One of McElfresh Map Company’s Influences
The First Tammy Norie
As a kid I traveled extensively with my family. As a member of the Niagara Frontier Ski Team my winter trips were invariably to ski races in distant parts of New York or New England. One summer, my dad, a WWII naval veteran, bought a 40 foot sail boat and berthed it in Essex, Ct. That became our home away from home and vacation outing each summer. Throughout high school, our vessel, the Tammie Norie, a 40 foot Ketch, sailed along the New England Coast and in Long Island Sound.
The Boatyard Fire
A winter boat yard fire in 1968 in Essex consumed a number of boats including the Tammy Norie. My Dad was devastated and his search for a replacement vessel was very disappointing. He ultimately concluded he really just wanted another Tammy Norie. That meant contacting the original builder in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England and commissioning an almost identical vessel.
The New Tammy Norie
A new problem…when the yacht was constructed and ready—our sailboat was 3,000 miles away. Obviously an ocean crossing for somebody was in prospect. So 50 years ago, at the end of my freshman year at St. Lawrence University, I got to go to England with my family. My sister and I had been drafted into service as crew.
A Trip to London
We had to spend a day in London to pick up necessary travel documents and as a Beatle fan I took advantage of my proximity to Apple Records in central London. As chance would have it, as I stood gazing at The Beatle’s town house headquarters in awe, I had the opportunity to sneak in when the door swung open for a messenger to leave. Although awestruck and bewildered, I managed to grab a few postcards at the reception desk before being summarily ushered out.
I was now ready to sail the high seas with my family and our one recruited crew member, who later became my brother-in-law. We sailed down the Deben River to the English Channel and through the Bay of Biscay to Madeira off the coast of Africa. We crossed the Atlantic Ocean propelled along by the same strong, steady trade winds that brought Columbus to America. We stopped in Bermuda for a brief refit and rest. We completed the voyage with a six day sail to Block Island and another final short day sail brought us to our ultimate destination, up the Connecticut River to Essex, Ct.
The Influence on McElfresh Map Company
My Dad was our navigator on this voyage. He relied on essentially the same technology that Columbus used on his voyage in 1492: a sexton, the sun and the night stars. That became the model for preparing my maps—keep it simple, stick with the old tried and true techniques..