Salvage continues on the Falcon

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story in this morning’s paper about the continuing salvage of the Falcon, the Chinook 34 aground on the north side of Milwaukee. The online version has a link to a cool time lapse sequence of the boat being cut up. It would appear that Jerry Guyer waited until there was enough ice and the boat was driven close enough in to have reasonably safe access to the boat. If you look at this earlier photo from the Journal Sentinel you can see why.

Other blogs have been carrying some gorgeous photos of the Falcon as it lay wrecked. Mike Fisk, in particular, has been shooting beautiful shots at dawn. His creative viewpoint is definitely different than mine on this . Not to criticize his work at all, which I admire. To me the wreck of this boat is a tragedy. This shot of his most closely reflects my sense of tragic loss.

As I spoke of in my first post about the Falcon I see the hopes and hard work, the dreams and excitement that go into the hard effort of wresting order out of chaos. It was a dream to do something as “impossible” as slip across the water using only the wind to move you, a dream to cross an ocean, a dream to reunite with a lover. The tragedy here, luckily, isn’t due to a loss of a person’s life. The tragedy may be that with just a little more information, a few more skills, a little more understanding of the realities involved in sailing and navigation that the life of those dreams could have been fulfilled.

We all wonder at some point if our efforts are enough, if there isn’t just one or two more things we should do or know or understand. Are we making a colossal, yet easily avoidable mistake? Life must move on and we cannot obsess about every detail so we trust our experience and our skills, we listen to others and in so doing we contribute to creating a social net on which we rely. When we succeed, when we’ve breathed new life into our dreams we know we’ve done so with the unimaginable help and support of many people. When we run aground and our dreams become wrecked on a rocky ledge we are alone and left bereft.

Then, often, something amazing happens. Someone like Jerry Guyer appears. Someone who has seen wrecks before, someone who can figure a way to, if not save the dream, clean up the mess. That mess must not be left to haunt us with the melancholy reminder of loss and failure. This is part of our social compact. The dreamer who has failed is not alone after all. Without the inherent chance of failure the dreamer could not achieve the “impossible”, our dreams would not have a chance to flourish. And so we must all touch the dreamer, lend a hand in cleaning up the mess created when the chance of failure takes its toll. And we do, even if it is to simply witness a salvage with respect and empathy and to learn from that experience and to share that gained knowledge freely. In so doing we knot together that ephemeral, yet critical net which will be used to support new dreams. Dreams that may someday slip safely pass the rocky ledges too close to shore.

5 thoughts on “Salvage continues on the Falcon

  1. I’ve had a number of mixed emotions about the Falcon. I find your perspective on her loss inspiring…especially the last paragraph.

    Here’s an email I sent Dan Eagen for the story he did on the Falcon. We ended up talking on the phone and he took a couple of things I said and quoted those in the Journal. The quote, “It’s sort of a sad thing…and there is a beauty to that, too.”, is just one of those sound bite sort of things and doesn’t tell the whole story. Here’s what I emailed to Dan:

    [My good friend and Soul Amp bandmate, Brad Odland, owns a sailboat and I have been sailing with him for about 5 years now.

    I really don’t know much about sailing myself, but I do what Brad tells me to and often he allows me to steer. The thing about sailing for me is that it’s an amazing bit of human ingenuity. It’s one of the inventions we kind of got right. Harnessing the wind to take us in whatever direction we want to go. It’s free propulsion. We just have to use our brains. When I’m a few miles out on Lake Michigan and the clamor of the city disappears and all you have is the sounds of the wind and the waves, it feels like a relief. I always look on things differently when I get to shore. All the chores of life seem a bit easier for a few days after a sail.

    So I find the Falcon’s demise as quite touching. To think that she carried folks for so many years and brought them the same joy I experience and to see her end through a foolish mistake is a bit of a tradegy. A lot of love and care goes into most sailboats and there is usually some emotional attachment to them by their skippers and crews. So I find myself drawn to her last days and feel a need to document it especially in the best light that nature gives us… in sunrise and sunset.]

    Anyhow, I’ll try and stop by your studio sometime. I just checked out the pics of your work on your site. Brilliant art in the mmedium of furniture. Very nice! Have an Excellent New Year!

    -Mike Fisk,

  2. Mike,

    Thank you for your comment. I ended up playing phone tag with Dan Eagen and by the time we spoke he had already written his piece. Your comments were good and I really wouldn’t have added much to that article.

    Thank you as well for your kind comments about my work and I look forward to you stopping by. It would be a good idea to call first to make sure I’m in. Maybe we could go for a sail sometime next summer on Orca.

    You are right-on about sailing being on of the things people have gotten right, one of the few things it seems.


  3. I’M a guy who’s wrecked Falcon. Pavel Beranek. Thank You for all this. I wasn’t able to afford save this beautiful boat. And It’s still hurt. My dream still alive and I hope somebody can save Falcon. Thank You Paul

  4. Pavel,

    I am so glad to hear that your dreams are still alive. I happened to have witnessed a lot of your hard work when you had the boat at Cramer Marine prior to its launch and still admire your effort.


  5. I am doing research about a book a neighbor brought me today; by the late Great Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892). He was an author of Poetry called a Poet Laureate in the 1800’s under the rule & era of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In his work or book, called “The Pricess and Maud”, there is a section near the back of this book called “The Shipwreck”. In this section of the book, mentions the name of the ship that wrecked called “The Falcon”. My research into Alfred Tennyson as to his life, works, and other topics related to his biography, indicates a connection to the name of your ship called “The Falcon”. I don’t think we are talking about the same exact ship; but I searched online for “The Falcon Shipwreck” & I found your blog. So maybe you named your ship after The Great Falcon”. The great ship that wrecked long ago. I hope this message brings you some kind of peace with your loss of your ship. To describe the horrific scene by this writer who was onboard “The Great Falcon” during a bad thunderstorm, he was to be the only surviver of this shipwreck. He describes in this book, what it was like to be lying down on the deck next to the dead & touching them. I tell you, you would not want that memory that he had to live with. There was a baby and a mother onboard that day. The day another ship happened to come by who rescued the late Great Lord Alfred Tennyson. It is one thing to loose your ship; but it is totally another to live with the memory of those who are lost at sea during a shipwreck & have to live with that in the back of your mind the rest of your life. I hope and pray you didn’t suffer the same fate as Alfred Tennyson did! What a memory in a life to bear that he had! Wishing he could have saved the baby & the baby’s mother. The storm was too much for him to do anyhing about saving their lives! You could read his reaction to this horrific event in his life in this book. Makes you feel lucky compared to Alfred. Again, I hope you never get to see this exact scene; whereby you are the only surviver of the memory of being helpless to saving a baby & it’s mother’s life; for the rest of your life, like Alfred had too!

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