Attempting to catch up with Rachel Roberts in person is like hitchhiking on the Autobahn. I had way more luck working the Berkshires back in the ’60s. Traffic was a whole lot slower then. But, not one to be discouraged by obstacles, I persisted. Lo and behold, Rachel was in town in August, however, for about five minutes, and I missed the window.
In August, the ship, vessel, yacht with which she is affiliated, made a quick stop here during a much anticipated and rigorously planned trip across the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes and Duluth Minnesota. I found this out during one of my regular visits to Brown's Wharf Inn with Michelle and Mother Brown. During these COVID-19 times “The Wharf,” as affectionately known, has scaled back big time with closed restaurant and reduced occupancy. Compliance with State mandates has severely impacted Brown’s as well as many other area properties. The big boat parking spaces at Brown's marina are still busy and Michelle said there had been Captain Phil Roberts sightings. But alas, I missed my chance. In a call to Rachel she said they would return in September on the way back from the Great Lakes trip. Recently, heavy seas in Bar Harbor forced Eccentric, Rachel’s home away from home, to leave early and seek refuge at Brown’s ahead of schedule, last week. Lucky me.
Rachel has a pretty significant job aboard Eccentric which is privately owned and generally occupied by the owner and her family. Rachel’s job is to see that things aboard ship run smoothly which encompasses everything from scheduling travel and dockage to cooking (when needed) to housekeeping and bookkeeping. It’s an expertise that has evolved through over six years of on-oceans' travel.
I met Rachel back when her folks, Karen and Phil Roberts (local royalty) got in touch with me regarding Boothbay Region High school yearbook photos for “R”! Phil and I had crossed paths back in Eliot Winslow tugboat days over around BIW. I think he may have been driving the tug, from the roof of which I tried to capture (in subfreezing temps) the maneuvering of a frigate. My finger joints still ache recalling a death grip on my metal Hasselblad camera as we shifted around in the Kennebec for a better view. Bless you Phil. Captain Winslow was not happy about the amount of fuel we were consuming!
Karen, Phil’s wife, has been a real estate person for some time and now tries to manage Phil’s theatrical productions too. Good luck with that!
Rachel is headed for warmer weather now as Eccentric makes her way south, hoping to avoid the ensuing batch of storms. I’m not sure when Rachel will return to the Harbor. I suspect perhaps for the holidays, but not by boat. She will be the captain of a land yacht which, you can be assured, will be capable of high speeds. Safe travel Rachel and all aboard Eccentric. Nice to see you.