“The largest group of black sailors of both men and women in the country —cruising and racing.”
In 1994, we formed the first African American crew of both men and women to sail in the Mackinac Race. Captain William "Bill" Pinkney, world renowned, solo-circum-navigator, captained the crew of eight. The boat, "Upanayana" (Keeper of the Magic Flute) was that of Dr. David Blackwell, also of the crew. The crew: Theordore Graves, Dr. Nate Morgan, Pamela Rice, Robert Bassett, Yvonne Nelson, Lance Lovely, Dr. David Blackwell, Wesley Smith and Captain Bill Pinkney. These sailors were all captains and skippers of their own boats.
(Above) Press release, first and second pages.
(Right and above) Crew before practice
(Above) Stickers and name tags for 'send-off' party
(Right) Formal invitation to the 'send-off' party at Jackson Park Yacht Club
(Below) Formal invitation to the 'send-off' party
Left to right: Captain Ted Graves,
Captain Robert Bassett, Captain David Blackwell, Captain Lance Lovely,
Captain Pam Rice, Captain Vonnie Nelson and publicist, Barbara Samuels. Not shown
Captain Wesley Smith and Captain Nate Morgan.
(Below)Aboard Upananyana: Back row,
Captain Ted Graves, Captain Lance Lovely, Captain Robert Bassett, Captain, Nate Morgan. Front Row, publicist, Barbara Samuels,
Captain Vonnie Nelson, Captian Pam Rice, Captain David Blackwell, and Captain Wesley Smith.
NOTE: On Tuesday, July 26, 1994, Upanaya crossed the finish line at Mackinaw Island, the approx. time was 56 hours..