In the summer of 2002 Benjo acquired a 1978 30’ O’Day sailboat, which had been damaged in a storm when another boat released from its mooring and crashed into it. Over the course of several summers while working at the International Sailing Center Benjo skillfully restored the boat. He worked at the Center during every summer from 2000 to 2014. He ultimely named his boat Momma [sic] Dance in honor of a song “The Moma Dance” by his favorite group Phish. Momma Dance became Benjo’s home on Lake Champlain during his summers at the Center and he reveled in taking his friends on Lake Champlain cruises and adventures while teaching many of them how to sail. To watch Phish play Moma Dance "live" in Brooklyn click here.
In June of 2013 Benjo and his beloved dog Buddy set sail to fulfill his childhood dream of sailing from Lake Champlain to the Bahamas. With several different crews who met him along the way he made port in Norfolk, Virginia in August. Leaving Momma Dance in Norfolk he returned to the University of Colorado, Denver to complete his senior year.
In June of 2014 Benjo, Buddy, and his new first mate Matt Pfire returned to Norfolk to continue his sail to the Bahamas. He landed there in the middle of July and on August 1, while practicing prolonged breath holding after a day of spear fishing Benjo tragically became a victim of Shallow Water Blackout.
On August 27, 2014 four different crews consisting of Benjo’s friends and co-workers at the International Sailing Center began bringing Momma Dance back from Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas to Mallets Bay in Vermont. The schedules and crew members were as follows:
August 27, to August 30, from Harbour Island to Stewart, Florida
Crew: Dr. Benjamin Frederick, Lieutenant, Unites States Navy and Captain Gerry O’Donoghue, Commander, Irish Navy, Retired
October 7, to October 21, from Stuart, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia
Crew: Erol Bayar. Justin Bayar and Bill Mclaud
October 24, to October 30, from Norfolk, Virginia to Liberty Landing, NYC
Crew: Mike Crowley , Doug Riley , and Armand Fourniew
October 31, to November 5, from Liberty Landing, NYC to Mallet’s Bay, Vermont
Crew: Norm Staunton, Tom Dunn, and Tom Price
In November 2015 Momma Dance was donated to the Live Like Benjo Foundation and will be used exclusively to carry on Benjo’s love for sailing as a training vessel and to provide for sailing adventures under the Foundation’s various Programs. It should be noted that the Haller family cannot thank these wonderful men enough for bringing such a big part of Benjo home. Momma Dance is back where she belongs.
Lyrics to "The Moma Dance":
And all throughout I gaze and glimpse you
Loving never did convince you
I see you when you're all alone
It's like a person I've not known
The moment ends though I feel winds
Blowing differently than ever before
And they're pushing me further from shore
A frothy cap the steady slap
Of lines against the rail
A biting rain take in the main
Up the rigging take in sail mind the skipper we'll not fail
He'll bring out wine all will be fine just hear the order watch the sail
The moment ends