Saving "Windrush" and the End of a Story
It’s Sunday and I have decided to go on an adventure! I grabbed my camera and a pad of paper and head off. I am now waiting for a ferry at Cherry Point to take me to Minnosett Beach. I will end up taking four ferry trips today to get there and back. This is a great opportunity to write this letter.
So, what was the adventure? To go see the Trumpy M/Y “Windrush.” Driving through the countryside in Eastern North Carolina is great this time of year. Wildflowers and everywhere you look is lush and green. The weather and the scenery are beautiful and I had a great time stopping in the small towns and looking in the antique shops along the way.
I made it to the town Aurora and realized that the ferry schedule had changed. It had just left so I had the choice of either waiting for the next two and half hours or driving on. I decided to drive up through Washington and onto Bath, the oldest town and port in North Carolina, founded in 1709. The road was winding and coming across the bridge sits a town of the past. This village on the water, it’s just beautiful with the live oak trees and houses from another time. The next was Belhaven – another charming town from the past. My cousin, Bud Moores and his family, called it Mayberry. They had lived there once, so I knew the town lay out and where most of things were.
There are only two and half boatyards in town. I was heading to River Forest Marina. As I drove in I couldn’t see the Trumpy. Maybe she was gone? I then walked down the back of the building and caught a glimpse of her transom. I just walked around her but didn’t go aboard. I was there when Bill and Connie Idler purchased her in Ft. Lauderdale . Years ago, my heart swelled with pride when Moores Marine made the cover of Professional Boatbuilder Magazine. We were working on “Windrush’s “ bottom in that photo. We had replaced a large part of her keel, floor timbers and ribs. Bill and Connie had worked hard to make “Windrush” their yacht and home. I remembered going to Jackson's boatyard in Ft. Lauderdale years earlier where she lived under a covered shed half of the year. This was when Bill Waskey had owned her. This is an amazing yacht and she needs a new owner.
Bill has passed away and Connie is in poor health. The bills have stacked up. “Windrush” has a broken strut from a grounding and she needs to be hauled out ASAP, but not at River Forest Marina, which is lovely. Their lift is way too small. Beaufort is not that far and has the correct lifting capabilities. This yacht can’t wait, and now is a good time since I understand they are accepting offers. If interested (no tire kickers, please) you can call Susan at River Forest Boatyard (252) 943-2151 or email her at email@example.com. “Windrush” is contract 425, 55’, built in 1966 for John Rutherford as “Sea Dreamer VII.” This is a great Trumpy with pedigree and it is a size that is easy to handle.
I have two more sad stories. The Trumpy “Emma”, contract 404, built in 1962 for William Pogh is being cut up and removed from a yard in Florida. “Emma” was show quality back in 2004, but now she is in pieces. All the varnish has been stripped and the teak was burned from the sun, foredeck cut off, and not one thing has been finished. There she sat and it was a sad ending.
In our yard now is Contract 406, the Trumpy M/Y “Jenny Clark,” (below) built the same year. She is now the only one left of that size and type from 1962. Both “Emma” and “Patriot” are gone.
Finally, David Irving of Bone Yard Boats Magazine is calling it quits after 21 years of publishing. David, besides being a friend, has helped save many a boat through the years with his publication. While the magazine will no longer be printed, there will still be an online version at: www.boneyardboats.com. David is my hero – he single-handedly saved more of these great boats than anyone else I know. Thank you David for all you have done! I still have to write two more articles for him and I will try to make them my best!
Moving on, time to go light. “Lady Catherine’s” work here is done and she is on her way headed north. We had her out for about 2½ weeks in our paint shed. We fixed some topside seams, broken rubrail, and then sanded and painted her topsides. She came out beautiful. I hope Richard and Catherine have a great season. We hope to see them in the fall when they come through on their way south.
Now for the rest of the story on another story. When I was a child we lived in the country, and our car would only pick up AM radio, so when driving to town we listened to one of the big three – I think it was CBS Radio. You had people that had a “radio voice,” like Howard Cosell, or Paul Harvey. Harvey would tell you a tale that was almost unbelievable and then say “Now for the rest of the story...” I told you in my last letter stories of my West Coast adventures. Now, on to the conclusion.
Let me back up a little.
While the “Lady Catherine” project was in full swing, hauled out and blocked in the paint shed, last month, we also had the New Bern boat show coming up for the Antique and Classic Boat Society. I was scheduled to give a presentation on the eight Presidential Yachts and one of our projects, the restoration of the “Honey Fitz.” I was actually in the middle of practicing for this when I got a call from Capt. David Carter of “Olympus.” “She’s coming in” (to Ft. Lauderdale) he said. I asked when and he just replied “Friday” (this was on a Tuesday afternoon). I asked if he was talking about next Friday or the Friday after and he said no, it was this Friday and they needed me to attend to supervise lifting the 1929 92’ yacht out of the hold of a transport ship.
My heart sank as I realized I couldn’t be in two places at once, but I knew I had to be in Lauderdale to supervise!
Margaret agreed to do the presentation and I heard she did a great job. I jumped on a plane to Ft. Lauderdale. I left one thing out – two of our crew were already in Fort Lauderdale working on the paddle wheeler “River Queen.” There was a lot of worm damage on her, but luckily most of it was surface damage. They were working with the U.S. Coast Guard and surveyor Mike Hart and a game plan was formed and in full swing.
Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC) is a very impressive yard, every yacht is over 100’, so our little wooden paddle wheeler was a little out of place. I parked the car as close to the boat as I could and there was a metallic-gold modern Italian yacht that must have been at least 160’. I walked passed it several times. On one occasion, the captain was talking to the yard crew and when he stopped I asked him what was the bilge chocks doing on the stern and the down angle on the transom, and then there were these fins on the bulb of the bow? He answered me in a thick Aussie accent “She’s a classic mate! I don’t know if they actually do anything, but it looks cool!” I asked if they don’t funnel water into the props? “Na, she’s a pig!” So, what his idea of a classic yacht? He answered the boats built from 2001 to 2010. I asked if he was joking and he shook his head. I learned something new about classics that day. I always thought it started in 1946 (or was it 45)?
The team on “Olympus” came from all over: Connecticut, Columbia, Washington State, and North Carolina, and not to leave out England. Our team met to discuss everything from A/C to launches to interior design and we had a lot to go over. On the transportation ship she was stored below decks in the hold and all of the boats on the deck had to be launched before the giant’s hatches could be opened.
We got the call it was time. Getting through all the security at Port Everglades was an ordeal but we finally made it to the ship, a great orange beast. The crew was Russian and spoke with a heavy accent straight out of the movies. We waited and waited on a hot South Florida summer day and I was ready for a nap. Finally we received permission to climb through a maze of small holes in the steel. And finally, we made our way to a steel lift hatch with a steel ladder that went straight down.
Down in the hold of the ship, it must have been 120 degrees. I figured we’d do our checks in 10 to 15 minutes. The Russian crew members set up a ladder along the side of the Olympus and said the deck was greasy, so don’t come down unless there was someone at the bottom holding the ladder. We agreed. He said “I will be right back!” Climbing aboard, the two captains, Rick Etsell and David Carter headed down to the engine room. We had already checked the bottom, climbing around the deck, checking the cleats. I couldn’t see. The sweat rolled out of me. My clothes were drenched. When Captain Rick emerged, he had no shirt and was dripping like a bucket had been poured over him. As luck would have it, there was water aboard. About an hour and a half later, the Russian finally came back and we got down.
We met with the loadmaster and went over some changes to strap locations. We were instructed that we needed to leave the port, then come back on a ferrying boat that they had arranged outside of the port. By the time we returned, the boat was free of the straps and floating in the water. They did not want us there to watch, that was the impression I got. They made sure they got their way. “Olympus” was free and floating with owners, guests, the crew and the rest of us. The engines fired up and soon we were underway. She slides through the water so effortlessly, leaving no wake, and with two 671s, she really clipped along 9 knots without a problem.
It was a good feeling. After docking at the Swimming Hall of Fame, the celebrations began. There was toast after toast. It was an occasion. We had done it! We brought one of the greatest East Coast yachts back home! The New York Yacht, Launch and Engine Co. might have had a short life as a company, but they had built some of the most beautiful works of art in their time and this yacht in particular lives on. Everyone of these yachts I have ever seen is a national treasure. The “Olympus” is in our yard now and as my eyes followed every line on her bottom and topsides all I can do is marvel. I can’t call her a classic since she doesn’t meet my Aussie friend’s definition. So what do I say? She is simply magnificent.
As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”