Our boats thereafter included two of the commercial 48 footers plus a 40 foot Hood sloop and finally a 32’ Allied Seawind ketch – the latter was a lovely little boat and we kept her for 20 years until just before my husband died in 2005 – none of these ever replaced Vixen in our hearts and dreams.
I live now in Matlacha, Florida – a little island town just outside of Ft. Myers. I have a few photos that you might like to have – but best of all, I have the small brass plaque which was originally secured to the forward frame of the companion-way hatch. One day,, the fasteners failed and it fell off, and we never replaced it. It reads” Joel J. Johnson” “Yacht Builder” “Bridgeport, Conn.” Year 1952’ “N0. 61”. I would like to have it go home to Vixen. If you are ever in this part of the world, call me and I will buy you a drink or three."
I called Jo and had a talk with her about the time she and her husband owned Vixen. She took my address and sent the plaque to my parents in Tacoma. A few days ago my sister delivered it to us here in Maui.
It had always been a mystery as to where the original builder's plaque had gone to. After going missing for 40 years plaque and boat are united again.
The photos Jo sent were also a great discovery. For years I have had a reproduction of Vixen sailing in the 1950s hanging inside the cabin. Now, with the original I have much more detail and can see that Vixen carried a topsail yard which must have been added after her first trip around the world. The other revelation of this old photo is that it is not James Stark, the original owner, at the helm but Jo Brooks herself.
Vixen is now berthed in the inner harbor of Lahaina, Maui. On Monday we will move the boat down the coast to Maalaea Harbor and stay there until the beginning of June. Then we will prepare for our final ocean voyage back to Victoria -- 2,500 miles across the North Pacific and back to Canada from which Vixen sailed over ten years ago.