Welcome Aboard

Meet Captain Joe McGee. A simple man, with extravagant dreams. Everything which Captain Joe McGee had thought, was everything which Captain Joe McGee did. For best example, consider knowing that Captain Joe McGee was not always Captain Joe McGee. At one time Captain Joe McGee was just plain old Joe McGee. But one day Joe McGee had a dream, and that dream was that he should become a sea captain and sail the world. And so, that is exactly what he did. In late spring of 1962, Joe McGee sold all his belongings and spent his life savings to purchase a shrimping vessel from a scrapyard located in Northern Maine. He had named this vessel the SS Newport.

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Captain Joe McGee. circa 1962

The decision had rendered Captain Joe McGee’s friends and family scratching their heads. Captain Joe McGee was never known to be a particularly bright man, but at this point most had decided that he’d lost what mind he did have. “You’ll never make it,” they all told him. “You’ll get lost at sea and never come back,” they said. But Captain Joe McGee was determined set his sails despite their words–Though, not without his loyal crew, however–there enter Winston Filter, Captain Joe McGee’s first-mate.

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First-mate Winston Filter. circa 1962

First-mate Winston Filter, not unlike Captain Joe McGee was a fervid dreamer. The two men had met just three days before the SS Newport set its sails. Captain Joe McGee was down on himself on that night that they’d met, as the many naysayers in his life had finally gotten to him; he was almost ready to give up the dream altogether when then, Winston Filter entered his life. Winston Filter had said but two words to Captain Joe McGee. Only two words he said: “Welcome aboard.” Captain Joe McGee knew it right there and then that the rest was to be history and that they were to write it. Together. And so they did. That they did.

Observed a British sailor. name unknown. circa 1963

It was a thing of magic what had happened in those waters; nothing short of magic, indeed. The two men had not any experience whatsoever in sailing, but when the SS Newport hit through the ocean waves, its mighty force would not dare to strike the men back. Together they sailed all across the world. In each port where they stopped they’d say but the two magic words, and as they did so their ship’s crew increased–every time as they would–the crew grew and grew and grew. Everyone encountered had wanted in on the action; everyone had wanted to sail on the SS Newport. Everyone had wanted, to be on board. Yes, the reviews were in: The SS Newport was a smashing success.

Jerry Spanish. Boarded, circa 1963

Sailors simply loved them. They all felt the two men were the best two seamen any of them had ever met. And, everyone adored Winston Filter’s sense of style; even as being the rugged sailors that they were, they still had to admit, Winston Filter was a man of impeccable taste. Some sailors had even gone so far in this to have said of Winston that, he could pose in a magazine as a sailor and pull it off flawlessly. One sailor in particular to have noted on this sentiment was known by the name Ben GreenWall, or as how Winston Filter often referred to him, Benny Greens.

Ben GreenWall. AKA “Benny Greens.” Boarded, circa 1967

Yes, the dream had come true. All was in fruition. Captain Joe McGee had done it again. By 1967, the SS Newport was known well by seamen the world over. The legend had become. In short time the two magic words had truly entered as an important function of the basic jargon among sailors; everyone was saying it, whether they sailed on the SS Newport or not, everyone was saying, “Welcome aboard.”

Terry Cummins. Amateur sailor/SS Newport enthusiast. circa 1971


Chauncey Phillips. SS Newport historian. circa 1971

By 1974, Captain Joe McGee had circled the world seven times. This however, was not done in the way of any specific intention; it had merely just happened to work out in this way, as there was but only ever one mission found onboard the SS Newport, and that mission was but simply to sail. And in that, the SS Newport did. That it did.

Admiral Florence Salvador, of Italian Navy, asked in wonder. Salvador was a staunch supporter of the SS Newport. photo circa 1974.


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Admiral Taylor Jones, US Navy, famously told reporters regarding his tour of McGee’s vessel, 1976


Captain Joe McGee’s response to the Admiral. 1976. This is the only known photograph of Captain Joe McGee without his captain’s hat.

Yes, it certainly had seemed as if the good times would never end. Captain Joe McGee and First-mate Winston Filter had sailed themselves straight into the farthest depths of nautical royalty. And there they’d dropped their anchor; Legends of the sea they were indeed. Some still say that the good times never ended–and man were those some good times indeed that were had onboard on the SS newport.

Tony Wilco. Boarded, circa 1978


Michael Billings. Boarded, circa 1974


Richard Glass. Known as the “ship clown.” Monkeying around. Boarded, circa 1967.


Sea captain, Captain RJ Reynolds, of the famous SS Mico, noted in regards to his frequent encounters with Captain Joe McGee. circa 1983.

In a perfect world, the sky would rain down beer and the earth would be made of steak. But this is not a perfect world (last time I checked). In this world, all people are bound to commit costly errors. One such person to ever commit one such error was a man by the name Lionel Cuttingham.

Captain Joe McGee met Lionel Cuttingham in 1980, on a small island off the coast of Madagascar. There, on that day Lionel Cuttingham’s infamous decision had forever cemented his name in the common folklore of nautical history. Lionel Cuttingham is remembered, to this day as the only man to have ever denied the two magic words. Yes. That’s right. You read correctly: Lionel Cuttingham was invited to be on board and yet, Lionel Cuttingham turned this offer down. Absurd but true. And do trust as well, that Lionel cuttingham lived to regret this–most immensely.

Lionel Cuttingham, wrote this in his diary, 1982.

Lionel Cuttingham, in addition to his mark of nautical infamy was well noted for his career as a world explorer and naturalist. In that tenure Lionel Cuttingham had traveled much of the globe; he built his life and his name from his many daring adventures in the most remote wildernesses of the world; he was a true land lover, as that would seem, but all the same, as many diary entries have revealed, the decision that he made in 1980 in Madagascar, had haunted his soul for the full remainder of his tragically short life. 

Lionel Cuttingham. Diary entry, 1983

One day, in 1984, Lionel Cuttingham died. He was forty-seven years old. He had died at the horn of a rhinoceroses. Just one hour before his death, Lionel Cuttingham met with a shaman. The shaman had asked Lionel Cuttingham if he had any regrets in this world.

Lionel Cuttingham’s final diary entry. 1984.

Welcome aboard.


One thought on “Welcome Aboard

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