Young skipper lives in the past

Published on Thu, Aug 16, 2001 by Christne Callan

Read More News

Young skipper lives in the past

By Christne Callan

Eighteenth-century sailing is not just a hobby for 21-year-old, Ryan Meyer. It’s a lifestyle. “This is where I reside, he said.”

Originally from Lancaster, California, Meyer has spent three hundred and sixty four days a year, for the past three and a half years aboard the tallship Lady Washington. He has been the captain for the last year and a half.

“My parents didn’t like the idea of me spending so much time on a boat,” Meyer said. “But when I got my license they realized I was serious.”

His family did a lot of small boat sailing when Meyer was younger, which encouraged his passion for the sport. Meyer was 18 when he first saw the Lady Washington as it sailed by in Ventura, California. He kiddingly asked one of the crew members what one had to do to work aboard the ship and two days later he was on board as a volunteer. Now the only position he hasn’t held is the cook.

“There are so many aspects of land life on the boat,” he said. “We carry twenty-first century living on board and we must have the people who know how to keep it running.” Although the vessel carries modern life, the crew plays the part with historical costume to fit eighteenth century life.

The Lady Washington usually stays no longer than two weeks in one place and the crew is like family. “Developing shoreside relationships is hard,” Meyer said. “Your life doesn’t exceed the yellow boards (the deck).”

Volunteers usually work anywhere from two to eight weeks and a crew of up to 400 are in constant rotation. A permanent position usually lasts six months to a year. The present crew is 13 members but has been as few as five and as many as twenty two.

Meyer plans to continue in the sailing industry either by working with tallships or possibly moving ashore and working at a shipyard around Bellingham. He wants to learn more about what makes the boats tick.

“Aye,” Meyer said. “I’ve learned so much. The education and the training you get is what I value most.”..

Back to Top