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Happy 100th birthday to Herb Weiss!

by Daria Blackwell 9 Oct 2018 13:31 UTC

Beloved members Herb & Ruth Weiss, m/v 'Ancient Mariners', celebrate a milestone in life. Their OCC friends bid Herb many more years of happy cruising.

On October 2, 2018, Herb Weiss our new Port Officer for Boca Raton, Florida was 100 years young. Herb & Ruth have been OCC members since 2005, having qualified on s/v 'Windpower' after an Atlantic crossing from Gran Canaria to Barbados in 1989.

Previously in Marion Mass, more recently in Annapolis, they have just moved to Boca Raton overlooking the ocean. When a strange boat sails in, Ruth is the first down with offers of a meal, a shower, laundry, and a trip to the grocery store. Herb is still captaining his small trawler up and down the coast. They are a force to be reckoned with - everyone in US sailing knows them! Members have been sending in tributes to Herb in celebration of his birthday.

Sid and Rebecca Shaw have been keeping track of Herb's accomplishments:

  • In his 100 years, he has never applied for a job or for university admission, but has always been recruited.
  • He is proud of saying that half the things he does are "below average".
  • When he bought 'WINDPOWER', he had to fight with Hallberg-Rassy to have a proper workbench, with vise, in place of the aft cabin head.
  • At the age of 18, he built a TV receiver and, when he could not receive any signal, he traveled to the Empire State building and showed the RCA engineers where their problem was with their transmitter.
  • At the age of 22, when he was in London developing systems for guiding allied bombers over Germany, he had the civilian rank equivalent to full colonel!
  • He worked on the Manhattan Project to ensure the reliability of the arming electronics of the first atomic bombs.
  • He did work on antennas for radio astronomy during the early days of this field.
  • With Pacific Gas & Electric, he created the first wind farm for renewable energy.
Dick & Moira Bentzel note:

Herb is not only a wonderful friend and mentor, but he has made numerous contributions throughout his career. He is quiet and unassuming and never wants to be the center of attention. For Dick and I, Herb is a mentor and friend, always willing to share his knowledge. He has a great sense of humor, often coming up with hilarious one-liners. Both Herb and Ruth have generously opened up their homes in both Annapolis and Boca Raton to many visiting cruisers. In fact, while on the Maine Mini-Cruise, Jenny CT announced that Herb and Ruth had volunteered to become the new POs for Boca Raton, FL. We count ourselves as being very lucky to count them as our friends.

From Mary and Christian Verlaque s/v 'I Wanda':

We are happy to have shared many anchorages with Herb and Ruth, both from the 'Windpower' days and now with the 'Ancient Mariners'. They are truly wonderful friends and sailors (who up anchor as we do at first light or earlier). We hope to be cruising Maine with them again next summer.

From George and Nancy Marvin, POs Hobie Sound, Fl:

Herb has been a great mentor to us over many years. He has been and continues to be a brilliant person. His involvement with the development of radar and later on as a pioneer in the use of wind power is truly inspirational. Perhaps the one thing which stands out above everything else, however, has been Herb's daily visit with the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. How many times have we seen a completed NY Times crossword puzzle sitting on an end table at their home or condo or various places on 'WINDPOWER' and later 'ANCIENT MARINERS', completed in ink by Herb!

One other noteworthy recollection of Herb is his wide collection of jokes. One of his frequently told jokes, especially after he and Ruth transitioned to power, is, "What do you call a sailor who has gone to power?" The answer, "A trans-vesselite"!

From Dick DeGrasse, PO Isleboro:

Dr. Professor Herb Weiss is my mentor. He is an MIT Professor with his PhD in Electrical Engineering. Early in my EE career I worked with Herb's MIT friends at EG&E in Boston doing incredibly secret work. He and I have spent many hours on my living room couch here at Islesboro talking about his WWII history changing radar work during the battle of Britain, work which targeted the Luftwaffe bombers over the English Channel before they got to London. Because of Herb and the RAF a lot of German bombers never made it to London and are on the bottom of the channel. After his radar work he worked on the design of the atomic bomb. Only once in a lifetime does an engineer such as I get to spent time with a person such as Herb. Congratulations Herb!

Happy Birthday, Herb. The Flag Officers and Committee of OCC wish you many more years of happy cruising. Thanks for being our friend, fellow member and mentor to so many.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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