Sailors' Series 2023 - New Bedford Whaling Museum

2023 Sailors' Series Lectures: ALL HANDS ON DECK, A Modern-day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Doors open at 5:30pm | Program at 6:00pm

$10 for members | $20 for non-members

Supported by Ruth and Hope Atkinson

Supported in part by
The Samuel D. Rusitzky Lecture Fund

The Sailors’ Series is an annual, legacy lecture series of the New Bedford Whaling Museum that presents a wide variety of experiences and adventures by individuals with lifelong commitments to sailing, boats, and the sea.

Sailors’ Series 2023 is sponsored by:


Babbitt Steam Specialty Company

ALL HANDS ON DECK, A Modern-day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World!

In the late 1990s, Patrick O’Brian’s beloved, massively bestselling historical novel series was destined for film, with Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World. While director Peter Weir and stars Russel Crowe and Paul Bettany were signed on, there was only one problem: The Rose, the replica eighteenth-century warship that the filmmakers had bought for the production, was in Newport, Rhode Island, two oceans and thousands of miles away from Hollywood.

Enter a ragtag crew of thirty oddballs and tall-ship fanatics, including author Will Sofrin, at the time a 21-year-old wooden-boat builder and yacht racer looking for some direction in his life. Together, the crew embarked on an epic adventure, racing a ticking clock and fighting against Mother Nature, and occasionally each other, to deliver the Rose, hopefully in one piece.

This is a story about human relationships and survival as a crew of thirty men and women are pressed to quickly learn how to sail a replica of an old British warship 6,000 miles to Hollywood. The clock was ticking, tens of millions of dollars were on the line, they came close to sinking, and could have died, all while trying to deliver a movie prop.

The program includes a narrated presentation by Will Sofrin, featuring a curated selection of film footage and photographs from the passage. The presentation is then followed by a Q&A

Will Sofrin photo

Will Sofrin is a master shipwright who has taught at MIT and has built boats for Billy Joel and Estée Lauder. As a former professional sailor and licensed captain, he has tracked more than 30,000 blue-water miles. Today, he is a freelance writer for numerous maritime periodicals such as: Classic Boat Magazine, Cruising World, Latitude 38, Ocean Navigator, Pacific Yachting, Points East Magazine, Sea History Journal, Soundings, and WoodenBoat.

Doors open at 5:30 PM. Program begins at 6:00 PM in the Cook Memorial Theater. A cocktail reception with lite bites will follow.