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Although his first sailing was on a lake in New Jersey, Gary Schwarzman must have been born with salt water in his veins. Gary and his wife Beth bought their first boat in 1970 while they were living in San Francisco, expecting their first child and long before they bought a house. Bantry Bay was a 43-foot double-ended cutter designed by Edson Schock and built in 1934. After several years of repair and restoration, performed mostly with their own hands, they embarked with their two young girls on a cruise from San Francisco to New England via the west coasts of Mexico and Central America, the Panama Canal, Caribbean, Bahamas, and East Coast. For the next few years they cruised along the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia. In 1981 they settled in Falmouth, MA, and sailed out of Woods Hole.
In 1985-6 the Schwarzman family crossed to the Azores, Madeira and Canaries, south to Senegal, and back across the Atlantic to Brazil. This voyage was stressful for the hull of their 52-year old boat, and they had to make resourceful repairs in French Guiana before continuing north to the Lesser Antilles. After returning home they commissioned a new boat that would be stronger and more reliable offshore.
The design and construction of Anasazi is documented in Gary’s book The Architect's Apprentice, published by Sheridan House in 1998. He was actively involved in this project, drafting many of the detailed construction plans, fabricating various fittings in wood and metal, and making up the rigging. After launching their new boat in 1993 the Schwarzmans embarked on a shakedown cruise to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In 1997-8 they sailed to Bermuda, Venezuela, and around the Caribbean. In 2002 they departed on their second Atlantic Circle, starting in the `wrong direction’ with a winter cruise to the Western Caribbean, followed by a crossing from Florida to Ireland via Bermuda and the Azores. They cruised in northern Europe for five years before returning with stops in the Gambia River, Cape Verde Islands and Puerto Rico, as well as more customary ports.
Gary’s life was disrupted in 2012 when Beth died from cancer. In 2013 he moved back to the West Coast to be closer to his daughters and their families, and transferred his CCA membership from BOS/BUZ to SAF. He lived on a houseboat on the Oakland Estuary and enjoyed sailing the dory which he had built in Falmouth and towed across the country to his new home. On one occasion he borrowed a small burgee for the dory and sailed to a rendezvous of the San Francisco Station. But on his solo drive west he suffered the first symptoms of a brain tumor, which tragically shortened his life.
Gary’s last cruise was to Labrador and Newfoundland in 2113-4, leaving Anasazi for the winter in Lewisporte. He was able to single-hand when necessary, but most of the time he was accompanied by crew which included his daughters Megan and Caitlin and their families, as well as friends from Falmouth. In Caitlin’s words, `Gary loved Newfoundland--the challenges of wind and weather, but mostly the solitude and wilderness of the many harbors and the always generous and kind Newfoundlanders.’
Gary grew up in New Jersey. After graduating from Carleton College he moved to San Francisco and started a small software company, pioneering computer-aided dispatching and record-keeping systems for public agencies such as fire departments. Later he served in various volunteer capacities, mostly related to education and young people. Gary and Beth took local Sea Scouts cruising in Southern New England, and he started an after-school program in Falmouth to teach children boatbuilding. In the San Francisco Bay Area he was instrumental in establishing the Tall Ship Semester for Girls, and a founding director of Call of the Sea, dedicated to sail training and environmental education for urban youth, where he led sailing expeditions in Baja California. In addition to the CCA he was a member of the American Sail Training Association, Ocean Cruising Club, and Woods Hole Yacht Club.