Three Norwegian Sailors to Sail Around Globe in Lifeboat: 1921
Three Brooklyn sailors of Norwegian descent planned to sail around the world in a modified wooden lifeboat in 1921. Captain Mimer Tonning, Otthar Petterson, and Helge Westerling, members of the Norwegian Masters and Mates Association, planned the adventure after a slump in shipping dried up work. They hoped that picture rights for their endeavor would be lucrative.
The 30-foot boat, made by Red Hook's Atlantic Lifeboat Company, on Delevan and Richards Streets, was to be modified by the addition of sails. Canvas covers were to be the only weather protection for the sailors. Atlantic Lifeboat Co., which made many lifesaving vessels for big troop-transport ships during World War I, donated the small craft. The story, picked up by national newspapers, reported that the boat was painted at a paint works on Commerce Street; most likely, this was the American Marine Paint Company.
The economic decline that these three sailors were attempting to escape left many Norwegian sailors in the 1920s out of work and stranded in Red Hook's shantytown community, known as Orkenen Sur.