Carleton Mitchell Collection

Manuscripts Collection 250

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Mitchell, Carleton, 1910-
Title: Carleton Mitchell Collection
Dates: 1921-1980
Extent: ca. 1000 items
Abstract: Correspondence, yacht construction specifications, magazine and newspaper articles, logbooks, charts, drafts of books and articles, scrapbooks, notebooks, personal papers, photographs, negatives, photo albums, and other materials, reflecting Mitchell’s activities in American yachting, sailing, and boating, including his participation in the Newport Bermuda Race, Royal Ocean Racing Club’s transatlantic race, America’s Cup trials, and others, and his voyages throughout the Caribbean and around the world. Vessels represented include the yawls CARIBEE and FINISTERRE and powerboats SANS TERRE, LAND’S END, and COYABA.
Identification: Coll. 250

Biography of Carleton Mitchell, 1910-

In a 1986 autobiographical article for Yachting, Carleton Mitchell wrote:

“Somewhere around ten, when asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, my mother has said I answered, ‘I want to sail and write about it.’ In later life, I have been lucky in making that boyhood wish come true-with a measure of power boating thrown in.”

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 24, 1910. Mitchell’s first deep water experience came in 1932 after dropping out of his Junior year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to sail aboard the TEMPTRESS. After a short stint in the retail business, he moved to the Bahamas and became a self-taught photographer, and also worked as a publicity photographer for The Bahamas Development Board. His work in photography continued when he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and organized and directed the U. S. Navy Combat Photography Unit from 1942-1945.

In 1946 Mitchell purchased CARIB (John Alden’s MALABAR XII) and sailed throughout the Caribbean, afterwards writing his first article for “National Geographic Magazine” and his first book, “Islands to Windward”

His next boat was the 58-foot centerboard yawl CARIBEE, designed by Phil Rhodes. With her Mitchell crossed Sweden via the Gota Canal. In 1952 they completed the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Transatlantic Race, a voyage which became the subject of his book, “Passages East” (1953). Mitchell eventually won three SORC championships, three consecutive Newport to Bermuda Races, two Chesapeake Bay YRA High Point Trophies and navigated aboard the 12-Meter WEATHERLY for the early trials of the 1958 America’s Cup.

In 1954 he acquired the Olin Stephens-designed centerboard yawl FINISTERRE. Most noted for her unprecedented three wins of the Bermuda Race, Mitchell also sailed FINISTERRE to Gibraltar, and then along the African and European coast to Portofino, Italy. Stateside, he poked into Chesapeake gunkholes with the MUDHEN.

In 1968 Mitchell switched to power, purchasing SANS TERRE, a Grand Banks 42. He cruised around Hong Kong and powered from Los Angeles through the Panama Canal and up to Miami, a 16,000 mile voyage with many detours, lasting three years. LAND’S END was Mitchell’s next power cruiser, and in 1973 Mitchell designed and built his third and final cruiser, the COYABA.

Throughout this time Carleton Mitchell wrote about and photographed his travels, his work appearing regularly in magazines such as “Sports Illustrated”, and “Boating and Yachting”. He also wrote several more books including; “Yachtsman’s Camera” (1950), “Beyond Horizons: Voyages of Adventure and Discovery” (1953), “Summer of the Twelves” (1959), “Isles of the Caribbees” (1966), and “The Wind Knows No Boundaries: Cruises Near and Far” (1971).

Carleton Mitchell’s chronicle represents a resource of major significance for our knowledge of American yachting and boating during the last half of this century. Indeed, the quality and extent of his work insures that his life and love of sailing shall be known to generations yet to come.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

Caribee (Yawl)
Coyaba (Powerboat)
Finisterre (Yawl)
Land’s End (Powerboat)
Royal Ocean Racing Club
Sans Terre (Powerboat)


Caribbean Sea–Description and travel
North Atlantic Ocean–Description and travel


Boats and boating
Newport Bermuda Race
Voyages and travels
Voyages around the world
Yacht racing

Document Types:

Nautical charts
Photograph albums


Authors, American
Journalists–United States

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 250, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

FINISTERRE (yawl); construction specifications, contract, bills, measurements certificates and related correspondence; 1952-1957
Box Folder
1 1 FINISTERRE (yawl); specifications, Sparkman and Stephens, Inc.; 1952-1953
2 FINISTERRE (yawl); contract, Seth Persson; 1953
3 FINISTERRE (yawl); construction bills; 1953-1954
4 FINISTERRE (yawl); measurement certificates and related correspondence; 1955-1957
5 FINISTERRE (yawl); correspondence; 1953
6 FINISTERRE (yawl); correspondence; 1954
7 FINISTERRE (yawl); correspondence; 1955
8 FINISTERRE (yawl); correspondence; 1956
9 FINISTERRE (yawl); correspondence; 1957
FINISTERRE (yawl); race information, magazine and newspaper articles; 1956-1977
Box Folder
2 1 FINISTERRE (yawl); Trans Atlantic Race and Mediterranean cruise papers; journal, provisions list, and map; 1956
2 FINISTERRE (yawl); Bermuda Race papers, magazine clippings, correspondence, provision lists, track charts and race statistics; 1956-1960
3 FINISTERRE (yawl); magazine articles by Carleton Mitchell; 1954-1977
4 FINISTERRE (yawl); magazine articles; 1956-1966
5 FINISTERRE (yawl); newspaper clippings; 1956-1966
6 “Sailing is Many Things:” sales catalog featuring FINISTERRE (yawl); text and photos by Carleton Mitchell, pub. Fuller Brush sales catalog, galleys, related correspondence; 1960
CARIBBEE (yawl), SANS TERRE (powerboat), LANDS END (powerboat) & COYABA (powerboat); information and magazine articles; 1947-1976
Box Folder
3 1 CARIBEE (yawl) West Indies track chart; 1947
2 CARIBEE (yawl); newspaper article translations (originals in German); 1949
3 CARIBEE (yawl); Newspaper articles; 1951-1954
4 CARIBEE (yawl); provisioning lists and information; 1952
5 CARIBEE (yawl); working notes for 1952 Transatlantic Race; 1952-1954
6 SANS TERRE (powerboat); “Details of Interior” and costs; 1968
7 SANS TERRE (powerboat); magazine articles by Carleton Mitchell; 1968-1971
8 LAND’S END (powerboat); magazine articles by Carleton Mitchell; 1973-1975
9 COYABA (powerboat); Bills and construction details; 1976
Carleton Mitchell; magazine articles, article information and research; 1958-1986
Box Folder
4 1 Carleton Mitchell; Miscellaneous Yachting articles; 1947 – 1951, 1987
2 Carleton Mitchell; “Meredith Creek,” typescript, Yachting article, pamphlet; 1949
3 Carleton Mitchell; “Harbors Can Be So Nice,” typescript; 12 October 1958
4 Carleton Mitchell; “Why Do We Do It?” Sports Illustrated; drafts, published article, notes; 18 June 1956
5 Carleton Mitchell; America’s Cup coverage, Sports Illustrated; published articles and typescripts; 1958
6 Carleton Mitchell; America’s Cup coverage, Sports Illustrated; typescripts; 1958
7 Carleton Mitchell; America’s Cup coverage, Sports Illustrated; published articles; 1959 – 1970
8 Trans-pacific Yacht Race; statistics, correspondence, published articles “Yacht NAM SANG, 1959 Honolulu Race” and “Lof of the Yacht NAM SANG”; 1959
9 Carleton Mitchell; “Suburbs of Tahiti,” Sports Illustrated; 1960
10 Carleton Mitchell; “New Magic in an Ancient Sea,” Sports Illustrated; 11 January 1960
11 Carleton Mitchell; “A Yachtsman Finds Hong Kong,” Sports Illustrated; 8 February 1960
12 Carleton Mitchell; “Glory Be To Power,” Sports Illustrated; 25 April 1960
13 Carleton Mitchell; Ocean power-boat racing informaiton, photos, correspondence, and magazine articles; 1960 – 1964
14 Carleton Mitchell; “Cruising the Isles of Greece,” Sports Illustrated; 6 February 1961
15 Carleton Mitchell; “The Fad and Fascination of Surfing,” Holiday; research, correspondence, drafts, and published article; 1963 – 1964
16 Carleton Mitchell; “Capri: Thunder in Stone,” National Geographic; typescript and correspondence; 1967 – 1968
17 Carleton Mitchell; “Oriental Shakedown,” Motor Boating; September 1968
18 Carleton Mitchell; “French Challenge for the America’s Cup,” Sports Illustrated; typescript; 11 October 1969
Box Folder
5 1 Carleton Mitchell; “Yacht With a Taste for Haste,” Sports Illustrated; 15 February 1971
2 Carleton Mitchell; “Carleton Mitchell Says…It’s the Little Things that Count,” Mortor Boating and Sailing; 1971
3 Carleton Mitchell; “Sardinia Sea Script: Viva Cinderella,” Sports Illustrated; 24 September 1973
4 Carleton Mitchell; “Robin Come Bobbin’ Along” Sports Illustrated; 11 March 1974
5 Carleton Mitchell; “Sea of Turmoil,” Sports Illustrated; 26 August 1974
6 Carleton Mitchell; “Then It Was Two for the Seesaw,” Sports Illustrated; 9 September 1974
7 Carleton Mitchell; “Foggily, Soggily, Courageously,” Sports Illustrated; 23 September 1974
8 Carleton Mitchell; “Boating: Can Anyone Win the Mug?” Sports Illustrated; 30 September 1974
9 Sports Illustrated; 25 November 1974
10 Town and Country; January 1975
11 Carleton Mitchell; “Float Like a Butterfly…” Sports Illustrated; 10 March 1975
12 Carleton Mitchell, “‘Yachting’ Eyes a Boat,” Yachting; August 1975
13 “Planning for Power,” Part I, Yachting; interview with Carleton Mitchell by Stanley Rosenfeld; January 1975
14 “Planning for Power,” Part 2, Yachting; interview with Carleton Mitchell by Stanley Rosenfeld; February 1975
15 Carleton Mitchell; “Reaching and Retching to Nassau,” Sports Illustrated; 8 March 1976
16 “Mitch,” Hatteras World; by Sid Stapleton; Spring 1977
17 Carleton Mitchell, “Never Waste a Calm, but…” Yachting; November – December 1977
Box Folder
6 1 Carleton Mitchell, Boating magazine columns, list of article titles; 1980 – 1985
2 Carleton Mitchell, “The Shoal in Draft,” Yachting; research notes and information regarding BEACHCOMBER (powercruiser); 1985
3 Carleton Mitchell; “Cut the Cord,” Yachting; research notes; 1986
4 Carleton Mitchell; Yachting columns, article drafts, and information; 1986 – 1988
5 Carleton Mitchell; Research notes; n.d.
6 Carleton Mitchell; Miscellaneous magazine articles; 1947 – 1975 (some items removed and shelved with oversized materials)
7 “The Deep Vee Story,” introduction by Carleton Mitchell; n.d.
8 Carleton Mitchell, “Boating With Books,” typescript; n.d.
9 Carleton Mitchell; “Bermuda Race Preview,” Sports Illustrated; typescript; n.d.
10 Carleton Mitchell, “His Majesty’s Portland Marina,” Popular Boating; n.d.
11 Carleton Mitchell, “Cruising Guide to the Mediterranean,” typescript; n.d.
12 Carleton Mitchell, “You Push the First Valve Down,” (revision of “At the Wind’s Call’), typescript; n.d.
13 Carleton Mitchell, “Baltic Cruises of the CARIBEE” captions to accompany photos; n.d.
Carleton Mitchell book manuscripts
Box Folder
7 1 Carleton Mitchell, “Islands to Windward”; prospectus; n.d.
2 Carleton Mitchell; “The Yachtsmans Camera;” typescript; 1950
3 Carleton Mitchell; “The Yachtsmans Camera”; draft, proofs, galleys, etc of book written by Carleton Mitchell; 1950 (contents located with oversized material)
4 Carleton Mitchell; “At the Sea’s Call;” typescript; n.d.
5 Carleton Mitchell; “At the Sea’s Call;” drafts; n.d.
Carleton Mitchell; personal files and related papers; 1921-1980
Box Folder
8 1 Carleton Mitchell; early writing; scrapbook of yacht pictures with index, college essays, short stories; ca. 1921-1935
2 Carleton Mitchell; Autobiographical material; articles, correspondence
3 Robert A. Mitchell; Mitchell family genealogy and history
4 Carleton Mitchell; Naval Combat Photography, Pictorial and Combat Artists Section of the Office of Public Information papers; memorandums, newspaper clippings, correspondence; 1942-1959
5 Carleton Mitchell; Personal correspondence; 1930 – 1972, 2001, n.d.
6 Carleton Mitchell; Newspaper and magazine clippings; 1929, 1954 – 1967, n.d.
7 Carleton Mitchell; Miscellaneous; 1929 – 1953, n.d.
Volumes; Logbooks; 1945-1969
1 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE;
2 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE; 1948 Nov-1949 Nov
3 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE; Baltic Cruise; 1949
4 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE; “Transatlantic log”; 1952
5 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE; 1952 Jul-Aug
6 Logbook Yacht CARIBEE; 1952 Jun-Jul
7 Logbook Yacht FINISTERRE; 1956 Mar-1960 Jul
8 Logbook Yacht FINISTERRE; 1954 Oct-1956 Mar
9 Logbook Yacht FINISTERRE; 1956 Jun-Sep
10 Logbook Yacht; 1965 Jan-1966 May
11 Logbook Yacht SANS TERRE; 1968 Mar-1969 Jun
Volumes; Notebooks; ca. 1950-1966
12 Notebook, “West Indies Notes”; ca. 1950s
13 Notebook, “Sailing Data, Lessons, Quotes & Anecdotes”; ca. 1954
14 Notebook, “Research, Beyond Horizons”; ca. 1950s
15 Notebook, “St. Pete, Virgin Is., Catamarans, Hong Kong, etc.1959”
16 Notebook, “Moppie Race, Bermuda ’60, Fiberglass, etc.1960”
17 Notebook, “Martinique rule, Trade Winds, ’61 Boat Show, etc. 1961-1963”
18 Notebook, “The Bahamas 1957-58 and 1966”
19 Notebook, “Bahamas/Caribbes 1957 / 1966”
20 Notebook, “Mexico / Pacific”; ca. 1962-1963
21 Notebook, “Mediterranean”; ca. 1963
22 Notebook, “America Cup / 12 Meter Data”; ca. 1962
23 Notebook, “America’s Cup”; ca. 1964-1967
24 Notebook, “Quotes / Misc.”; ca. 1960s
25 Notebook, miscellaneous info.; ca. 1963-1965
Volumes; Scrapbooks, articles and drafts; ca. 1936-1988
26 “Personal”, re Mitchell’s articles & clippings; ca. 1939-1958
27 Scrapbook, “CARIBEE / FINISTERRE Clippings”; ca. 1953-1961
28 Scrapbook, “Published Material”; ca. 1938 -1960
Box Volume
9 29 Scrapbook, “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED” Staff Stories on FINISTERRE
30 Scrapbook, “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Vol. 2” Stephens Profile & Acapulco Race; 1959-1960
31 Scrapbook, “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Vol. 3” Ocean Cats, 1960 & Chesapeake Cruise; 1961
32 Scrapbook, “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Vol. 4” Mitchell articles; 1962
33 Scrapbook, “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Vol. 5” Mitchell articles; 1963-1964
34 Scrapbook, “BOATING” Mitchell articles; 1980 Aug-1982 Mar
35 Scrapbook, “BOATING” Mitchell articles; 1982 Apr-1983 Dec
36 Scrapbook, “BOATING” Mitchell articles; 1984 Jan-1985 Apr
37 Scrapbook, “YACHTING” Mitchell articles; 1986 Jan-1988 Jan
38 Scrapbook, “Misc. Published” Mitchell articles; ca. 1982
Box Volume
OV 39 Scrapbook (oversize volume); articles & clippings

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