and kayaks. Passengers included Orion Sherwood, the youngest member of the Golden Rule’s original crew, and others.

The program and party continued at the Aquatic Center after the Golden Rule’s arrival.
click to enlarge The Golden Rule was towed by tug  to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The Golden Rule was towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history.
The restoration of the Golden Rule is a powerful symbol for today’s generations of peace activists, and the events of this launch day brought to life its role in 1958 as one of the first nuclear-protest peace vessels. Its attempt to prevent nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean helped bring about a worldwide movement against nuclear weapons that led to the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963.

The original Golden Rule and its crew also inspired many modern environmental and peace voyages, including those by Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds. It’s pretty cool to think that it was saved from a bonfire and restored to its current beauty in a local shipyard by a talented group of people led by Leroy, Chuck and Brekin. May it have many future peace voyages!
click to enlarge Brekin Van Veldhuizen, of Eureka, a graduate of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, led the hands-on repair work on the Golden Rule at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. She also came up with the team's informal t-shirt motto, "F*** War, Go Sailing." - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Brekin Van Veldhuizen, of Eureka, a graduate of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, led the hands-on repair work on the Golden Rule at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. She also came up with the team's informal t-shirt motto, "F*** War, Go Sailing."
click to enlarge Long-time volunteer and self-described "jack-of-all trades" Libby Tonning, of Manila, poses with one of the books about the Golden Rule prior to its launching at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Long-time volunteer and self-described "jack-of-all trades" Libby Tonning, of Manila, poses with one of the books about the Golden Rule prior to its launching at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
click to enlarge Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori, of Marina Del Rey, paused for a moment near the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. She ended her short speech with a plea:  “Never happen again.  Never happen again. Never happen again. Golden Rule is an education peace boat.” - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori, of Marina Del Rey, paused for a moment near the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. She ended her short speech with a plea: “Never happen again. Never happen again. Never happen again. Golden Rule is an education peace boat.”
click to enlarge Leroy Zerlang, co-owner of the boatyard with his wife, Dalene, began the launching ceremony of the Golden Rule on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. Zerlang shared how he came to have the vessel in his boatyard in the first place and how a Garberville chapter of Veterans for Peace developed the focus and funding to salvage and restore the vessel after she sank at the Zerlang’s dock. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Leroy Zerlang, co-owner of the boatyard with his wife, Dalene, began the launching ceremony of the Golden Rule on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. Zerlang shared how he came to have the vessel in his boatyard in the first place and how a Garberville chapter of Veterans for Peace developed the focus and funding to salvage and restore the vessel after she sank at the Zerlang’s dock.



click to enlarge Chuck DeWitt, of Fairhaven, was presented with a thank-you plaque for his role as the restoration coordinator of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Chuck DeWitt, of Fairhaven, was presented with a thank-you plaque for his role as the restoration coordinator of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
click to enlarge Leroy Zerlang was presented with a brass telescope as a thank-you gift  for his role in the restoration of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Leroy Zerlang was presented with a brass telescope as a thank-you gift for his role in the restoration of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
click to enlarge Long-time volunteer and self-described "jack-of-all trades" Libby Tonning, of Manila, provided a loud whistle while serving champagne prior to the Golden Rule's launching at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Long-time volunteer and self-described "jack-of-all trades" Libby Tonning, of Manila, provided a loud whistle while serving champagne prior to the Golden Rule's launching at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
click to enlarge Seth Rick, of Shively, one of many restoration-project volunteers and donors, said he was motivated to join the project due to the presence of a Hiroshima nuclear-blast survivor in his own family circle. He introduced Shigeko Sasamori, of Marina Del Rey, as one of the speakers prior to the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Seth Rick, of Shively, one of many restoration-project volunteers and donors, said he was motivated to join the project due to the presence of a Hiroshima nuclear-blast survivor in his own family circle. He introduced Shigeko Sasamori, of Marina Del Rey, as one of the speakers prior to the Golden Rule's launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula.
click to enlarge The Golden Rule was greeted on Humboldt Bay after its launching by a flotilla of boats, including the Madaket and a spray salute from a Humboldt Bay Fire boat, on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. The vessel was then towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for  public viewing and a second program about its history. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The Golden Rule was greeted on Humboldt Bay after its launching by a flotilla of boats, including the Madaket and a spray salute from a Humboldt Bay Fire boat, on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. The vessel was then towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history.
click to enlarge The Golden Rule was towed by tug  to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The Golden Rule was towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing and a second program about its history.
click to enlarge Ted Reynolds (left), family member of a crew member of the 1958 Phoenix of Hiroshima sailboat, and Orion Sherwood, the youngest of the Golden Rule's original crew, were passengers on the Golden Rule as it was towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing. They were part of the oral history sessions during a second program about the history of the Golden Rule and other maritime peace activism. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Ted Reynolds (left), family member of a crew member of the 1958 Phoenix of Hiroshima sailboat, and Orion Sherwood, the youngest of the Golden Rule's original crew, were passengers on the Golden Rule as it was towed by tug to the HSU aquatic center on Eureka's water front for public viewing. They were part of the oral history sessions during a second program about the history of the Golden Rule and other maritime peace activism.

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