“When I was 14 (1957) I saw an article in the newspaper about Sea Scouts and thought it was something I might be interested in. I called around and found a meeting place and went to my first meeting. I liked the other guys and the interest they had in boating. Sea Scout Ship Dana was the name of the group. There can be 10 or 12 Sea Scout groups all with different names.
I joined. Our unit had its own 29 ft. Whale Boat. It was in need of repair. While we were working on that boat, the Sea Scout fleet (all the units in the Portland area) had a 60 ft. Sail Boat that any of the units in the fleet could use, named Grote Bear. That was the first boat I sailed on. The boat was a Gaff Rig Cutter built in Holland in 1944 for Herman Gorering. We usually had a crew of 6 to 8 crewmen (youth) and 2 Adults; the Sea Scout Skipper and the Mate.
The Sea Scouts have different ranks, like any Scouting organization. I started as an apprentice at 14 and at 18 I was a Quarter Master. Following that I became a Mate up until I was 20 when I got drafted.
The Bear (60 ft.) was a beautiful boat, built out of teak and oak and had a fireplace in it. The bulkheads had a lot of intricate carvings. The boat was built in Holland and the Dutch did not like Gorering so they spent a lot of time on details which would prevent him from sailing the boat. She (the boat) was a Dutch Botter with Leeboards, shaped like a bath tub, rounded with no sharp entry to cut through the water; instead it pushed. It was comfortable, floated well, but was slow. That was what I learned to sail on.
When I was 15 one of the adult leaders bought, “Duet,” a sail boat out on the east coast and a group of 6 of us went back to Connecticut to sail the boat. It was a 60 ft. Cutter designed by Uffa Fox built in 1939 in Holland. When we got to Connecticut the boat was in dry dock. We had to make repairs, step the mast (stand the mast in the boat), and rig the vessel. A beautiful boat with a 90 ft. mast (what the sails connect to) that could carry a huge amount of sail. We sailed it from Connecticut to Norfork, Virginia. It took us a month to get the boat ready and we sailed to Connecticut to New York City, a shake down cruise which took two days, where we found some more faults with the boat and had to repair them. We left New York and sailed down the coast to Atlantic City for more repairs, then headed for Chesapeake Bay where we went up the Potomac to Washington D.C. and ended our trip in Norfork, Virginia.
When I met people in the East I told them I was a cowboy. I told them I traveled East on a stage coach from Portland to Denver, and took a locomotive from there to St. Louis and on to New York by plane. I told them I carried a 6 gun and road horseback 2 miles to school. They believed me.
When I was 16 the owner of Duet, Hal, hired me to help sail it from Norfork to the Caribbean. St Crois and San Juan were beautiful, but it was the boat and sailing that I loved. Hal was not a good seaman and broke the mast. It was not all his fault as there was dry rot in the mast, but he contributed to the break. I spent that summer in Miami in the shipyard building a new mast.
When I returned to Portland I continued my involvement with the Sea Scouts until I got drafted in 1965. Upon receiving my draft notice I tried to enlist in the Coast Guard, but I ended up in the Army in Alaska.
In 1964 I was working at a gas station and a pretty young lady came in to buy gas. We were married while I was in the Army and were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Misty Lee Sotamish Kwecal Martinez.
After I settled my family in Portland, got a job and bought a house, I decided to go down to the Sea Scout Base and see if any of my old friends were there and catch up on things. I ran into a former mate on the Dana. He introduced me to the Skipper of the Dana and they talked me into rejoining the unit and becoming a Mate. I went to 3 meetings. The Skipper quit. I got the job. I became the Skipper of the Dana until 1982 where I taught sailing to youth and adults.
My 3 sisters and 2 brothers were raised by my mom, June. She was strong and spunkey. She died in 1983 from Diabetes. My brother Joe passed in December of 1992 which was a big loss to me. I called my dad, “Pop,” and when he died in November of 2002 I moved into his little house which I decorated with sailing memorabilia.
The Sea Scout Fleet Commondore was R.A. Rasmussen who was also the Regional Vice President of CIT Corporation, a Commercial Lending Institute, and he hired me in 1981 as a Credit Analyst. I met Christie who was also employed at CIT and we became friends. I attended Christie’s wedding to Dale Smith in 1983 and the 3 of us remained good friends until 2012 when he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. Two years later Manny and Christie were married and moved to Port Ludlow. Misty moved into Manny’s little house, which had been his fathers.
Just as her father before her, Misty joined the Sea Scouts at 14 years of age. Her first practical sailing experience was before she joined the Sea Scouts when Manny aka “Pa”borrowed a friend’s 10 ft. sail boat and with a book and his daughter drove down to the river, pushed the boat in the river, put his daughter in the boat, sat down on the beach and read his book and his daughter sailed the boat. She loved it. She spent a major part of her life on boats, including having worked on the Lady Washington in Newport. She resided in Astoria for several years where she worked at the Maritime Museum before moving to Portland. Misty’s friend since high school, Cathy, and she plan to be married and enjoy frequent visits to Port Ludlow with their Saint Bernard, Charlene aka Charlie.
Manuel held a 100 ton vessels License, meaning he could commercially run anything up to about 75 foot. He had a 100 ton Masters License so he could train and teach on both power and sail. Most unit leaders work with their group of people. Along with being a unit leader he taught others how to be unit leaders.
He became a member of Island Sailing Club in Hayden Island, Oregon in 1991 and enjoyed sailing the boats of the Island Sailing Club and enjoyed working on The Lady Washington on and off for a couple of years.
After a heart attack in 1993 the Doctor told him to slow down. Second heart attack came in 1995 and he continued to take it easy and take a break from sailing.
In 2006 when visiting New London, Connecticut Manny participated as a crewman on the USCG Tall Ship Eagle. It is 295 ft. long and has 3 masts and square sails on the first 2 masts. White on board the Eagle Manny was climbing as high as 130 feet above the water.
Finally it was time to get a boat of his own when he found a 22’ Santana he named Duet. It was moored at Tomahawk Bay Moorage on the Columbia River and later was brought to Port Ludlow where he and Christie enjoyed crabbing on it and sailing around the Bay. Wishing to sail farther and in more comfort they decided to search for a larger boat. The first boat they saw was a 1979, one owner, 35’ Baba, only 75 having been built by Robert Perry. Manny enjoyed the way it handled and the beautiful Teak wood throughout sealed the deal for Christie.
In 2015 Manny became the Sail Captain and Board Member of Port Ludlow Yacht Club and has been instrumental in reviving the sailing program with cruises and social events.