Our son reminded me that we once attached an Evenrude outboard motor to our 12 foot Dyer Dhow dinghy and did some motoring on the local lakes near Pickens, SC.He even admitted that he took some midnight excursions that I didn't know about, and survived. Steve became an excellent tennis and soccer player and concentrated on those sports. I regret that none of our four adult children took to sailing. I blame myself and my father for this. Although my dad was great to sail with, for me, he was nervous around our children when they were young and scared them off sailing. Perhaps I didn't take the time I should have to show them the joys of this sport. I was too busy sailing with my father, the Salty Four, and travelling all over the world on business, and they missed out. Our son-in-law, Butch Fletcher, likes to fish and has a small boat and our other son-in-law, Ben Summers, has done some cruising with his friends. Hopefully, Ben will return to the sea when Tina and their children, Lisi and Noah, have time to do so.
Dad and I sailed a lot both in New England and off Hilton Head Island. One day when we were sailing alone in Calibogue Sound, he asked me if I'd join him on a cross-the-Atlantic cruise together on his 36 foot sailboat, a Charlie Morgan designed Heritage Yacht he loved and had great faith in its ability to cross the Atlantic. I told him I'd read too many books about storms out in the Atlantic and I preferred sailing closer to shore. As dad said, "A barking dog navigator." In hindsight I I have often thought I missed a great opportunity to sail across the Atlantic with my father.He was usually relaxed when aboard his boat, unless he was skippering his Haskell's Rascals off Hilton Head in the many races he participated in in his 70s and 80s.
He offerred to give me his 36 foot Heritage Yachtbefore he died in 1981, but I knew that I was too busy running the textile business and wouldn't be able to take care of it—so he left this boat in his estate. My mother asked my brother-in-law, Bats Wheeler and I to sell dad's boat and we found a buyer in Bermuda. I lined up a group from Hilton Head to sail her to this island. Garry Moore, the television star, was a great friend of my dad's and he volunteered to sail with another couple of guys and delivered dad's boat to Bermuda. Garry later told me they ran into a fierce storm out in the Atlantic that scared them all—but they survived and delivered the boat in good condition.
The first large boat I owned was the Marshall 18 foot Catboat. I had sailed for years with the Salty Four group and decided to buy my own boat since we'd moved to a house in Windmill Harbour on Hilton Head—and owned a dock. I called my friend, Jackson Sumner in New England who suggested I check out the Marshall cats in Padanarem. I went on line and saw just the boat I wanted. I called John Garfield, the owner of Marshall, and negotiated my purchase over the phone. When I asked him what color hull he'd suggest he said, "Have you noticed there are so many white boats? There's a reason for that. A white boat doesn't fade like those pretty green, red, and blue boats." He sold me my white boat and I called her "Windyways" —the name of the house we grew up in on Cape Cod where I first learned how to sail.
Windyways was a gaff-rigged boat with one mast and one large. sail. Mercy flew down a couple of times and 'the Haskell Twins' sailed all over Calibogue Sound. One day the wind was so strong we had to leave the boat in Harbortown overnight with the pleasant Harbormaster there watching over it. When we returned the next day, she said, "Here comes the Haskell Twins." I had lots of fun sailing by myself and with quite a few other friends for the 6 or 8 years we lived there.
I've often heard that the two best days a boat-owner remembers are the day one buys a boat and the day one sell that boat. One day I received a call from John Garfield at Marshall saying he had a potential customer named Bob who wanted to sail on an 18 foot Marshall before making up his mind. I loved showing off my boat and we arranged for this couple to come up from Florida for a sail. We belong to the South Carolina Yacht Club in Windmill Harbour and I decided to have lunch first with Bob and his wife before we went sailing. It was a brisk, chilly day and I wanted to be sure they were up for this. This fine couple turned out to be savy sailors. He was the retired CEO of Carrier Air Conditioning Co. in Syracuse, NY and told me when he retired, he and his wife (wish I could remember her name) moved to Southwest Harbor, Maine where he had a brand new 48 foot yacht built by Able Marine. Bob asked Able if he could do something at the boat-yard while his boat was being built and they agreed. His wife became a docent at a bird-carving museum in Southwest Harbor while Bob helped build his boat. Once it was launched, the two of them sailed down the East Coast, through the Panama Canal, and up the West Coast all the way to Alaska.
When I heard his story, I knew they'd both be fine on my boat. We reefed the sail (Bob taught me how) and we went sailing on Windyways. While we were out there, Bob asked told me he wanted to buy my boat. I hadn't thought of selling Windyways and told Bob John Garfield would be pleased to build a boat just like mine for him. He insisted that he liked the way I'd kept my boat 'in perfect condition' and would make me an offer I couldn't refuse. I maintained my stance as I just wasn't interested in selling my boat.
One year later, Bob called me and said he'd followed my advice and had bought a Marshall 15 footer. "It just isn't big enough for me, Hank, and I still want your boat." I changed my mind and agreed to take his 15 footer in trade combined with a sizable cash payment. Bob drove up towing his 15 foot Marshall and arranged for a friend to sail my baot down the coast to his harbor. Pat and I headed for Maine, wondering whether I should change from sailing to motoring and what I would do with my Marshall 15 footer?
About six weeks later, Bob's wife called us and said that Bob had died of a heart attack and would I be interested in buying back my boat? I was shocked and asked her two questions: 1. How old was Bob? (84). 2. What was he doing buying a catboat at such an age? (She said, 'Hank, you don't know how often I tried talking him out of buying your boat but he fell in love with it when you took us sailing and just had to own it. I countered with my final question; 3. Did Bob ever get to sail her? (no, he spent so much time having the Hinckley Boat Yard redo the woodwork and install an automatic pilot that he never sailed her.)
His wife then told me that Bob's daughter, who lived near Buffalo, NY, was interested in purchasing her dad's 15 foot Marshall. I had not sailed it yet and it was on a trailer behind our theatre on Hilton Head. We talked and I sold her the boat. Now I was boatels, having sold both Marshalls. It was time to get a mother boat—this time a motorboat. More on that later.