Fritz (short for Frederick) has a tee-shirt that reads “Bundin er batlaus madur –bound is boatless man.” He subscribes to Wooden Boat magazine and Messing About in Boats. His grandparents on his mother’s side came from the fjords of Norway, so he is l/2 Norwegian. He loves to build, repair, fish from, and journey in boats. He spent the first thirteen years of his life in Sitka, living on Sheldon Jackson campus across the street from the beach, rowing with his neighborhood friend in a small wooden rowboat.
When Fritz moved to Juneau as a teenager, his dad bought him a 16-foot wooden skiff and an 18-horse engine. He began to teach himself how to repair and replace boat engines; how to wire and repair boat electronics; how to build wooden boats.
FRITZ AND KATE ON the “RED WITCH”, a 56-FOOT KETCH
Fritz and I crewed on a 56-foot ketch, named the Red Witch, out of Juneau when we were 20. We were running before a storm outside of Baranof Warm Springs when 19-year-old deckhand friend John raised the sail but over-stretched the winch’s reach. Screw-bolted into the wood, it actually ripped out of the mast and hit John in the chest. It could have killed him, but he was unhurt. We made it back into the protection of the cove, where we all took hot tubs and hiked the hills of natural hot springs to avoid the raging captain carefully re-mantling the winch so we could continue on our journey. A few days later we hit an unseen iceberg south of Juneau in Taku Inlet, heard the screaming blame of the captain one too many times and decided to leave the ship for good once back in Juneau. This was not the captain for us, but we certainly had sailing in our blood from then on. Two things remain to this day – I am willing and capable of going out in any weather to deal with lines, then coil them carefully for the next person. The second is that I can tie a fast bowline knot, which I use to this day for tying up everything.