Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Captain Frank: The Rumrunners Still Raced on the Bay Long After Prohibition Was Over

click image to enlarge


You can see why both of these ferries were originally built to be rumrunners. After Prohibition, they remained on the bay until the 1960's. The Artemis may still be running on one of the Finger Lakes today.

Captain Frank Mina tells the story below:

Fellow Saltairians,

This is the race that reputedly ended the era of slow and gentle crossings in the grand ferries of yesteryear. The year is 1948 and Captain Patterson has the Ocean Beach Ferry contract. The Zegels had taken Pat's route to Seaview while he was away at war but, in spite of laws that protected the jobs of those who served, Pat was content to take on Ocean Beach. What a good choice :-)

Patterson (foreground) races the Fire Island Miss (formerly "Vagabond") into OB while Snyde Zegel heads into Seaview on the Artemis" later renamed the "South Bay Courier". And therein lies yet another tale....

Capt. Frank


The era of the slower, and usually more elegantly appointed ferries -- many converted yachts, did not end with a particular race or even in a particular year. 1948 was pivotal for several reasons, most importantly Capt. Patterson was home from the war and back in the ferry business. It's not so much that there weren't a number of fast ferries (mostly rum-runners) in service before that time, but two other events occurred about the same time. The end of the war brought a steady increase in the number of passengers as well as homes especially the western part of Fire Island. The other factor was the sudden availability of surplus 63' Air-Sea Rescue boats like the Islander and the Belle, as well a huge supply of crated GM 6-71 and 6-110 Dieselsengines. The old slower boats were soon relegated to carrying freight or sold off the bay.
--Capt. Frank



JOH: Frank mentioned that some of the older ferries were converted yachts. Trivia question: What did the Ferryboat "Saltaire " have in common with other elegant Saltaire craft?

32 comments:

Beaver said...

Here's the trivia question for ferry boat "junkies"

Cap'n Frank states that the Artemis may be plying the waters of one of NYS Finger Lakes.

Where does the original Fire Island Miss reside?

Anonymous said...

Frank does not mention that the Artemis may be plying the waters of one of the finger lakes.

Anonymous said...

The Seaviewer was once owned by Bell Labs- I believe that boat went to upstate NY.
The South Bay Courier was sold to a developer in Staten Island to promote their condo complex.
I believe the FI Miss- went to Davey Jones' locker. Along with the Atlantic that once sailed to Fair Harbor for Gus Pagels.

Anonymous said...

The ferry in background of this picture looks like the South Bay Courier- not the Seaviewer-
I do not recall the Zeeline ever having white painted boats- always blue-inside and out.

Anonymous said...

how about the Zee Liner?

Anonymous said...

location of the Seaviewer...

http://www.cruisenewport.com/RumRunnerII.htm

Anonymous said...

The original Fire Island Miss(pictured in Cap'n Frank's race)was sunk just to the west of the Kismet ferry dock to create an artificial fishing reef - today it is one of the best spots to catch blackfish. Gus Pagel's ferry the Atlantic was also sunk to the southeast of FI Inlet to create a fishing reef. The Fire Islander and the original FI Flyer were sunk off of Jones Inlet for the same purpose(s). Regarding the color of the Zee Line boats - prior to the mid- 60's they were in fact painted white with green trim. I think(??) the ZeeWhiz(built at Freeport Point Shipyard in the mid 60's) was the first one to sport the blue/green paint scheme. The ZeeLion built a year or two later was originally done in blue/green and the other boats, Margaret, Seaviewer, Zeeliner were gradually changed to those colors.

Anonymous said...

What did the ferryboat "Saltaire" have in common with other elegant watercraft??

A bidet?

jimmy said...

Sorry, we left a word out of our trivia question.

Here is what we meant to ask:

What did teh ferryboat "Saltaire" have in common with other elegant Saltaire watercraft?

Anonymous said...

Zeewhiz-was built in 1964 and the Zeelion was built in 1966- both in Freeport NY

Anonymous said...

seaviewer built in 1942 in Bayonne nj- 53.7 ft long

Anonymous said...

Here is a site that shows the original us of the AVR vessels during the Korean War- Fire Islander's hull like we see in the home page of the blog.
Happy reading all you ferry junkies


http://kalaniosullivan.com/KunsanAB/OtherUnits/Howitwasa1b1_a.html

jimmy said...

Speaking of boats built in Freeport:

Was the TEMPO built in Freeport or did it just live there???

Anonymous said...

No, Guy Lomardo lived in Freeport -
when he died in 1977 they dumped his body into Woodcleft Canal. His various boats(most named TEMPO) were world class hydroplanes and he himself was a world renowned racer.

jimmy said...

I am tired of all these entries by people who call themselves anonymous. Like, who sez they dumped Guy Lombardo into a canal? How do you know they didn't put him in a refrigerator alongside Ted Williams and Walt Disney so they could revive him next New Years Eve (now that Dick Clark pretty bad) for another round of Auld Lang Syne with Skinner on accordian?

Anonymous said...

You should be happy that anonymous people are responding otherwise you'd be talking to yourself.

Anonymous said...

More Trivia From Anonymous- I think even FXM may not know this one or Beaver

What is the original name of the Fire Islander? This could be a rick question

Anonymous said...

More Ferry junkie trivia- What is the original name of the Seaviewer?

How many names did the Fire Island Maid have before she became the FI Maid?

Yes, it from Anonymous !

Anonymous said...

Eladio trivia next- yes, it I Anonymous once again!

Anonymous said...

Okay I KNOW the Saltaire trivia answer, but it seems like kind of layup since it was already published on the blog.

BUILT BY CAPE COD SHIPBUILDING, builders of the CC Baby Knockabout AND the CC Mercury's, as well as the Rhodes 18.

Anonymous strikes again!

Anonymous said...

There is more to it than that Mr. Anonymous (if you say who you are- then again, I do not think so I guess I'll be known as Ferry Anonymous - there are actually 3 vessels named - Saltaire

Next question -does anyone know the original name of the FIre Island Flyer? Yes, of course I know the answer- FXM should know this one I would think.

FA

Anonymous said...

I guess no one wants to participate in the ferry trivia.
Perhaps you are stumped?

The official USN designation for the Fire Islander
AVR-C 9501

he first 2 names of the now gone Fire Island Maid
Capt. J.W. Parker Sr. then became the Viking Sr.

That is all folks!
FA

Anonymous said...

this was my first time that i have visited you article and it is awesome ..

William Kurtz said...

My family first came to Seaview in 1938, in my Dad's boat. I was then 11 years old. How well I remember the movies at Ocean Beach, Jerry's Restaurant with meal tickets and 2 prices: 60 cents and 85 cents (lobster was 85 cents), Antal Koller's Bayview Restaurant, the Houser Hotel, Sis Norris's store at the ferry basin, and the walk to church on Sundays. In the 50's, my Dad built 2 houses on the bay in Seaview. We knew the Zegels well. Snyd had the Artemis (he pronounced it "ArTEEmis" and also the "Margaret," which was a rumrunner built at the Wheeler shipyard in Coney Island. I will never forget the sound of those air-exhaust Hall-Scott Invader gasoline engines in the Artemis and in the Margaret. Snyd told us of one event during his rumrunner days - he had picked up a full load of liquor offshore, but the Coast Guard saw him coming in and gave chase. Snyd's boat had three Liberty V-12 liquid cooled aircraft engines. Snyd said that he outran the Coast Guard, in a race from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk; and that the Coast Guard told him later that they had clocked him at 42 miles per hour - through the water, with a full load aboard! I had intended to ask Snyd ("Captain," to me) to talk into a tape recorder about his lifetime remembrances in runrunning and in the ferry business, but I never got around to it, and now it is too late to record all of those unique memories.

William Kurtz said...

Upon further reflection, my memory was faulty regarding the "Margaret." I think now that the "Margaret" was not Snyd Zegel's; rather, it was an Ocean Beach boat...The ferry in the distance, in the photograph, is the "Artemis"...The reverse gear handles in the "Artemis" worked backwards: push them aft, to proceed forward; push them forward, to proceed astern...Guy Lombardo's "three-point suspension" racing hydroplane "Tempo VI" was built by Ventnor Marine in Ventnor NJ...His pleasure boat "Tempo" that he showed off at the Jones Beach Marine Theater was a Hacker...There was a ferry named "Running Wild" that served Saltaire and Fair Harbor, I think...Zegel's "Artemis" and "Seaviewer" had white-painted hulls. The blue hull color came in with the "Zee Lion" and "Zee Whiz."...Capt. Patterson's "Vagabond" had Sterling Dolphin Special engines, one of which had a faulty starter...I once checked out the nameplate on one of the newer Ocean Beach ferries, and found to my surprise that it had been built in Palatka, Florida...Sunday night ferry departures at Ocean Beach were very festive, like a cruise ship "Bon Voyage" party...There was an after-weekend ferry called the "Death Boat." I forget whether it sailed late on Sunday night or very early on Monday morning, in time to catch the first train to Penn Station; almost certainly it was a Monday morning trip..I remember the boys who met the Ocean Beach ferries with the cry "Wagon, Lady?" Suggestion: Google around until you find a video clip of a beautiful, full size, operating red "Radio Flyer" wagon converted from a Nissan truck by a couple in Alaska...it looks so realistic!..brings back memories of the Ocean Beach ferry dock. WGKurtz, 906 Whippoorwill Dr., Palm Harbor FL 34683 wkurtz1@verizon.net

Jacqueline Zegel, daughter of Snyde said...

The picture in the photo is the Artemis, back when the Zee Line boats were white with forest green trim. The "Zee Line blue" came with the Whiz and Lion. Eventually all the Zee Line boats were blue. The Margaret, along with the Artemis, Seaviewer and Osceola, were the original Zee Line (Seaview Ferry) boats. The Whiz and the Lion have just moved to Maine and are owned by the grand nephew of Gus Pagels. Small world! The Whiz is now residing close to where I do.

Anonymous said...

The Zee Whiz in Maine: Check out the photo and description about half way down this page:

http://penobscotpaddles.blogspot.com/2013_07_01_archive.html

"A few boats lingered in the harbor. This boat was up in Bangor for a week or two, there it was named the "Zee Whiz." That name has been painted out, and it may be in the process of being renamed the "Sebago." It had a prior life as a ferry to Fire Island, but I don't know what its new plans are.

Bucksport Harbor and its surrounding area has far more history associated with it than this short post mentions. Still my key take away from this paddle, was enjoying my local environs is one easy way to build happy summer memories. I hope you're enjoying summer paddles too!"

Anonymous said...

The ferries located in Maine are owned by Russ Pagels.(Russ is my cousin, Gus Pagels is my Grandfather)
The Running Wild had patched 50 cal. holes in it's hull from it's rum running days.

Anonymous said...

Don't see any news on the Zee Lion, is it up in Maine as well?

Anonymous said...

Have any old Zee Line pictures to share with us Jacqueline?

Anonymous said...

Have any old Zee Line pictures to share with us Jacqueline?

Doug M said...

As a kid I loved the "Running Wild" even when Gus would pack it on a Sunday heading home and it was 6 inches above the water!!! A lot more fun for a kid than the Atlantic, Isle of Fire or Isle of Fire 2!