William Forbes Young, Master Mariner, dies at age 74

Captain Bill was born near the sea and spent his life messing about in boats. He retired from the Coast Guard after 20 years and then worked offshore for the next 15 years, including assignments in the North Sea, India and China. Bill and his wife, Sharon, enjoyed a third and final career running an adobe inn in Jemez Springs, N.M., where he developed a sail training program for the Jemez Pueblo, helping young boys experience the romance of sailing.

William Forbes Young was born in Newton, Mass., on Oct. 6, 1936, to William and Constance Dyer Young. His father was a brigadier general and executive with General Electric; his mother was a radio singer and artist. Growing up on the Charles River, Bill sailed as a cadet and deckhand on schooners, yawls and sloops, with local coastal journeys as well as trips to Nova Scotia, North Sea, Baltic Sea, and to Labrador on the Bowdoin. He attended the Coast Guard Academy where he was assigned to the Eagle and went on to command three vessels along the New England coast including the Presidential Security Vessel for JFK for two years.

A qualified Master Mariner, Captain Bill was called to work in England for a U.S.-based tug company providing services in the North Sea, Celtic Sea, trans-Atlantic tows, South China Sea, Trinidad and the Labrador Sea. Next, he spent time in Egypt and India towing and handling barges and rigs internationally as well as in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. Then, he was invited by the Chinese government to provide a training program for the Merchant Marine of the PRC in the East China Sea. During this time, Bill was married to Phyllis Palmer Young of Camden.

Bill enjoyed a semi-retirement opportunity to captain the Victory Chimes, America’s largest pure sailing vessel, along the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida. He also commanded a restored lightship, Nantucket, in the 1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial celebrations. Before moving to New Mexico, Bill was involved again with the Bowdoin, this time as master of its Sailing Training program.

In 1989, with Sharon, Bill bought the Jemez Mountain Inn in Jemez Springs, N.M. He did substitute teaching in the local schools and was active in many organizations including the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Retired Officers Association, Thoreau Society, American Sail Training Association, Boy Scouts of America, Friends of Boston Symphony, and Santa Fe Opera.

Captain Bill’s exciting life at sea included other “capers” as he called them, highlights include command of two anti-terrorist marine operations. Also, work as a rigger, sail maker and seamanship instructor and the opportunity to be part of a three-man crew that re-sparred and re-rigged the USS Constitution. In his youth, he participated in a number of ocean yacht races.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon; son, William Palmer Young; daughter, Kathy Young; two stepdaughters, Lisa Bogart and Honora Langwell; son-in-law, Jim Langwell; and eight grandchildren.

Fair sailing, Billy!