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Golden Rule being launched into Humboldt Bay after restoration in 2015

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Short History of a Long Saga

In 1958 a boat named the Golden Rule, captained by former navy commander Albert Bigelow (1906-1993), sailed from San Pedro Harbor in California with the publicly stated purpose of sailing into the nuclear test zone in the Marshall Islands. This was a protest against the testing and deployment by the United States of nuclear weapons. Twice the US Coast Guard stopped and boarded the boat. The crew was arrested and returned to Honolulu – and jail.

In 1959 Bigelow, working with the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), played a prominent role in commissioning the writing of a play, Which Way the Wind by Philip Lewis, about the threat of nuclear weapons. It was performed on both coasts in 1959 (with Bigelow as Narrator) and in 1960. The play, like the Golden Rule, sank from view for over 50 years.

In 2010 a long-neglected and abandoned boat sank off the boatyard at Field’s Landing in Humboldt Bay. After some research the boat was found to be the Golden Rule. Local chapters of Veterans For Peace assumed responsibility and, with a diverse group of dedicated volunteers, restored the boat to a sailworthy condition. She was relaunched in 2015 into Humboldt Bay, which remains her home base. The reborn Golden Rule now sails again to advocate for nuclear abolition and to demonstrate that bravery and tenacity can overcome militarism.

In 2017 retired physician Jack Irvine, pursuing an interest in the Golden Rule and Albert Bigelow, found the play, Which Way the Wind, and its connection to the boat, Veterans For Peace, and Bigelow. He was inspired to gather a small group of local volunteers who share concerns about our country and the threat of both conventional and nuclear war. Together they have made a commitment to take action and to help support the Golden Rule Project, a National Project of Veterans For Peace.

In 2018 Against the Wind, a week-long pro-peace festival, will take place October 14-21 in Humboldt County. Which Way the Wind will be resurrected from obscurity as part of the programming. The Festival will raise awareness of the continuing urgent dangers of nuclear armaments and nuclear war. It will also address other current social and political issues of race, justice, equality and the ‘golden rule.’ Funds generated will support the mission of the Golden Rule, helping to fuel its voyage to Hawaii, the Marshall Islands and onto Japan for the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.