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Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Memorial Tribute to Captain J.C. Waters

August 18, 1941 - February 14, 2012

Captain J.C. Waters teaching a maritime course aboard his schooner Spirit of Independence.  Photo by Joe Elder.
We first met J.C. Waters in the spring of 2006 when he and his daughter Joy visited our store (then at 629 High Street) while on a voyage up the Atlantic coast aboard the"Spirit of Independence". J.C. had recently completed and launched the schooner in his hometown of Independence, Missouri, and was in search of a new location to relocate the schooner. We talked extensively during his first visit about the "Spirit of Independence" and told J.C. all about our quaint historic seaport, Olde Towne Portsmouth. He invited Alison and me to visit his schooner moored at Tidewater Yacht, so we met him after closing for a tour of the Spirit. What a magnificent vessel it was. 

We stayed in contact via e-mail and J.C. kept us abreast of his travel and search for a new place to call home. A year passed by when we received correspondence from J.C. about his plans to return to Portsmouth. After numerous visits to other ports of call, J.C. had chosen Portsmouth to be his new residence. He, like many of us had a vision and could see the potential of Portsmouth as his chosen destination. We all applauded his decision and certainly welcomed him, Marsha and Joy as new residents!

J.C., Marsha and Joy quickly became involved as part of the Olde Towne community and after careful   planning, started his charter business and the "Spirit of Independence" became a regular fixture at the High Street Landing and sailing along the Elizabeth River. Many of Portsmouth and other Hampton Roads residents have crewed along with J.C. and Joy aboard the "Spirit" on weekend sails on the Elizabeth, a sail to Bermuda and as participants in four of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Races.  We at Skipjack have worked along side J.C. as a booking agent and to assist in marketing his sailing adventures. I personally had the pleasure to be one of the crew on his last Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race- an adventure that I will certainly remember for a lifetime.

Alison and I will forever miss J.C.'s visits to Skipjack, his wonderful Missouri demeanor, his pleasant manner and non-stop smile. Here's to you  J.C.. You will surely be missed by one and all!

Captain J.C. Waters raises the City of Portsmouth flag high above the schooner. Photo by Joe Elder.
Joseph Clinton “J.C.” Waters, was born August 18, 1941, in Independence, MO and graduated from William Chrisman High School where he excelled in track and football.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree from CMSU and his Master’s in Education from UMKC. He taught for many years in the Independence School District, retiring in 1997.

J.C. Waters standing by the hull of the Spirit of Independence. Photo by Joy Waters.
J.C. combined his love of sailing with business as the owner of Porte Des Voyageurs (translated as Door of the Travelers) boat shop in Independence for thirty-five years. He realized his life-long dream by building the seventy-six foot schooner, The Spirit of Independence, which was launched in 2005 from Independence. Following a maiden cruise through rivers and locks to the Atlantic Ocean, the Spirit made her home in Portsmouth, VA where she started charters and tours in 2009.

Captain J.C. Waters at the helm of his schooner "Spirit of Independence." Photo by Allen Graves.
J.C. was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say (Hard-way Warrior Sachem Swift ShootingStar) and a Sea Explorer where he was Skipper of Ship 204 and achieved the Quartermaster Award (similar to Eagle Scout). J.C. was a licensed Merchant Marine Captain granted by the U.S. Coast Guard and a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He was also an avid flyer and previously had a pilot’s license. In addition to his sailing and flying skills, J.C. was an accomplished marksman, master carpenter, silversmith and metal fabricator. 

Captain Waters standing on the deck of the Spirit of Independence, Baltimore, Md. , Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Photo by Allen Graves.

J.C. was preceded in death by his brother Michael Waters and parents Alfred and Verla Waters. He is survived by his wife of forty-five years, Marsha Waters, of the home; son Jarrod Waters and wife Melinda of Grain Valley, MO; daughter Janet Tracy and husband Carl of Independence, MO; daughter Joy Waters of Chesapeake, VA; brother Paul Waters and wife Nancy of Overland Park,

Schooner Spirit of Independence built by J.C. Waters in Independence, Missouri.

The eighth bell has now been rung,
Your watch is now complete.
But the ship must still be guarded,
and I will not fall asleep.
For tomorrow brings a new adventure
And though the seas be thick,
I will recall my Captain’s words
And hit another lick.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Battle of Hampton Roads; 150 Years Today

"The Battle of the Ironclds by Bob Holland. Oil on canvas. The Ironclad battle in Hampton Roads, Virginia, March 9, 1862 as described on the brass name plate located at the bottom center of the frame. Measures 30 X 54 inches framed.

The Battle of Hampton Roads that took place 150 years ago today, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (or ex-Merrimac) or the Battle of Ironclads between the USS MONITOR and the CSS VIRGINIA, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies. It was fought over two days, March 8–9, 1862, in Hampton Roads, a roadstead in Virginia where the Elizabeth and Nansemond Rivers meet the James River just before it enters the Chesapeake Bay. The battle was a part of the effort of the Confederacy to break the Union blockade, which had cut off Virginia's largest cities, Norfolk and Richmond, from international trade.

The major significance of the battle is that it was the first meeting in combat of ironclad warships. The Confederate fleet consisted of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia (built at the Gosport Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia on the burned out hull of the USS Merrimack) and several supporting vessels. On the first day of battle, they were opposed by several conventional, wooden-hulled ships of the Union Navy. On that day, Virginia was able to destroy two ships of the Federal flotilla and was about to attack a third, USS Minnesota, which had run aground. However, the action was halted by darkness and falling tide, so Virginia retired back to the Gosport Navy yard to take care of her few wounded — which included her captain, Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan — and repair her minimal battle damage.

The CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor by Bob Holland. Oil on canvas. The Ironclad battle in Hampton Roads, Virginia, March 9, 1862 as described on the brass name plate located at the bottom center of the frame. Measures 30 X 54 inches framed.

Determined to complete the destruction of the Minnesota, Catesby ap Roger Jones, acting as captain in Buchanan's absence, returned the ship to the fray the next morning, March 9. During the night, however, the ironclad USS Monitor had arrived and had taken a position to defend Minnesota. When Virginia approached, Monitor intercepted her. The two ironclads fought for about three hours, with neither being able to inflict significant damage on the other. The duel ended indecisively, Virginia returning to her home at the Gosport Navy Yard for repairs and strengthening, and Monitor to her station defending Minnesota. The ships did not fight again, and the blockade remained in place.

The battle received worldwide attention, and it had immediate effects on navies around the world. The preeminent naval powers, Great Britain and France, halted further construction of wooden-hulled ships, and others followed suit. A new type of warship was produced, the monitor, based on the principle of the original. The use of a small number of very heavy guns, mounted so that they could fire in all directions was first demonstrated by Monitor but soon became standard in warships of all types. Shipbuilders also incorporated rams into the designs of warship hulls for the rest of the century.

The two paintings above were created byVirginia artist bob Holland and are currently on exhibit in the Chelsea Room at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery.  Here are links to the pages devoted to these Bob Holland paintings on our web gallery. "The Battle of the Ironclads"  and the The CSS VIRGINIA vs. the USS MONITOR