MAYAN’s History — The David Crosby Years
As MAYAN settled into her 45 year relationship with David Crosby, she began one of the more interesting boat histories we’ve come across. For those who don’t know of David, he is the Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and a two time Music Hall of Fame inductee for the Byrds and CS&N.
As David put it, “MAYAN became my rock. She was always there and I could always get away from the crazies in my business.” Many of followed David’s career through his early successes with the Byrds and then the amazing success of CS&N and CSN&Y. David found a sanctuary aboard MAYAN that let him live a normal life when he needed it. Despite his fame, aboard MAYAN he was just the skipper, just a sailor, just a friend.
After sailing MAYAN through the Caribbean for a few years, and then making the passage from Florida through the Panama Canal north to San Diego, David was checking into US Customs in San Diego. While tied to the Customs Dock, with the Customs inspectors aboard, an 8-meter sailing past lost control and crashed into MAYAN’s bowsprit. Lead by David, everyone charged up on deck to find a badly damaged 8-meter sloop and MAYAN’s bowsprit broken and dangling from the jib and whisker stays.
“Hey, you broke my bowsprit!” David says he shouted at the 8-meter’s crew. “I sailed this boat all the way from Florida without putting a scratch on her, and you guys break off the bowsprit!” He was furious. The 8-meter crew could only respond with: “You’re David Crosby. WOW, that’s so cool!” They paid for the repair of the bowsprit and got to meet David. “MAYAN had always had more weather helm than I liked.” David recounts. “This gave me a chance to do something about it. So, we made the bowsprit two feet longer. It’s the only thing we ever changed about Alden’s design.”
Despite incidents like this, most of the time David could retreat to MAYAN and just be a sailor if he wished to be. In the shelter of MAYAN he could work and relax. Over the four and a half decades he owned her, David tells us he wrote numerous songs aboard including “Wooden Ships” for which MAYAN served as his muse. “I always figured if everything really went to hell, we’d just leave on MAYAN and head for the islands. Back then a lot of us thought everything was going to collapse pretty soon. I’m sure glad it didn’t.”
During these years MAYAN sailed to Hawaii a number of times to hang on the anchor in Hanalei Bay where his friend Graham Nash still owns a home. She sailed to Tahiti and through many of the S. Pacific islands. David, an expert SCUBA diver, loved taking MAYAN into the shallow reefs which deeper draft boats couldn’t reach. (MAYAN only draws five feet with her centerboard pulled up.) “I could just jump off my boat and dive on some of the most beautiful reefs in the world. It was cool.” David said while explaining the air tank rack build into her cabin.
For a number of years MAYAN was berthed in Sausalito California. David had lived in Marin on and off for much of his life and enjoyed the sailing community of the San Francisco Bay. Eventually, she was moved to Santa Barbara where David grew up and now lives. “I learned to sail right here.” he said, as we stood on MAYAN’s deck. “I got a little dinghy when I was a kid and I’d sail for hours. I’d go up and down the coast and out to sea until it got too windy. I’m amazed my folks let me get away with it.”
Santa Barbara remains home town for David. The folks around the Harbor greet him as one of their own. Dive Mexican restaurants know him well and it’s a town that leaves him alone to just be a sailor, one of the guys.
We had the good fortune to be able to land tickets to David’s kick off concert in Santa Barbara in the spring of 2014. He had just released his first solo album in over 20 years and the event was packed. With stunning courage, David played his new album front to back as the first set. The audience ate it up. They love him here! For the second set, David returned to the songs which made him famous including Eight Miles High, Guinevere, and Wooden Ships.
It was difficult for David to part with his muse. There were months of emails and phone calls, conversations about what we intended to do with MAYAN, tests to see if we were the right folks to care for her. Eventually, David was gracious enough to select us. He knows he’s always welcome aboard and knows MAYAN will always be known as “David’s Boat”. Sailing into Newport Beach a few weeks after buying MAYAN the Harbor Master commented: “It’s great to see MAYAN back in our harbor, it has been too long. Will David be showing up?”
MAYAN served David and Jan wonderfully well. I’m sure there will always be a part of him aboard. His music has entered into her wooden soul.