I love receiving emails from my dear friend Toby Salk who lives in my once-upon-a-time home of Berkeley, CA. Her email photos always bring a smile and I thought you might enjoy a couple of her most recent pictures. And, by the way, if you live in or around the Bay Area then you are lucky enough to either take Mah Jongg lessons from Toby or join in her Sunday Mah Jongg brunches and other Mah Jongg events.
And don’t forget about Toby’s big yard sale TODAY, July 22, 2017, from 10am – 2pm. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for her address if you are interested in checking it out.
I have the same set from France, which I snapped up as a Buy It Now at a very reasonable price, as I’d never seen one like it before.
Like Mark, I’m not sure if this was produced before the Pung Chow factory was set up, or after it folded; either is possible… The box measures 290x155x90mm, made from finger-jointed wood stained red, with a slide top, a separator for the celluloid counting sticks cut-out to assist removal of the 4 trays solidly made from the same stained wood.
The gorgeous tiles measure 30x22x10mm with 45/55 white/red Pyralin (celluloid), sharp corner on top and rounded on the red – there is some colour variation on the red.
The designs are fairly standard; simple Circles, complex wan Craks, separated rod Bamboos, swooping crane Bambird.
There are a few tiles missing; 1-7 Cracks + 2 Craks; 1 Bamboo; 1 Red + 1 Green Dragon; no Flowers. I’m not sure if the flowers were deliberately omitted, emulating a Chinese set, or if they got lost.. but my friend Johni sent me pics of the Flowers if I ever try to re-create them..
Tony – thank you so much for chiming in…I KNEW you would have information on this gorgeous set!
The readers of this blog are simply THE BEST! Roberta, out of West Tisbury, MA, sent this great photo and article from the MV Times to me.
Roberta – we all thank you!!!
Keep those Mah Jongg sightings coming!!!
A restored 52-foot yawl, once featured in National Geographic and designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built by Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong, is back in the water after a three-year restoration by Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven.
“They did a great job,” Pat Ilderton, owner of the Mah Jong, said. He specifically pointed to the work guided by Ross Gannon and Brad Abbott. “They are not only first-class craftsmen, but they are first-class people.”
Mr. Ilderton, a South Carolina contractor, first fell in love with wooden sailboats 25 years ago. One of his employees at the time was a wooden boat enthusiast. “That’s where I got my introduction to sailing and wooden boat ethos,” he said.
Fast-forward to three years ago, when he found the Mah Jong for sale. “I finally had the time and the money to look at doing something,” Mr. Ilderton said.
He was actually in England with Ross Gannon of Gannon & Benjamin, and passed on the purchase of the sailboat they went to see. Mr. Gannon told him about the Mah Jong in Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands. They went and looked at it, but it would take six months for Mr. Ilderton to pull the trigger. Once he bought the boat, it was shipped to Newport, R.I., and then sailed over to Vineyard Haven.
Since then, he’s been saying yes to all of the necessary repairs, including the harvest of live oak in Georgia and scouring eBay and marine shops for brass fittings. The boat’s ribs, floorboards, and planks have been completely replaced, Mr. Ilderton said. The boat’s hull, ballast, and engine are intact. “We basically rebuilt the boat,” he said.
Mr. Gannon said it’s been a great and challenging experience for the crew. “It’s unusual when you find an owner that gives as much freedom to do our best work,” he said. “In his quiet way, Mr. Ilderton pushed us to do the best work we can do.”
All told, the purchase and repairs cost more than $1 million. “With no regrets,” he said. “The boat deserves it because of its history.”
Built in 1957, the three men who commissioned Mah Jong got a deal on the plans for the yawl because they were still available from the Baccarat, also built by Cheoy Lee.
A Southeast Asia sail of the Mah Jong was featured in National Geographic in 1958. “I have two copies of the magazine,” Mr. Ilderton said.
Now that the boat is fully restored, Myles Thurlow of Myles Thurlow Rigging is getting the masts rigged, and Ben Sperry of Sperry Sails is helping with the sails. “It’s a real local effort,” Mr. Ilderton said.
Immediate plans for the 1957 boat include an appearance at the WoodenBoat Magazine annual Wooden Boat Show in Mystic, Conn. Mah Jong will also compete in the Vineyard Cup, as well as other regattas, Mr. Ilderton said. He also plans to charter the sailboat on the Vineyard, in South Carolina, and in the Caribbean, he said. The boat’s captain is Alex Goldhill, a former employee at Gannon & Benjamin.
Though Mah Jong translates to gray sparrow, it’s also a Chinese gambling game.
Mr. Ilderton knows it was a bit of a gamble to buy the yawl and have it restored. “It’s a gamble that’s paid off,” he said. “It’s been great to be a part of this great partnership. I’ve gained a lot of friends. I could see it was a special project for them.”
Alex Chang has created the perfect holiday gift for all of your favorite Mah Jongg players. It’s a Holiday Mahjong set and you can find it on Etsy at http://tinyurl.com/h94o6q5 , But hurry if you are interested in buying this for your favorite Mah Jongger…this is a limited edition set.