Patton’s Schooner “When and If” to be Sold

When and If

In 1939 then Colonel General George S. Patton had a 63’5″ John Alden designed schooner built for himself and his wife.  Another world war was looming on the horizon and Patton said that he planned to sail the schooner, “When the war is over, and if I survive.”  He named the schooner When and If. Ironically, Patton survived the fighting but died in a traffic accident just as the war ended.

I have always had a hard time imagining “Blood and Guts” Patton sailing an Alden schooner.  That may only reflect the limitations of my own imagination.  “When and If” stayed in the Patton family until 1970 when it was donated to the Landmark School north of Boston, where for over 20 years, she was used in sail training programs for dyslexic children. (Patton himself was dyslexic.)  The schooner was almost lost in 1990 when she broke free of her moorings during a November gale.   After being hauled off the rocks she was rebuilt by the Gannon & Benjamin Boatyard of Martha’s Vineyard.   See our previous post.   “When and If” has been sailing ever since.

Sadly, we have read that she is now on the market due to an impending divorce.   We can only wish her current and future owners well and hope that the lovely schooner continues sailing for years to come.

Storied Schooner Once Owner by General Patton to be Sold

Note: Every time we make a post about a ship or boat for sale, we receive inquiries from interested buyers. We are, however, a blog and not a brokerage.  We are not involved with the sale of this or any other vessels.

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25 Responses to Patton’s Schooner “When and If” to be Sold

  1. Steven Toby says:

    When I last visited Vineyard Haven, “When and If” was moored in the harbor and I found out she was available for charter. It was a crewed charter, of course. Having spent a week on an Alden schooner in my teens I had a momentary impulse to just take her out for a day sail. I asked how much that would cost and the answer scotched that idea at once.

    General Patton was quite well off — he did not have to fund the schooner out of his Army paychecks. The schooner’s new owners will also have to be well heeled, but recalling that never to be forgotten week in 1969 I am convinced she is a very desirable cruising yacht, even aside from her unique history. Let’s hope she finds the right owner.

    I read somewhere that “you can’t really own a classic yacht — you just get to take care of her for a while.” I’m sure it’s true. If anyone recognizes the source of this quote, please add a comment to remind me of it.

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  3. Gives new meaning to “splitting the sheets…”

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    LOL. It does indeed.

  5. Chris says:

    I was fortunate enough to sail on the When and If, and it was an outstanding experience! Fortunately, the adventure was free!

  6. Soren says:

    As a teen over sevral summers I was able to enjoy several weeks aboard this wonderfull ship. Time aboard can not be equaled.
    “there is nothing so important as mucking about in boats” quote the shrew. Was the motto of the landmark sailing program.

  7. Jack says:

    It is 1:25 pm on August 24, 2012. I am looking out the the cottage doors at When & If moored to the pier about 50 yards away. It is a gorgeous sunny day in Booth Bay Harbor, ME and the classic Alden schooner is slowly rising on the incoming tide. Her glass like black hull, white boot strap, and a wisp of a red hull are sparkling in the bright summer heat. Her carefully tied sails appear to be an off white pleasing yellow in the sun. One can sense her power as she seems to to pull with some enthusiasm at her lines. I only hope the General had the opportunity to sail her at least once before leaving for Europe. Fair winds and following seas to her new owner.
    Jack, an old sailor.

  8. Kramer says:

    Saw the where an if. In beacon bay Cayuga ny, being pulled out store for the winter.

  9. Matt says:

    Yep. They are working on her over the winter. She should be sailing in the tall ships on the great lakes loop next season.

    It goes without saying, but a beautiful, beautiful boat.

  10. John G. Ray says:

    She was not my first schooner experience by any means. However she will never pale in my minds eye. I sailed aboard the ‘When and If’ during the (first/bicentennial) 76 tall ships regatta in Newport as well as many day sails out of Manchester when she was owned by Landmark and skippered by Cap’ Grimes.
    @ Soren, upthread…
    ““there is nothing so important as mucking about in boats” quote the shrew.
    I thought it was the Water rat that said that ?

  11. BG Mitchell says:

    I just happened upon this blog and having much experience with ‘When and If” I thought I would say hello. I have much I wish to share but these big old hands and this tiny virtual keyboard are not a good combination so I will wait ’til I am, comfortably, aboard my 1956 Matthews at the PC (and arm’s length from the Mount Gay!). I own and operate a small concern on Cape Ann, MA that charters sailboats/powerboats/airplanes and offers carpentry and mechanical services. I am researching the possiblity of adding “When and If” to the family (ergo my presence here). I do have beaucoup pictures of the vessel from the mid 60’s to her being “on the rock’s” in Manchester – (by-the-Sea… gag!) in 1990 (?). I will post more, soon. If you wish to get in touch, please do! By NO MEANS, is this a business advertisement or solicitation. I just have a love for this old Alden and some unique knowledge of her history from her inception & conception in the late ’20s to her, induced, labor & delivery in ’38/39. Long gestation period but, imho, so worth the wait!
    Yours for a fair tide,
    Vin Mitchell
    P. S., I am winging it here but, by definition, a quote, demands accuracy. Isn’t the popular quip from Kenneth Grahame’s, “The Wind in the Willows”…. Ratty to Mole; “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” If accurate, thanks Miss Twomey (8th grade English teacher), if not.. Sorry, Mr. Grahame. NOW, how the HELL do I get 5200 off of gorilla glass!? LOL

  12. G Mallon Faircloth says: in (Martha’s) Vineyard Haven has a wonderful photograph and card of When and If. The clerk will tell you the whole story, too.

  13. Denise Barber says:

    I just met someone recently who is currently working on the resoration of “When and If” at a place on the East side of Cayuga Lake. I heard they want to have her ready to sail by November if not sooner. I am looking forward to a trip to the boatyard to check her out! – Another sailing fan!

  14. Chris says:

    While visiting the Finger Lakes for a couple of days of wine and spirit tasting we heard that the “When and If” was nearby in Beacon Bay, Cayuga. With a GPS in hand we headed for Beacon Bay yesterday morning (10/30/2013). The street lead directly to the water’s edge and as we gazed toward the activity on our right, there she was! We missed the actual launch by 20 minutes. When and If was floating on her own and the bilge pumps were working. Doug the owner came over and invited us to participate in the christening. Camera men and a reporter were there. (We presume from Wooden Boat magazine.) She is a beautiful sight. The hull restoration is complete, the cockpit and interior still needs a lot of work. The 500 lb bowsprit was in a trailer nearby.

  15. David Barter says:

    I was a crew member on “When and If” in the early 70’s and had the privilege of many and varied sailing experiences aboard her from gentle easy sailing to extremely heavy weather crusing. Through it all she is and will be an able and trusted sailing vessel. To have sailed on her is truly a tremendous experience. I wish her new owners many years of fair winds at their backs!

  16. Patrick says:

    I went to landmark an did thare sea school, I had the pleasure of spending time with when & iff, I miss it,

  17. Brad says:

    I was a student at the Landmark School (1989-1992) and sailed on the “When & If” throughout my years there. She is a magnificent vessel and i wish her many more years at sea.

  18. Steven Gross says:

    I sailed on the When and If at Landmark school. I may have some pictures of a time we were scraping her hull when she was having some keel work done. Her hull was white back then. Captains name was Steve Whidlock or Whitlock I think. It was a great summer learning seamanship and chart navigation along with the regular classes. We visited Wiscasset Maine where she was built as well that summer. Wish I had a better head for names.

  19. David says:

    As most probably now know…she graces the waters of the Great Sodus Bay in Wayne County, New York.

  20. John P. Chalmers says:

    I spotted her sailing down the Hudson under foresail and staysail, mid-morning on June 17th between Catskill and Poughkeepsie .

  21. Stephen Rubino says:

    Had a magnificent sunset cruise on the When and If last night leaving from Stock Island and down pat Key West. With a 20 kt wind Captain Seth Salzmann. We were in awe of the ship’s and pristine condition. As Captain Seth said: ” We are sailing now!”

  22. Franz says:

    My daughter and I had a wonderful cruise on Lake Michigan aboard the “When and If” yesterday here in Chicago, as part of the Tall Ships festival.

    Capt Seth & crew were great, but the weather was a bit dicey. We did, however get under sail, with just a little rain as the fog moved in.

    A beautiful boat in all respects. I hope Seth can arrange to buy her.
    He said the owner was asking $950K.

  23. Doug says:

    I had the chance to sail on When and If during the Tall Ships festival in Green Bay recently. Although the wind wasn’t particularly helpful, Captain Seth and the crew had us under sail for a good while. The peacefulness, the quiet, something about the spirit of a sail boat is awesome. Thanks Captain Seth and the crew. Yeah, I will be back onboard soon.

  24. Andrew says:

    Hour and a half sail out of Marquette Lower Harbor compliments of spouse Debi. When and If in port for Marquette HarborFest 2016.
    Captain Seth with deckhands Jonathan and Joe took us out, giving the history of the boat and showing how they set the sails.
    Great evening!

  25. Richard Pepera says:

    Sailed on this beauty july fairport harbour cleveland ohio. How great sailing with wind. No motor. No cell phones. Wish I was younger and could be part of crew. Crew answered questions and told stories. Only hope I can sail her next year. Imagine sleaping on deck in caribean