Chet North Boat Shop above the flattie.
Photo scan courtesy of Corkey North.
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 in 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 he had been drafted just after graduation before the boat had even touched the 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 thought 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.