Started Sailing

Why I started a Sea Scout Ship

by Don Cravens
(Farmington, NM, USA)

In 1968, I was working as an Engineer on the Farmington Fire Department.

I purchased a Luger Kit Boat and it was delivered to my house. It was a 16 foot Luger Leeward sailboat and I started to put it together.

This was my first boat and I knew nothing about sailing. I thought: "What is there to know? Put the sails up and go!".

I talked my brother into going with me out to a small lake near town. Four hours later we had to hail a small fishing boat to tow us back to the ramp! My brother said he would never get on a sailboat with me again, so there I was with a boat I could not handle and no one would come near it.

I went to the library and got three books on handling a small sailboat, still I could not get even my wife to go with me much less anyone else.

My wife said why don't you start a Boy Scout Troop to get a crew. I contacted the local leaders and they said you need Sea Scouts. I then started reading about Sea Scout Ships and Even sponsored the unit myself.

I love working with youngsters that want to learn somthing new. I learned from the books the basic skills and worked up from there. At one time the unit owned 8 small boats (power) and 8 small sailboats. We had the Luger of mine and 3 Sunflowers ,a Larson 12 foot cat rigged boat, a Klepper Fold Boat, and others, the names of which escape me.

My Scouts never failed to amaze me. In fact one of them is now in my Coast Guard unit. After finishing high school he went into the US Coast Guard and became a Coxswain on a Surf Boat. While in the Scouts he earned the Quartermaster Award, which is the same thing as Eagle Scout. When he returned to Farmington after many years working here and there, I talked him into joining the Auxiliary and now he is one of my Staff officers.

That's how I became a Sea Scout Skipper and stayed with the Scouts for more than 24 years. I gave them up as of December 31 2009. Most kids now just want to do video games anymore and most schools will not let you talk to students anymore.

Thanks for reading this,
Don Cravens

Comments for Why I started a Sea Scout Ship

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May 27, 2010
An interesting history
by: Don

Hi Don,

I really enjoyed reading your interesting account except for the last paragraph. I know you didn’t write to StartedSailing for this reason but I think you certainly deserve a pat on the back for your determination, and the giving of yourself to all the young people you nurtured. They won’t forget it.

Do you ever sail now? I'll bet you wouldn't have any trouble finding a crew now!

Thanks for sharing with us and the best to you.

Don Lytle

May 31, 2010
Hundreds of ways to learn to sail!
by: Han

Hi Don Cravens (& Don Lytle),

You surely left a trail; maybe you're more of a teacher -you must be gifted, see the results you got- than you thought?
I was involved with the seascouts too; not with the organisation but by way of the boats they and I used, totally different from yours. Our boats
were steel, very heavy and also used by Scouting Ireland.

Hope to hear more from you,



May 06, 2011
Why I started a Sea Scout Ship
by: Don Cravens

Hi Lytle & Han : I have never regreted my time as a Skipper for Sea Scouts,and some of my first scouts still come to see me. I still sail,I own three sailboats(22 catalina,22 foot Hunter,24 ft. Macgregor Venture) and I have use of a 30ft. catalina. I would do it all agan if I could. I am now the Commander of a US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla and we patrol Navajo Lake and surrounding lakes. My 24 ft Bayliner is a USCGAUX Facility(Patrol Boat).As I said, I wish I could get youngsters to get interested in sailind,that is my first love. My second love is Jeeping,I own two jeeps ,a Wrangler and a Cherokee. Thanks

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