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All Hands on Deck: Life at Sea

April 20, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Zoom, $10 per person. Register and buy your ticket here!

Presented in partnership with The Sailing Museum

What’s life like at sea…is it any different today than it was in the past? On Thursday April 20, 2023 at 5:30pm, the Newport Historical Society will host the Zoom discussion All Hands on Deck: Life at Sea with a panel of experts who merge the present and past on the water. Panelists will discuss what it’s like working on historical vessels, wearing authentic historical clothing, and training for this physical experience. The conversation will be moderated by the NHS Executive Director Becca Bertrand and Heather Ruhsam, Newport Sailing Museum’s Executive Director.

The panelists are: Will Soffrin, author of the highly anticipated book All Hands on Deck; Adam Hodges-LeClaire, a living historian who sailed across the Atlantic on the French frigate Hermione; Andrew J. Lyter, a museum professional who focuses on early American naval and maritime life; and Lyle J. Goldstein a Brown University professor by day who trains a team of sailors each summer to recreate the 1777 Barton’s Raid.

Tickets cost $10 per person; click here to register and buy your ticket. You will receive the link to attend directly from Zoom once payment has been received.

Sofrin’s new book All Hands on Deck debuts April 18, 2023 and will be available for purchase at NewportHistoryShop.com and in person at the Museum of Newport History (127 Thames Street).

Learn more about the panelists below!


Lyle J. Goldstein

Each summer, Lyle J. Goldstein organizes a team of sailors to recreate the courageous efforts of Lt. Colonel Barton who, in 1777, rowed from Warwick Neck, RI past British frigates in 5 whaleboats and landed on the shores of Portsmouth, RI. Lyle’s crew trains extensively to follow this path at night while paddling in kayaks. During our panel, he will speak about the physical and mental strength that it takes to accomplish such a feat.

In his professional life, Lyle Goldstein is Visiting Professor at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He serves concurrently as Director of Asia Engagement at the Washington think-tank Defense Priorities, which advocates for realism and restraint in U.S. defense policy. In October 2021 he retired after 20 years of service on the faculty at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) after being promoted by his peers to the rank of Full Professor. During his career at NWC, he founded the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) and has been awarded the Superior Civilian Service Medal for this achievement. He has written or edited seven books on Chinese strategy and continues to work on a book length project that examines the nature of China-Russia relations in the 21st century. Goldstein earned his PhD from Princeton, an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and his BA from Harvard.


Adam Hodges-LeClaire

Adam Hodges-LeClaire is an independent historian who works in Boston tourism as well as in New England civics education and outreach. He studied history at the University of St Andrews in southeastern Scotland, while also apprenticed as a museum tailor replicating circa 1750-1790 era garments for 6 years at Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. He now operates AHL Tailor and Naval Clothier, an independent business which researches and reproduces bespoke 18th century menswear and accurate period accessories, by hand, for display in museums or use at historical sites throughout the East Coast. He is supported in all things whether modern or otherwise by his phenomenal wife Esther, and enjoys stacking firewood, hunting, and hiking, and playing fetch with his spaniel Atlas in his new hometown of Haverhill NH.

His maritime experience began with the recreated 300-foot French frigate Hermione, constructed in Rochefort, France. In 2014 he participated as the only American in the ship’s inaugural sea trials in the Bay of Biscay, and in 2015 he crossed the Atlantic under sail as part of a crew of 80, personally using and testing accurate 1780s garments and equipment 24/7 for seven months. Other maritime work involved collections study and outreach programs with the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, as well as a variety of speaking and educational programs throughout New England.


Andrew J. Lyter

Andrew J. Lyter is the Executive Director and Curator for the Lewes Historical Society in Lewes, Delaware. He is an avid maritime historian and sailor, crewing on traditionally rigged tall ships in both the United States and Great Britain. He holds a BA in history from West Chester University and an MA in naval history from the University of Portsmouth, Great Britain. Most recently Lyter curated the Lewes Historical Society’s current exhibitions of Jacob Jones – Lewes’ Own, and Breaking Britannia’s Grasp: Lewes, the Royal Navy, and the Legacy of 1813.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in maritime history and writing his forthcoming publication, “A Free, Honest, and Hardy Class:” Pilots of the Bay and River Delaware and the American Revolution.


Will Soffin:

In the late 1990s, Patrick O’Brian’s beloved, massively bestselling historical novel series was destined for film, with Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World. While director Peter Weir and stars Russel Crowe and Paul Bettany were signed on, there was only one problem: Rose, the replica eighteenth-century warship that the filmmakers had bought for the production, was in Newport, Rhode Island, two oceans and thousands of miles away from Hollywood.

Enter a ragtag crew of thirty oddballs and tall-ship fanatics, including author Will Sofrin, at the time a 21-year-old wooden-boat builder and yacht racer looking for some direction in his life. Together, the crew embarked on an epic adventure, racing a ticking clock and fighting against Mother Nature, and occasionally each other, to deliver the Rose, hopefully in one piece.

All Hands on DeckA Modern-Day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World (Abrams Press; April 18, 2023 is Sofrin’s account of this unforgettable voyage. It’s a story of reinvention, of hard work on the high seas, of love, and of survival. The crew of Rose effectively went back in time, brought to life the old ways of a forgotten world, and barely lived to tell the tale. All Hands on Deck is a gripping story and a must-read for fans of O’Brian’s novels and the Academy Award–winning film adaptation.

Will Sofrin is a master shipwright who has taught at MIT and has built boats for Billy Joel and Estée Lauder. As a former professional sailor and licensed captain, he has tracked more than 30,000 blue-water miles. Today, he is a freelance writer for numerous maritime periodicals such as: Classic Boat Magazine, Cruising World, Latitude 38, Ocean Navigator, Pacific Yachting, Points East Magazine, Sea History Journal, Soundings, and WoodenBoat.



This Zoom event is Presented in partnership with The Sailing Museum and is proudly sponsored by Barrington Arms 302, Hilton Head Island, SC.


April 20, 2023
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Newport Historical Society
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