Original Crew

Original crew 1954
Back row: Motosada (“Moto”) Fushima, Niichi (“Nick”) Mikami, Mitsugi (“Mickey”) Suemitsu. Front row: Ted, 16, Jessica (holding Mi-ke), 10, Barbara and Earle Reynolds

An Introduction

At a party, celebrating the passage of the Phoenix through the Panama Canal, the master of ceremonies introduced the crew as follows:

This is the crew of the yacht Phoenix, now on a voyage around the world.

First we have Jessica Reynolds, who is the first little girl, to my knowledge, to have attempted this feat.

Then there is Ted Reynolds, probably the first teenage navigator of a globe-circling sailing yacht.

The third member of the crew is Nick Mikami, from Hiroshima, the first Japanese yachtsman to sail around the world. (Note: All three Japanese crew members were from the Hiroshima University Yacht Club. Moto and Mickey flew back to Japan after three years, so by the time of this party, Nick was the only one still with us.)

Beside me is Barbara Reynolds, surely the most charming circumnavigating yachtswoman I have yet had the pleasure of meeting.

Finally—here is Dr. Earle Reynolds, whose sole claim to distinction is that he is the first, and only, skipper ever to sail around the world with all these wonderful people.

Dr. Earle Reynolds

Anthropologist, educator, author, Quaker, and peace activist—just a few words that describe Earle Reynolds. In 1951, he was asked to go to Hiroshima, Japan by the the Atomic Energy Commission in order to study the effects of the first atomic bomb on the growth and development of exposed children. His research discoveries regarding the dangers of radiation later moved Reynolds to participate in anti-nuclear activism.

In 1954, he fulfilled a lifelong dream to circumnavigate the globe, along with his wife Barbara, two of his three children and three Japanese yachtsman on the Phoenix of Hiroshima, a 50-foot ketch Reynolds had designed himself. In 1958, the Reynolds family and Japanese first mate Niichi (Nick) Mikami sailed the Phoenix into the American nuclear testing zone in the Pacific. In 1961, the family sailed to the USSR to protest Soviet nuclear testing. During the Vietnam War, Earle Reynolds and a different crew sailed the Phoenix to Haiphong to deliver humanitarian and medical aid to victims of American bombing. (His second wife, Akie, sailed with them as far as Hong Kong.)

Earle and Barbara co-authored a book about their circumnavigation (1954-1960), All in the Same Boat. He also wrote a book about sailing into the Pacific Proving Grounds, The Forbidden Voyage (1961).

Barbara Reynolds

“As I admire and worship the teachings of Buddha, Christ, and Gandhi, I also admire Mrs. Barbara as a saint. . . I am not so brave as you; I cannot give up my home and possessions…”

—Eiichi Nakata of Osaka, a note on Barbara Reynolds

As a Quaker, Barbara Reynolds lived with faith and acted with a deep love of humanity. Founder of the World Friendship Center, Barbara Reynolds first went to Hiroshima in 1951 with her husband Earle Reynolds and her children and later traveled the world in the Phoenix of Hiroshima. Through their travels, Barbara and her family’s interest in world peace developed while listening to conversations between passers-by and their Japanese crewman regarding the aftermath of the Atomic bombs.

Upon returning to Japan, Barbara began a Peace Pilgrimage, accompanying two survivors of Hiroshima around the world in order for them to share the story of Hiroshima’s suffering. In 1964, she accompanied 25 survivors and 15 interpreters on a World Peace Study Mission to all the nuclear nations of the world, again appealing for nuclear disarmament. She returned to the United States in 1969 and throughout the rest of her life, she devoted herself to helping refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam.

Barbara’s 8 books include four children’s novels, her spiritual autobiography The Phoenix and the Dove, and All in the Same Boat, which she co-authored with her husband Earle.

Ted Reynolds

Second son of Earle and Barbara, first navigator of the Phoenix of Hiroshima 1954-1961 (ages 16-23). At the age of 16, Ted accurately guided the ship on her maiden voyage from Japan to Hawaii, a trip of 47 days—and then around the world. Genius and storyteller par excellence, Ted was his little sister’s math teacher and kept her entertained at sea.

Later in life, he went on to become an award-winning author of science fiction novellas. He has written two novels, The Tides of God and The Retroactive Time Machine.

Jessica Reynolds (Shaver) Renshaw

Jessica, youngest child and only daughter of Earle and Barbara Reynolds, cabin girl of Phoenix 1954-61 (ages 10-17).   Jessica was 10 when she set sail in the Phoenix with her parents, one of her older brothers, a cat, Mi-ke (Mee-keh) and all her dolls. As her English homework, she was assigned to keep a journal and she is still keeping it 63 years later. She also kept the cat warm. (“Cat” became “cats” as they visited various ports.)

Part of Jessica’s Journal was published when she was 14; she also wrote an account of the family’s voyage to protest Soviet nuclear testing, To Russia with Love.  Her other books include The Reynolds Family, the Nuclear Age and a Brave Wooden Boat; MUM: The Conscience, Courage and Compassion of Barbara Reynolds; and The Dog Who Only At Tacos and Other Animal Stories, which includes anecdotes about the various Phoenix mascots.

Note: Tim, first-born of Earle and Barbara Reynolds, opted to return to the States for college rather than sailing on the Phoenix.

 

Here are the inscriptions Skipper (Captain Earle Reynolds) considered putting on plaques for each of of the crew when they arrived full circle back to Hilo, Hawaii after nearly three years of sailing:

TO NICK MIKAMI, OF HIROSHIMA: GOOD COMPANION, MASTER SEAMAN, AND FIRST JAPANESE YACHTSMAN TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD.

TO BARBARA REYNOLDS: FAITHFUL WIFE, LONG-SUFFERING COOK (AND VICE VERSA).

TO TED REYNOLDS: SON, NAVIGATOR, AND CHESS CHAMPION, PACIFIC OCEAN, 1958  (AT LEAST, AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED!).

TO JESSICA REYNOLDS: DAUGHTER, CUSTODIAN OF THE SHIP’S CAT, AND OFFICIAL HISTORIAN OF THE ADVENTURES OF THE GOOD SHIP PHOENIX.