Dear Yankee | December 2016

Our favorite recent letters, Facebook posts, Instagram comments, and tweets.

By Yankee Magazine

Nov 30 2016



A Fatal Mistake

We received many online comments on our November story “A Fatal Mistake,” about the sinking of the container ship El Faro. Here are several that were especially memorable.

email-iconHaving sailed a long time ago, I appreciate the author’s efforts and accuracy depicting life aboard ship. Unfortunately, her comments about the age of the vessel and the state of the U.S. flag merchant marine are too, too true. As it stands now, not much can be done to turn it around. May the crew and officers rest in peace. –Charles

As a parent of a maritime academy graduate, this story really hit home for me. Every time my son sails out, I say a prayer for his safe return home, never taking anything for granted. Prayers to all those men and women currently at sea, may God guide you safely home. –Carol

email-iconI spent 33 years at sea on a variety of ships: tramp freighters, container ships, tugs and tankers. My last 20 years were as Master. I often sailed the same route as the El Faro, at the same time of year. Your bail-out points are to either go south to Miami, turn west through Northeast Providence Channel, or duck south through Crooked Island Pass or Mayaguana Pass—a few of which I have done. The El Faro sank on the doorstep of the Crooked Island Pass, taking an old shipmate of mine with her. There is no way that I can add anything to this finely presented article, but I will say this: freighters are schedule-driven, tankers are safety-driven. Now that the freighter industry has had their Exxon Valdez moment, maybe that will change. I sometimes hold little hope for that, what with the removal of sailors (licensed engineers, mates and Masters) from the higher management positions. –Richard

email-iconI worked on this vessel as a third mate in the ‘90s when it was named the Northern Lights. This article was therapeutic for me and I want to thank you for putting the families and crew in the spotlight. This was the last vessel I worked on and I left the industry in large part due to an aggressive TOTE captain so I know how the crew must have felt. God Bless their souls.–Rob

The Conscience of a Chief


email-iconThis is one of the most thought provoking and heartfelt stories I have read in a long time. This Chief really cares about his town and it shows his depth of character to be brave enough to make a stand.–Lisa Hammond-Ashley

Worst Hurricanes in New England History

Damage in Island Park, Rhode Island from the Hurricane of 1938.
Damage in Island Park, Rhode Island from the Hurricane of 1938.
Photo Credit : Public Domain

comment-icon-46236I remember all hurricanes from 1954 to 1993. My dad worked for Central Maine Power Company and my mom, sister, and I rode them out alone. It was so scary as the trees crashed around us in Rockland, Maine, in Carol and Edna. One landed across our door. My mom was a wonderfully calming person and my memories of all the hits are of a great adventure preparing for and riding them out. We were always so thankful that dad was OK when he finally returned from a wild and often unknown dangerous storm. –Martha Dalton Oliver