My Memory of the HMS Rose


The following is the introduction to the 10 part story I have posted over the last two weeks. If you would like to read the whole story, please read parts 1 through 10 as listed in my blog

Thank you.


And now for the introduction which will offer you some insight to my mind before I decided to go off alone on a series of flights to the Azores to meet the Rose.


HMS Victory in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard -1989 photo by Challen Yee

HMS Victory in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard -1989 photo by Challen Yee


The Introduction 

To reminisce about a sailing trip doesn’t usually begin with the mention of a death in the family, but in May of 1996, my dad passed away from cancer. His death caused me to ponder upon life and lost opportunities. In time I realized, the reality of death cannot overcome the prevailing winds of life. From a broader perspective, death can be perceived in various forms, but despite the seemingly insurmountable burdens, it is not an end unto itself; rather, death is a passage through which newness of life is discovered.

As I look back at my choice to spend some time with the Rose, I needed to get away. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary that had great personal relevance. It needed to be a celebration of life, the kind of celebration that we all could choose but often defer for one dutiful obligation or another. By getting away to the Rose, I feel I became one of the fortunate minority who, albeit for a short time, got loose from the doldrums of status‑quo society and its relentless threat to crush every effort to be free from it.

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with ships of all sorts, but as an adult, my focus centered upon tallships. Although small boat sailing has been my hobby, my interest in the great wooden sailing ships came largely from reading books.

While serving in the U.S. Navy (1980‑1986), where I was often under the sea in a submarine, the classic tales of life aboard sailing ships provided my imagination wonderfully satisfying experiences. My interest in the world of sailing and its history was instilled in me when I read Richard H. Dana, Jr.’s, Two Years Before the Mast. From then on, one book led to another. Among several books, I had read Alexander Kent’s Richard Bolitho series, followed by C.S. Forester’s venerable Hornblower.

History books about the Royal Navy were always welcome. Every account from Admiral Byng’s tragic failure to Nelson’s glorious victories, provided profound insights into human suffering and human nature, not to mention, of course, the great ships.

After my career in the Navy, I eventually found myself adjusting to a civilian office job. During this time, fortunately, I discovered dear Patrick O’Brian’s magnificent writings. They were to keep my mind focused on life at sea, though I was engulfed by my life on land.

I am pleased to share with you some memories of my two weeks aboard the Rose. It has been about six years since my experience and I am writing completely from memory.


Challen K. Yee

copyright © 2002 Challen K. Yee



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Challen Yee

Challen Yee

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