Te Vega   in the Pacific - 1951

I discovered in 1985 that one of my Business School professors had sailed on TeVega to Tahiti in the 1950s.  TeVega was demasted from the captain pushing her rigging too hard.  Professor Jeffrey Barach relates the story below along with his excellent color slides of TeVega from the period.    Obviously, he was into photography and used a 'Voightlander Vito II on Kodachrome'.  There are some articles relating to this at the bottom of the page.

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Vega in Honolulu in 1951

webVega-Deck-TakenFromMainTopMast-20Pct.jpg (36727 bytes)"I sailed on the Vega (later Te Vega), as a galley boy (serving meals to the crew and assisting the cook), when I was 16 in 1951. She had been acquired by Mr. Cornelius Crane (heir of the plumbing fortune) who sailed her from Los Angeles to Tahiti & Bora Bora while I was on board. He had acquired her after she had been used during the war as an at sea look-out ship, being rolled about in the Pacific swells. He had a big deckhouse and galley added. She had white topsides at time. Our captain was the legendary Capt. Flint. We took 12 passengers to Tahiti, with a crew of 18, I think. In Tahiti she was transferred to French registry to act as a passenger ship between Hawaii and Tahiti -- air service was only to Bora Bora and mostly charter. On the way down we reached 15 - 17 knots at one point but the lee rail was well under water at the time and we flooded the main engine and one generator, so the captain did not indulge in that much fun again. The transfer of registry took months and I had to leave the ship to go back to school. When Vega left Tahiti in December, I later learned that she had a catastrophe at sea, the main mast having broken off at the deck, killing 2 and injuring many others. I was told she was still in Tahiti 4 years later, still having metal work done on her hull. I was told that none of the big schooners carried topmasts any more and that the stress on the masts from rolling about while looking for Japanese subs, etc., must have been severe. When on her shakedown cruise from Long Beach, CA to Hawaii (that's how my summer started) with some paid and some Corinthian crew, we popped a main topmast backstay and at a different time, the bobstay. After that, the cook said this ship was going to have a wreck and that was too much strain on the rigging. He was a terrible pessimist, but this time he was right."   
If you want to contact me, here's my name and email: Jeffrey Barach

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Notice the all the Aft Deck and the small deckhouses.  TeVega has had at least 3 different dechouses over the years.

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Notice that Vega has an interesting deckhouse and bridge.

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Docked in Papeete harbour, Tahiti, from July 18 for the better part of the summer, except for a trip around Tahiti and a trip to Bora Bora

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Another view of the Deckhouse

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Those beautiful sunny sailing days!

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Many pictures were taken at sea between Honolulu and Tahiti and on our side trip to Bora, Bora.

There are a total of 15+ pictures archived as large JPGs with about 1800 x 1200 resolution.  These are just a few that have been scaled down to about 20-25% to fit on a web page.  Contact me for more information.

In 1951, Alex North wrote Cinerama South Seas Adventure which was a large and sweeping score for a panorama film.  Perhaps TeVega was in the film.

From "Alex North at the movies" (not complete score) Fifth Continent Music Classics (FCMC) Label 'X' ATM CD 2004 Copyright 1995, Published 1996 Fifth Continent Australia Pty. Ltd.

  1. Overture
  2. Journey to Hawaii
  3. Ted and Kay
  4. Surf Riding
  5. Start of Te Vega's Voyage
  6. King Neptune
  7. Trip to Tonga
  8. Head Diver Sequence
  9. Driving Through New Zealand
  10. Welcome
  11. Kangaroo Roundup
  12. Finale
  13. End Credits
Composed and conducted by Alex North

TeVega in the 1960's during the Oceanographic Research Years with Stanford University.