Our first was a West Indian built (probably in Tortola) wooden monster. It was about 14 feet long. It weighed so much we named it 16 Tons after the song written by Merle Travis and made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955. We didn’t keep her for long.
The second was a little fiberglass run-about with an 18 horse Johnson named The F. D. O.
The third was an aluminum boat we never really named but that we sometimes referred to as the Tin Can.
And our fourth was an 18 foot Swedish double-ender we called the Squarehead.
We will concern ourselves, for right now, with boat number two.
The F. D. O. had originally been the “dinghy” for Laurence Rockefeller’s private yacht. (We will refer to him from this point on as LR) Dad worked at Caneel Bay (LR’s private luxury resort hotel) as the maintenance manager. Anything that was even remotely mechanical and/or electrical Dad was in charge of keeping in good working order. So Dad was in a good position to buy the “dinghy” when LR decided he wanted something new, or something different, or something bigger, or maybe something more flashy. Who knows why the wealthy do what they do. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the little run-about and it was perfect for us.
F. D. O. stands for Father’s Day Off. And, for the next unknown number of blogs, I will be relating tales of our brave Ulysses and our many Odysseys in the F. D. O.
Below are the first pictures of the F. D. O. If they weren’t taken on “launch day,” they should have been.
Here she is, ready to go, on the Sears trailer, which is being pulled by our faithful Yellow Dragon.
Here we are untying her at Number Seven. Number Seven was the name of one of the beaches at Caneel Bay. I don’t know if it’s still called that or not. Number Seven was also the name of one of the cottages where the likes of Richard Nixon – while still president – stayed. Can you tell who’s who? I’m the little one on the left. Erva’s in the middle and Mom’s on the right. What was nice about the F. D. O is that two of us, say me and Dad, could haul her up onto the beach by ourselves, it was that light.