Town considers honoring missing sailor

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MECHANIC FALLS – It’s been 22 years since Mechanic Falls’ solo sailor Bill Dunlop vanished somewhere in the South Pacific in his attempt to circle the world in an 8-foot, 11-inch sailboat, Wind’s Will.

The Town Council this week read a letter from his daughter suggesting the town ought to think about some way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his disappearance.

Council members recalled how, in the early 1980s, Dunlop brought considerable attention to the town with his seafaring adventures: two solo crossings of the Atlantic, setting a record during the second trip in the smallest craft, Wind’s Will, ever to make such a journey; his foray into the Bermuda Triangle accompanied only by his cat, Seaweed; as well as his final voyage that ended somewhere between the Cook Islands and Australia.

Local news coverage was, of course, intense but Dunlop also made the rounds on national TV talk shows.

“There was lots of publicity at the time but who remembers it all now?” observed Councilman Dan Blanchard.

In her letter, Kim Dunlop Davis noted that, since her father has no grave site or any place for people to remember him, it would be fitting that his home port, the town of Mechanic Falls, name or create a memorial for its favorite sailor.

The council agreed with Town Manager Dana Lee that the town might be interested in doing something on the 25th anniversary of Dunlop’s disappearance but, noting they had been given a three-year lead time, took no immediate action.

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