The Schmidt boat would later become the club boat (I THINK).
Copyright Richard G. McManus 2008
fast upwind and down, and were pretty entertaining to sail. They were 18 feet in length and usually needed a crew of three to race but could sail with six. Cape Cod Shipbuilding had built them extremely well with cedar planks and sturdy structural members. They had a lead ballast beneath the floorboards to help them stay upright.
By the late 50's they were dwindling. Someone would decide that by golly they could do the care of the boat themselves right on the beach in Saltaire instead of sending the boat to Southard's boatyard in
Within a year the boat would be a planter, rotting out and hopeless. The fleet kept getting smaller. By 1961 there were only five left--the club had one, the Paul Connelly's had 'Con-Tiki' the fastest and best cared for of the CC's, the Lapps, Oliver Hull and Hugh O’Brien had one.
Con-Tiki sailed away from all the others in any races that were held in that era, and the cost of keeping a CC up had become a real problem. The sailors wanted a different class boat, but finding the right one did not go smoothly.
There are a series of good stories about this. The Tom Connollys purchased a Cape Cod Rhodes 18, a very nice and fast boat, but the price was prohibitive and the one they purchased remained the only one for some years. The
Then the Ervins and another family bought a Puffin. This was a cute little boat, about 14 feet long and kind of chubby, like a catboat. They were fiberglass and relatively light. A sales rep came down to demonstrate the little boat one day in 1959 or so. Unfortunately while the boat was being put through its paces it capsized in front of a dock full of prospective customers and interested spectators. ** (see note below) That was a problem. Worse was that the little Puffin was too slow to fight the powerful tides on the GS Bay. Sailing it into a tideway was a pilgrimage, with the boat going backward over the bottom no matter how lovely she might look on the water. In fact I came close to throwing Johnny O'Shea right off the boat when, on a sailing picnic, he insisted on sailing the damn thing straight into the channel for about 400 successive tacks near Captree Island as we attempted to sail to the inlet. Each time we came up to the dock at the same fisherman, who looked at us with a great deal of curiosity.
My dad had been a resident at
seen the Boston Community Boating Mercury fleet, which had already established itself as a very hardy bunch of sailboats. He bought Mercury #653 in 1961 (I THINK) and Ann Buchler, later Riley skippered the little boat against the CC fleet. While the Mercury was NOT perfect for the Bay, it was a great improvement, and the second year four other boats were purchased. The Ervins, Standards, Frank McManus and the Gibson's all purchased Mercurys. The following year Jonathan Leigh and the O'Sheas purchased them as well and the era of the Mercury began. These boats will probably outlast
Better boats came later but the Mercury's ruled the 60's and early 70's.
- Did the Savannah go down off Fair Harbor?
- Could the S.S. Californian have saved the victims of the Titanic?
- Did the Bismark go down under enemy fire or was she scuttled by her own skipper?
- What was the weather?
- What were the sailing conditions?
- Who were the crew?
Back in the late 60's and early 70's, each Spring I would have to spend weeks getting my Father's Cape Cod ready for the Season. Scrape the hull, chalk the seems, paint the hull and deck. Finally it was time to put the boat in the Bay off the Lapp House. Some of the Old-Timers will remember what happened next. The boat would immediately sink up to the gunnels. I would be the laughing stock of Saltaire for the next three or four days. Then, after I baled the boat out, it would float like a cork after the hull had swollen with the Bay water. In the Fall of 1973, I left for college, and a storm blew our CC against the bulkhead and broke her ribs. I'll miss her.