To the editor:


I enjoyed the article “Technology, travel put Deer Isle students in touch with their ancestors,” (Working Waterfront, June 2008) on the Deer Isle students and their impressive research into all the Deer Isle crews that defended the America’s Cup in the 1890s. These kids deserve every bit of praise they get.

I must take issue with Sandra Dinsmore’s depiction of the crew members as fishermen. Fishing is an important and honorable profession, but the “Deer Isle Boys” were not fishermen. They were professional mariners who went under sail to all parts of the world. Three crew members who I personally remember serve as examples. Charles Scott (mentioned in the article), a close friend of my father, went to sea as a young man and soon had his own coasting schooner. He went on to become skipper of a yacht until, around 1894, upon his father’s death, he took over operation of the Deer Isle Ferry. Monty Haskell, who I knew well, went to sea as mate for his father, Capt. Charles Haskell, and subsequently became captain of coasting schooners himself. His last command was Mercantile, which still sails the waters of Penobscot Bay. Finally, there was Elmer Hardy; he too went to sea as a young man, although by the time I knew him he had taken over his father’s farm.

Certainly these men may have fished from time to time, but this was incidental to their seafaring; first and foremost they were supremely skilled mariners, and it was this reputation that led to their selection to defend the America’s Cup.


William A. Haviland

President, Island Heritage Trust

Deer Isle