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Chasing a dream

2024 January 1

A sailor takes on a quest to restore the famous Alden Schooner When and If and sail her off into the sunset

The crew set sail aboard the restored 1938 Alden schooner When and If once owned by Gen. George S. Patton.
David Liscio photo


In 1998, while working aboard another boat in Maine, Salzmann spotted a schooner under sail that nearly stopped his heart. It was love at first sight. Salzmann said he was awestruck by the schooner’s beauty as she was sailing up Eggemoggin Reach. Peering through binoculars, he didn’t recognize the boat, though he knew just about every schooner in the region by sight. Once closer, he read the name When and If.

“And right then and there, it’s like falling in love with a girl for the first time. You remember when you saw her,” he said.

The Salzmann family gathers in the cockpit.
David Liscio photo 
Unable to get “that girl” off his mind, Salzmann urged Hazlitt to purchase When and If, which had been tossed onto the rocks at Pride’s Crossing in Beverly, Massachusetts, in October 1991 by the so-called No Name or Perfect Storm. Hazlitt bought When and If  in 2012 and, as he’d done with Malabar X, financed its rebirth.

“I’ve known Doug Hazlitt from all the way back to Malabar times,” Salzmann said. “I spent years telling him he should buy When and If. He finally did.”

When and If was in bad shape. The Patton family served as the boat’s guardians from 1945 to 1972, but the boat had undergone several changes of ownership in the ensuing years. The Patton family donated it to the Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1972, and the school for children with learning disabilities assumed oversight of the boat for the next two decades. Other private owners followed, as did the destructive storms. 

Salzmann was thrilled to work on When and If. He helped get the schooner from the ocean to New York’s Finger Lakes, where master shipwright Dennis Montgomery and crew worked their magic.

When and If is built from double-planked mahogany over black locust frames and an oak keel. The interior is cedar, the deck, teak. It’s a heavy bluewater boat meant to cross oceans.

When the restoration was completed in 2014, Salzmann was named captain. The following year he leased the schooner, eventually buying from Hazlitt in 2016, never losing sight of his dream to sail around the world. 

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