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July 13, 2013

Coronado’s Circumnavigator” on Coronado Island

Bruce Linder’s  “Field Guide to Coronado History: Coronado’s Circumnavigator” on Coronado Island.  A regular series of fascinating, intriguing, or thoughtful tales about people and places in Nado history — presented by your Coronado Historical Association

It’s always been the dream of mariners to circumnavigate the globe, to follow the path of explorers, to challenge the seven seas.  Even after Magellan’s Victoria accomplished this task for the first time in 1522 and Sir Francis Drake followed in 1580, others have aimed to be the “first” among their own communities to accomplish that demanding task.  The first American circumnavigator was Robert Gray in the famous trading vessel Columbia, and the first American warship to circle the globe was Vincennes in 1830.

 Many from Coronado have made this notable voyage as well, but the first member of the Coronado Yacht Club to sail his own vessel around the globe is a special FIRST.  That honor belongs to Wes Harris and his family who sailed aboard their 50-foot sloop Scorpio II from 1991 to 1993.

 Departing from Coronado, Scorpio II sailed direct to the Marquesas Islands and Tahiti, then across the South Pacific, through the Torres Strait north of Australia, and then to Bali and Singapore.  Continuing up the Malacca Strait, Scorpio II visited Malaysia and Thailand before sailing across the Indian Ocean, up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal.  Much of these legs was sailed as part of a multi-boat expedition where Wes enjoyed the mutual support as well as the extra safety from pirates or hazards.

 The trusty Coronado craft sailed leisurely across the Mediterranean in near perfect weather and with many delightful stops from Greece to Spain.  Captain Wes then navigated Columbus’ route across the Atlantic by first heading south toward the Canary Islands and then westward with the prevailing winds to the Caribbean.  The Panama Canal soon followed, with final legs up the Central American and Mexican west coasts until Point Loma again rose loomed the horizon. 

 Scorpio II logged some 29,000 miles in all and hosted a bevy of crewmembers for different legs but Wes, son Tim and Kevin Theberge were the venture’s true circumnavigators with wife Charlotte completing about 75% of the memorable voyage and several other family members pitching in. 

 Scorpio II visited 118 different ports across six continents — Wes picked the South Pacific as their “best sailing conditions” and the “Red Sea, Red Sea, Red Sea” as their worst!