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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

1943 ❖ Corkey Finds a Flatty ❖

Skippy (L)
Chet North Boat Shop aft of the flatty.
Photo scan courtesy of Corkey North.



"Someone, not knowing differently, reported to the hall of history that my dad (Chet North) built this little misfit and I'm sure he is rolling under his headstone over the reference. So, to let him rest in peace, I feel obligated to report the facts about this little nautical joke.
      The family moved to Anacortes early in 1942 and mother located the last possible apartment in town, at a price. The war had created an influx on the small town that the community was unprepared to accommodate because of the two shipyards and overseas shipping of war materials. Dad went to work in the North Pacific Shipyard, the smaller of the two yards; he soon gained recognition for his skills as a shipwright and became a foreman.
      Bored beyond reason in the city, I started hinting that there was a need for a boat in my life, sail preferred, since I'd already worn out several bed sheets cavorting in old skiffs around Deer Harbor.
      In 1943, Dad's friend, Louie Corbin, knew where there was one way out on 34th street. It had been built by a teen as a school project and the he had been drafted just after graduation, before the boat had even touched water. And as fate would have it, he had  been killed overseas shortly thereafter. The family did not want the reminder and offered the boat for $25. That was my total savings from my Anacortes Mercury paper route for the year, so hiring a truck to haul it was not considered. We brought some fir poles back from Deer Harbor on the roof of our old Model A and built a sled under the boat and towed it down R street from 34th to 909 3rd behind the aging Ford. Likely an act not applauded today.
      At 906 3rd lived Beverly. Mom would say, 'real nice girl but not too pretty', of course I though different about that. She hung around a lot while I was rigging my ship, so launching was delayed maybe months while I absorbed the glory from my 'public.'
      The sail was cut and laid on my grandparents living room floor and sewed on Mom's treadle Singer. For safety Dad had limited the sail area to 75-ft-–there are hankies that large. Bev moved to Cap Sante, so there was no more reason to delay launching at the end of 2nd street. 
      And so began the routine, sail a little, bail a lot or don't sail but bail a lot. In 1945, we all returned to Deer Harbor, but my head was on powerboats; Skippy had to find a new caregiver. Happy Birthday Jan.
      I've thought about that boat over the years and what would have made it more lovable. Then, in the 1960s, I saw Cliff Lewis, Jr with an Atwater-Scott screwed to her fat stern and a big grin on his face––that was IT. She was really a repressed powerboat. The leaky centerboard was a disguise."
Written by L. Wayne 'Corkey' North, lifelong mariner, submitted to Saltwater People Log.


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