The Elizabeth

This is the boat I grew up on. We paid $100 for her. (She'd had a fire, been stripped and sunk... typical Goodlander vessel!)

She was designed by Alden and built by Morse in 1924, design #213 and her sister ship was named Yvonne. This picture was taken in her prime when she raced in the Bermuda race and other prestigious races.

When we had her she was in tough shape. We moved off her when I was 12... and I was one pissed off kid until I purchased Corina three years later.

This picture was recently given to me via a family member of Lyn Williams of Chicago (a previous owner, not the one we purchased her from), thanks to the diligent research efforts of George Zamiar.

Various pictures of her appeared in Yachting and other boating magazines. I'd love to know what happened to her after we sold her in St. Petersburg, Florida in the early 1960s.

Young Fatty racing a pram in Vinoy Basin, St Petersburg, Florida 1962.


I purchased this boat at 15 years of age and named it Corina. I sailed her many thousands of miles until selling her at 19 to build Carlotta. She was 22' long, designed by Atkins, and built of Port Oxford cedar in 1932.

In Jackson Park, Chicago, with George and Lusty Laura

In Jackson Park, Chicago 1968, with George and Lusty Laura


I started this boat at 19 years of age. I splashed it a few years later. This convinced me that, with Carolyn's help, I could do amazing things.

The Death of Carlotta

by Cap'n Fatty Goodlander

Carlotta is no more.
I still can't believe it, though I know the above sentence is true. It doesn't seem possible. I continue to jerk awake each morning, puzzled why I'm not in my familiar bunk aboard my beloved Carlotta.
Then it hits me like a body-blow to the stomach. Carlotta is dead. At 0623 hours on Monday September 18th, 1989, during the height of Hurricane HUGO, a 70-foot schooner named Fly Away dragged down on her.
We were anchored in Culebra, Puerto Rico in one of the safest harbors in the Caribbean. Winds were a steady 180 knots, with gusts hitting 210mph at the nearby University of Puerto Rico's meteorological station. Fly Away literally started eating Carlotta. I've never experienced anything quite like it.
She smashed off the port rail and whisker stays, sprung the bowsprit, and folded all the stanchions. She poked holes right through the deck and bit off chunks of the cabin. It was horrible—like demented rhinos careening towards death.
For an agonizing ten minutes Fly Away and Carlotta beat each other into extinction. Our exterior chainplates ripped entire planks clean out of Fly Away. Her bowsprit clubbed through our cockpit combings, mizzen boom, stern rail.
There was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do but watch. From midnight 'til dawn we'd told our 8-year-old, life-jacketed daughter, Roma Orion, not to worry. "Don't worry, honey," my wife Carolyn would shout soothingly over the shriek of the storm. "Everything's okay. We've got four anchors down with heavy chains and long nylon rodes. Carlotta is strong. Look-- our bunks are dry!!! We're okay. Gonna be fine. Gonna make it. Don't worry... don't worry... don't worry..."
The sounds inside Carlotta were more than just scary—it was enough to drive a person insane. It made you want to hold your hands over your ears... and scream too. The renting of wood. The crumbling of the concrete of our hull. The "twang" as a stay or shroud parted. The shattering of glass...

Fly Away center-punched a stanchion (complete with base and life-lines) clean through our deck. It wiggled sadistically over Roma's bunk. Water poured in the boat, along with the shriek and moan of the wind.

"Can I worry now..?" asked Roma, the amazement clear in her soft little-girl voice.

By this point, Fly Away had dragged, inch by slow inch, astern of Carlotta. Her bowsprit, now splintered in half, was still clubbing our battered transom. I reached out my companionway, and grabbed Fly Away's only remaining anchor rode in my right hand.

"Cut it! Cut it! Cut it!" my wife Carolyn screamed. My hand went for my knife, but I stopped with it still sheathed. It didn't matter. Both our boats were doomed now. Fly Away had only a small anchor rode left, and she had taken out our primary 60-pound Danforth anchor, which had held us so well from midnight to dawn. It wasn't so much a matter of if we'd end up ashore—but when and how.

Just as these thoughts flew across my numbed mind, Fly Away snapped her only remaining anchor rode. It sounded like a cannon shot. She was gone to leeward—instant history. (I later wearily walked the shores of Culebra in a grim search and came across a floating lump of shattered lumber with the masts and rig of an old schooner piled atop. It was the broken bones and jagged flesh of the once-proud Fly Away.)

Amazingly, Carlotta, 36 feet and built solidly of ferro-cement, still held. Trees were being snatched off the mountain ahead of us, and were hitting the rig. First they'd hang up on the mainmast, then quickly work their way through the maze of stainless steel rigging wire, and then give the mizzenmast a final "whack, whack, whack" in goodbye.

I sat in the cockpit, running my 50 hp Westerbeke diesel to ease the strain on my anchors. I wore a diving mask so that I could see, and a snorkel so that I could breath. The 200 knot gusts reminded me of some old hokey black & white movie with a fire-breathing dragon. The wind gusts were too exaggerated, too stupidly scary to be real.

A large 50-foot trawler named Polaris was anchored beside me. She looked so stately and safe. I glanced down at my rpm meter, and then back at Polaris. I blinked my eyes in disbelief. She was upside down. It seemed impossible—like a magic trick with mirrors. She was floating perfectly level just completely upside down. (She never righted herself, just gradually sank with her keel and props pointed skyward...)

Carlotta kept getting knocked down by the gusts of wind. Her cockpit would fill. Once we took green water through the top of the companionway hatch. In 25,000 ocean miles, she'd never done anything like that.

None of this seemed possible. How could this be happening? Why were my wife and child cowering below, passports duct-taped to their soft bodies to aid some faceless Puerto Rican coroner who might later be given the sad task of ID-ing their water-logged bodies. Grim thoughts.

My life didn't flash before my eyes, but I decided that I wasn't as good a person as I should be, as moral, as kind and considerate, as caring a person as I wanted to be. What does a man have beside his family, his friends, and his own heart?

The anchor we were now riding to (45 pound CQR with 125 feet of three-eights chain) started dragging. I literally crawled up to the bow, and veered out more scope. Nothing worked. Carlotta's bow fell off more, and we picked up speed. A 100-foot aluminum motorboat appeared out of the gloom. We hit it so hard on the port quarter that it rang like a bell. A white smear—a face—appeared through a port of the motor yacht we'd struck. The face's mouth was twisted open, whether in terror or prayer or greeting or anger I could not tell. I started laughing like a maniac through my snorkel. (I realize, now, that I was laughing in pure terror, but at the time it was almost-- fun!)

I was steering my boat in 200 knots of wind to her death. We had built the boat from 12 sheets of paper 18 years ago. She had taken more than five long years and all our money to construct. Carlotta was more than just our boat or just our home—she was our sea-shell. She protected us in every way. Always. She was a part of us—built from our sweat, our tears, held together by our hopes and dreams and desires. She was part of the Goodlander Family. And this, finally, was The End. Fini. Start over. Back to zero. Complete financial and emotional shipwreck.

The water all around me was frothing white. Getting into the water was death. "The water is death, the water is death, the water is death..." my brain chanted to me.

The roof of a house appeared, then a tree. The tree was in a small clearing. I steered for the clearing. We were moving fast, despite trailing three large anchors and a total of over 700 feet of anchor line and chain rode.

I felt the first sickening thud as Carlotta dropped her 26,000 pounds onto rock and mud and mangroves. Everything not bolted down—and a few things which were—started winging around the cabin.

We tied ourselves together with the hacked-off bitter end of a Dacron genoa sheet. We were still a family. We slid into the water, and the surf quickly swept us ashore. We were gently deposited on the manicured front lawn of a waterfront condo.

The worldat —this small portion of it—seemed totally nuts. The hurricane still screamed like the tormented souls of a million drowned sailors. The air was filled with roots, parts of boats, dinghies with 40-horse outboards, trees, sheets of tin.

We shivered and huddled together. We were dazed. Our teeth chattered in fear and excitement and maybe from the cold.

I turned and looked at Carlotta. She looked so lonely in her death throes. Salt water was stealing into her from holes in her hull. Fresh water was leaking in from above. Since I'd been 19 years old my life had been devoted to keeping her dry. Now I had finally failed. She was getting wet, and I was doing nothing to help her. I felt like a traitor—less than a real man.

I stood up and lurched away from Carlotta down a telephone pole/tree-barricaded road: I went in search of shelter. My wife of nearly 20 years and my 8 year old child followed.

From Fatty's book, Chasing the Horizon—available here

Wild Card

Your Subtitle Here


Wauquiez 43 Amphitrite

After returning from his second circumnavigation on Wild Card and writing a book called, "Buy, Outfit and Sail", Fatty found his dream boat virtually abandoned in a shipyard on St. Martin in the Caribbean.

After buying and outfitting her, he named her Ganesh after the Indian god of Lost Causes and Overcomer of Obstacles

Here is Ganesh under full sail in the Caribbean after completing her first circumnavigation (Fatty and Carolyn's third).

Hull Type: Fin with rudder on skeg

Rigging Type: Masthead Sloop LOA: 42.75 ft / 13.03 m

LWL: 33.96 ft / 10.35 m

Beam: 13.67 ft / 4.17 m

Draft (max): 5.90 ft / 1.80 m

Displacement: 28,660 lb / 13,000 kg

Ballast: 9,921 lb / 4,500 kg

Construction: Fiberglass

First Built: 1975 Last Built: 1990 # Built: 138 (Ganesh is #81 built in 1981)

Builder: Henri Wauquiez (FRA) Designer: Donald Pye

Auxiliary Power: Make: Perkins M92B, Type: Diesel HP: 90, Fuel: 112 gals / 425 L

Stormy Weather

One Magic Boat

I’ve had the honor of sailing and racing on many of the finest yachts in the world.

The boat I grew up on, the Elizabeth, was a famous, respected racer in the 1920s and 1930s from the design board of the legendary John G. Alden. My first boat, an Atkins double-ender built in 1932, was a lovely little pocket cruiser. Carlotta won the 1968 Amateur Boatbuilder Society’s ‘Design of the Year’ award, and rightly so. Our boat, Wild Card, was a fast, wholesome vessel in the mid 1960s when she was designed… and still is today.

Yes, there are some lovely vessels out there. I’ve raced on numerous 12 meters. I’ve sailed on IACC yachts. I’ve been aboard a couple of J-boats. I’ve trod the deck of Mari Cha….

However, I’ve only sailed on one magic boat and that boat is Olin Stephen’s 1934 Stormy Weather.

Whether she’s on the starting line with a flock of Melges 24s or in a severe North Atlantic gale, she always handles like a dream. Usually when I’m racing I’m either grudgingly content with our boat-speed or sadly disappointed in it. I often say, “…what’s wrong? She’s not happy… We’re off the pace…”

Stormy Weather is the only racing boat I’ve ever been on that is consistently going faster than I think it should. I was her tactician for many years and raced Antigua Sailing Week, the Rolex, the Cort series, BVI Spring, the Hennie and numerous other Atlantic and Caribbean races aboard her (with the infamous ‘monkey’ crew).

I fell in love with her in heavy weather during the Bermuda race. It was the 50th anniversary of her class victory during that event. And while modern vessels were just shredded by the sea, Stormy romped. We finished in the top half of our class without any ‘old age allowance.’ It was fun telling the hi-tech, hotshot guys who’d beat us, “We’ll meet you back here in 50 years for a rematch!”

Just how truly amazing is she? In August 1995, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her Fastnet win, she participated yet again --her 7th Fastnet --and was First in Class and Sixth Overall in a fleet of more than two hundred yachts.