The story behind the name

Some of my father’s earliest memories come from the shipyard.  As a young boy he helped my grandfather build an old classic sailboat they named the Coriolis. The Coriolis was a schooner rigged Chesapeake Bay Bugeye, built to haul oysters and sail upright with a heavy load.  I never knew my grandfather, but I am told that he was a loyal explorer, a loving man, a maker, and a kind father.  As a pilot in the Second World War, my grandfather was awarded the Navy Cross for bravery.  His entire squadron was shot down.  I cannot imagine the sense of loss he must have felt upon his arrival on the carrier deck, knowing that none of his friends would return. 

After the war he went home to my grandmother in northeast Florida.  There, he did what he could to raise his children, run a small airport, sail the river delta, and build the Coriolis.

When my grandmother asked him why he was intent on building a slow and heavy sailboat, my grandfather replied that the Coriolis' shallow draft would allow him to sail green Bahama waters.  But why a boat designed for hauling oysters?  I like to think he had a Pirate's intent, and built the Coriolis as a smuggling vessel.  Why else would someone have a small airport and a sailboat built to haul heavy loads and sail in shallow water?  Sadly, he died before he was able to finish his dream.

A halyard is a rope used on a sailboat to raise or lower a sail; it is the point at which we first grasp the wind.  On any new endeavor, large or small, it is by the halyard that we open up and lift ourselves like sails before the wind, on a different tack, for the love of chance – we merry rovers.   I named this brewing company after a halyard to remind myself that in this endeavor my labor will be joyful.  Much like my grandfather’s sailboat project, Halyard Brewing Company is a smugglers affair; my intention to sneak into every glass of our craft ginger beer a wild rover’s delight.

Vermont is now my home and I’m fortunate that I have the opportunity to sail on the beautiful, and sometimes treacherous, Lake Champlain.  Thanks to Captain Stephen Unsworth and the crew of the Morning Star for having me aboard for this year’s racing season.  It is one thing to sail a 15’ Hobie Cat in warm waters with a bottle of rum, and quite another to face down 5 – 8 ft seas in 60 knot winds on the mighty Lake Champlain.  Cheers to the Morning Star and her promise of unexpected adventures. 


Kenneth Richards