Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th

Frank Samuelsen, bow; George Harbo, stern; FOX, rowboat
Painting by Bart Forbes for Nautical Quarterly

Saturday July 4th
The night has been a stormy one. Wind shifting from south to N.N.W. and rained biggest part of the night.
8 a.m. Wind north, strong breeze and clear weather.
12 noon. Wind north, strong breeze. Course E.S.E. Day’s work 55 miles.
6 p.m. Wind N.E. light
This day we celebrated by washing our-selves in soap fresh water.
The first day our faces have seen good fresh water since leaving New York

On July 4th, 1896, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, two Norwegian-American seamen celebrated our Nations Birthday, by having a fresh water bath. It may not sound like much, no beer or hot dogs but for George Harbo, who wrote in the Log above and Frank Samuelsen, his rowing mate, it was the first time they took a break from their arduous trek across the Atlantic Ocean.

Harbo and Samuelsen were both new emigres from Norway to the United States but took care to carry the American Flag and make a point of taking a little time off on July 4th, for the bath.

George Harbo, the captain and navigator, of this first transatlantic crossing by rowboat, was particularly patriotic and had viewed the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on July 4th, in 1886, with his wife and their son Andrew, who he named after one of his hero's, an earlier American President, Andrew Jackson.

The marvelous illustration, at the head of this missive, was created by artist, Bart Forbes for Nautical Quarterly. The hardcover quarterly maritime magazine ran an article about the Fox, Harbo and Samuelsen, who rowed the 18 foot open boat successfully across the Atlantic, in a record (not to be broken for 114 years) time of 55 days. You can find Mr. Forbes' work and the article in NQ issue #4, published in 1978.

If you would like to view more of Bart Forbes' artworks and learn more about the artist, visit his web site:-

Enjoy your July 4th!

Cordially, Bill Osmundsen