I Am The Child of Cimba
November 29, 2009 by rtwsenior
Today, out of curiosity, I decided to look up a book called The Saga of Cimba on Amazon.com. It’s the story of my father’s around-the-world sailing attempt as navigator on the rather famous little schooner, The Cimba, with Dick Maury, who owned the vessel and wrote this sailor’s classic of a nautical book. Originally published in 1939, this little volume keeps getting reprinted. Then, I decided to write the following review for the book, which I share for you here:
“The story of The Saga of Cimba has been part of my family history all of my life, and it just occurs to me, as I sit to write this review, that I actually owe my existence to that voyage of the little vessel, Cimba. Therefore, at the grand age of 72, I claim the title, Child of The Cimba! How so? Well, my father was Russell “Dombey” Dickinson, who was recruited to fill the navigator role after Dick’s first partner, Carrol Huddleston, fell overboard. Father sailed on the Cimba until Pago-Pago, Samoa, where he decided to sail home and marry the sweetheart he’d found in Bermuda, while Cimba was being outfitted for the Pacific. That sweetheart was my mother, Kathleen Caffee, an American of Bermudian ancestry. I was born nine months after Russ returned to New York.
That’s not really the end of the story, though it is the end of the Cimba portion. I’ll just throw in this unknown information to round it out for you. Someday, I may find a way to publish The Saga of The Seth Parker, using Father’s manuscript about his arduous voyage home from the South Pacific. It’s a wild tale alright.
In Samoa, he signed on as Second Mate for a lumbering, four-masted schooner on its last legs, which had earlier been outfitted for an around the world broadcast venture for Phillips Lord, a popular radio character of the 1930’s, who went by the stage name of Seth Parker. That venture ended with a hurricane, scaring the land-lubbers and severely damaging the ship. Russ set sail to deliver this derelict to new owners in Hawaii and kept a well-written account of events which seemed orchestrated to guarantee a watery grave for the Samoan crew and officers; as well as a nice, fat check from Lloyd’s of London for the Hawaiian ship buyers. Mutiny against a drug-addicted, unqualified captain was finally necessary in order to call for a Coast Guard tow, so that this bedraggled prize could be laid at the feet of the angry owners. This is one of those “truth is so much stranger than fiction” stories, which I hope will one day be told. And, since Hollywood is not likely to notice the script I’ve written about it; I shall probably soon publish the work myself.
In the meantime, this Daughter of Cimba, has fulfilled Dombey’s original intent by traveling around the world herself and living to tell about it; though I didn’t take the same route, nor means of transport, that my father attempted. I recommend my book, Hey Boomers, Dust Off Your Backpacks.”