March 4, 2012

Leroy Zerlang inspects a hole in the hull of the Golden Rule before restoration begins.

I have been following Eureka-area Veterans For Peace and their progress restoring the Golden Rule, a 30-foot wooden boat that in 1958 sailed toward the Marshall Islands atomic test area to protest nuclear weapons. I was invited to the veterans’ Whiskey Plank Party celebrating completion of the restored hull. What an eclectic gathering: local activists, Quaker pacifists, boat rats and Vietnam vets, most of them dealing with some form of PTSD. Live protest songs, a fund-raising auction and, of course, whiskey.


Chuck Dewitt shows off the nearly restored hull of the Golden Rule.

The restoration is two-thirds complete, says Leroy Zerlang, a fifth-generation Eureka boat operator who has donated his boat yard for the project. The vets expect to launch the Golden Rule in August and have it seaworthy by next summer. The plan is to sail the ketch to San Francisco, host of the 2013 America’s Cup races. Clearly this will be no ordinary entry!