Photo of the Rose ship on the horizon
The Rose. Photo: Will Sofrin

Seminar Series: All Hands on Deck – 18 November 2023

All Hands on Deck
A Modern-Day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World
with Author Will Sofrin

Saturday, 18 November 2023
Zoom Lecture at 11:00 AM EST, Q&A to Follow

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Seminars are free to attend, although we hope you will support the
Series with a suggested $10 Seminar Guest donation.

Join us for this special event with author Will Sofrin as he presents his book, All Hands on Deck: A Modern-Day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World. It’s an exciting maritime adventure memoir that follows a crew of misfits hired to sail the Rose, an eighteenth-century replica warship thousands of miles from Newport, Rhode Island, to Hollywood to star in the upcoming film Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World.

In the late 1990s, Patrick O’Brian’s multimillion-copy-selling historical novel series—the Aubrey–Maturin series, which was set during the Napoleonic Wars—seemed destined for film. With Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin, the production only needed a ship that could stand in for Lucky Jack’s HMS Surprise, with historical accuracy paramount. The filmmakers found the Rose, a replica of an 18th-century ship that would work perfectly. Only there was one problem: the Rose was in Newport, Rhode Island, not in Southern California, where they would be filming. Enter a ragtag crew of thirty oddballs who stepped up for the task, including Will Sofrin, at the time a 21-year-old wooden-boat builder and yacht racer, who joined as the ship’s carpenter.

All Hands on Deck is Sofrin’s memoir of the epic adventure delivering the Rose to Hollywood. It’s a story of reinvention, of hard work on the high seas, of love, and of survival.  The 1757 warship HMS Rose was a prime example of cutting-edge naval technology in her time, but in the 21st century, a relatively small community had experience sailing this kind of ship. In 2002, the new crew of the replica ship Rose effectively went back in time, bringing to life the old ways of our seafaring past—and barely lived to tell the tale.

All Hands on Deck is a gripping story of an unforgettable journey and a must-read for fans who adore O’Brian’s novels and the dramatic film adaptation of Master and Commander.

About the Speaker

Photo of author Will Sofrin

Will Sofrin is a master shipwright who has taught at MIT and has built boats for Billy Joel and Estee Lauder.  As a former professional sailor and licensed captain, he has tracked more than thirty thousand blue-water miles.  Today, he is a freelance writer for numerous maritime periodicals, continues to race sailboats, and explores the coast of California with his wife and seven-year-old daughter. To learn more about Will, visit his website at