Minney to Show 1959 ‘Kelpie Goes to Tahiti’ Film

Byline: The Log Staff

Minney to Show 1959 ‘Kelpie Goes to Tahiti’ Film

NEWPORT BEACH — In 1959, when most boats were made of wood and celestial navigation was the norm, George Minney set sail for the South Pacific. The family’s 65-foot schooner Kelpie was crewed by a few hearty friends and George’s 18- and 21-year-old sons, Owen and Ernie, who today operates Minney’s Yacht Surplus in Costa Mesa.

Armed with a 16mm movie camera, Ernie captured the adventure on color film: a classic ocean passage, tropical islands and the dramatic peaks of Tahiti and Moorea in a time before jet travel.

“Our first landfall and navigation check was to be Guadalupe Island, 300 miles from Newport Beach,” Ernie Minney recalled on his blog (at minneys.blogspot.com). “Just one problem: Dad can’t find the island.

“‘No problema,’ Dad said, “Bring in the big parachute anchor, hoist the sails and I’m shaping a course for Nuka Hiva — only 3,000 miles away.’ Later the same afternoon, we go to start the engine and find that by laying too on the big sea anchor all night, seawater pounded up the exhaust pipe and filled the engine with water, and put it out of commission for the next 75 days!

“Weeks later, we neared the equator and encountered our first tropical squall,” Ernie Minney recalled. “As the black mushroom-shaped cloud came down on our port beam, Dad said, “Sheet the sails in flat, the wind seems to be dying.” Wow: We learned first hand what a knockdown was.”

Ernie Minney will present the film at a rare showing to benefit the Orange Coast College of Sailing and Seamanship, from 7-9 p.m. March 1 at the school, at 1801 W. Coast Highway. The cost is $15 per person.

“This isn’t just any old family film, but a classic bit of Newport sailing history — narrated by Ernie himself, our favorite raconteur,” stated an announcement of the film showing, from Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship. “Don’t miss this evening of adventure, fun — and the soon-to-be-famous ‘Minney Mutiny.’”

For more information, call the school at (949) 645-9412 or visit occsailing.augusoft.net.

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