History on the Water: When and If

As the dawn of the second world war emerged in 1939, a man conceived a dream to sail around the world with his family. His name was Colonel George S. Patton, a recognized war general whose words, “When the war is over and if I return, Bea and I are going to sail the world,” would inspire the naming of his mighty vessel, thereafter known as the When and If

For her design and construction, Patton hired John Alden, one of America’s most preeminent naval architects to design and build the vessel. He spared no expense, wanting to create an innovative yacht that epitomized both luxury and strength. While When and If’s construction was completed in time for Patton’s return from war, his dream would never come to fruition, as his sudden death in 1945 left the When and If in her original waters. 

For years to come, When and If would remain in the family as a ”family yacht,” anchored in her home port of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. In 1972, the vessel was donated to the Landmark School, utilized as a youth training platform, additionally making frequent trips to Maine during the summer months. 

When in November of 1992, a gale hit setting the When and If on the rocks during a high tide, her port side became stuck on a rock, which prevented her from sinking when the tide receded. She was salvaged and would go on to be restored by Gannon and Benjamin. 

When and If began her journey in the classic yacht chartering world, spending winters in the Carribean, and summers in Martha’s Vineyard and Maine. In 2013, When and If was purchased and restored by Doug Hazlitt, who had eyed the boat for her “strength and elegance.” It wouldn’t be until 2015, that When and If would trade hands once more, finding a home with her captain and project manager, Seth Salzmann. 

Seth Salzmann began sailing schooners in Key West, Florida at the age of 13. Forgoing his passion for baseball, Salzmann would end up the captain of a schooner in the Bahamas by the age of 19. He has sailed throughout Europe, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and all over New England. It was his return from one particular trip to Europe in the winter of 2015, that would decide the fate of When and If. 

Having just returned from an extended sailing trip in Europe where an interest in classic yachts like When and If were at a peak, Salzmannn learned that the yacht was being put up for sail. Drawn to the history, craftsmanship, and story of the vessel, Salzmann additionally wanted to preserve her American flag,  “I really didn’t want to see another historic American sailing yacht moved to Europe, and never to be seen on our coast again which has happened to so many of them.”

After leasing the yacht for a year and growing his business, Salzmann was able to secure a loan for the vessel right before a French buyer came in and attempted to purchase When and If to bring to South France. However, as Salzmann describes, the yacht’s owner Doug Hazlitt, “really wanted to see my preservation and dream come to light. He took a hit, but he honored his word and sold it to me.” 

Since then, Salzmann has sailed When and If throughout all of the Great Lakes, as far south as Cuba, and regularly competes in the New England Classic Yacht Regatta circuit. She has an overall win in the 2018 Marblehead Corinthian Classic to her name, as well as a second-place finish in the 2017 Charleston to Bermuda Tallships race, and a first-place win in the Key West to Cuba 2016 race. 

Additionally, When and If was asked to lead the parade of sailing into Havana Harbor, a particular favorite memory of Captain Seth Salzmann. He recalls sailing by El Morro Castle in Havana, greeted with shooting cannons and crowds of people waving American flags. Most recently, you can see the When/If in her starring role on season 3, episode 6 of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

After previously being unavailable for chater, When and If now offers a variety of luxury charter opportunities, spending winter in the Florida Keys, and summer in Salem, MA. For more information or to book a charter, click the link below:

Learn more at: https://sailwhenandif.com

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