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Winter 2012 (Issue No. 54)



Click here for a link to the original May 2011 LOAFER IV story plus June 2011, July 2011, and November 2011 updates:






THE LOAFER IV SAGA -- PART IV: (Part I) I listed LOAFER IV, the free 1960 Morton Johnson 47' Sport Fish back in May for Betty O. She and her late husband, Rich, had owned the boat for over 30 years. I fired off an email campaign to the BYB community, and a tidal wave of interest followed. (Part II) Within days, ownership was transferred to Brad who had a boat partnership plan with a friend. That partnership did not work out, and Brad decided put LOAFER IV up for auction on eBay in September. The boat did "sell", but by late October the buyer had backed out of the deal. (Part III) Once again LOAFER IV was being offered "free to a good home" on the BYB website with 47 new photos.

On October 31st, I received two impassioned emails from a guy named Darren inquiring about the boat. Part IV of this story actually began back in 1989 and was provided by Darren himself back in mid-December:

"When I was 13 years old, in 8th grade, a friend and I got into a little trouble involving some mindless vandalism. Expensive trouble. My mother drove me around looking for a summer job to pay for my errors in judgment. We went to a restaurant in the marina in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. The owner wasn't there, but the head cook hired me on the spot. His name was Rich. After I had worked with him a couple of times, Rich told me about his boat right there in the harbor. "Come by whenever you want. She's at the end of pier 6. You can't miss her. She's the LOAFER IV". The moment I saw her I was in love. Rich had told me where I could find the key to get inside, and I spent every waking moment aboard her. Rich taught me how to fish, how to care for a teak deck, and how to back a 46-foot boat into a slip that is only 1 foot wider than the boat itself -- without touching the pilings.

"Anyway, there were two restaurants in the harbor, and I began working at both. Rich knew how much I loved his beloved LOAFER IV. He told me I was welcome to live on her, so I wouldn't have to ride my bike all the way home each night when I got off work at 10pm and back again to the other job at 6am. Live on LOAFER IV! Well, the battle that ensued between my mother and me was epic, when she would not allow her 13 year old son to move out and go live on a boat. Now, I realize how good of a mother she was, but at the time I was enraged. Understandably, right? So, I would have to settle for every WAKING moment aboard the LOAFER IV because I would have to sleep at home.

"After this event, my mother thought it prudent to meet this guy with the boat that I never stopped talking about. I was so embarrassed. Rich was cool, though; he understood. He kept saying, 'You got a good mother that loves you. You're lucky she cares enough to not just let you do whatever you want.' I know now he was right, but at the time there was no such clarity to be had in my mind.

"After meeting Rich, I was at least allowed to go out on extended distance fishing trips. The most memorable trip was one that took us several hours due east of the coast. A nasty squall came out of nowhere. I will never forget just how much like a cork in a bathtub we were. This huge, seemingly immovable, 'ship' in my eyes was getting tossed around as if it were nothing. I had never experienced anything like it. Rich had. He was calm. But he would not let me leave his sight. He said my mother would kill him if I fell overboard, and she would have, too. We got back to port just fine, although several hours late. My mom was standing on the dock. Fuming. Boiling. Relieved, but boiling mad, nonetheless. She had called the Coast Guard and the Marine Police inquiring about our overdue return. Anyway, we were fine, but my mom was mad as hell at Rich -- boy, was she mad.

"Two years after I had met Rich and LOAFER IV, tragedy struck. It had become far too expensive to keep the boat in Atlantic Highlands, and Rich would be moving her to a marina in Manasquan, which was way too far to ride my bike. I was there when she was hauled for the last time before leaving. I helped scrape and sand and paint. And I waved goodbye as she was put back in the water, and Rich eased her out of the harbor. He told me where she'd be, but it was just too far.

"Years later, when I got my license, I went looking for her. She was no longer there in Manasquan, and being a teenager my girlfriend and such things were now of utmost importance to me. Twenty years goes by. At least one moment a week, over each of those 20 years, a flash of the LOAFER zips through my mind. I wondered what happened to her -- and Rich. Then one day, my birthday to be exact, while checking out the boneyardboats website, just killing time at work, there she is: THE LOAFER IV! FREE TO A GOOD HOME! I dropped the life that I had been living in Utah. I had been stagnant for some time, stuck in the doldrums of life asking the universe to point me in the right direction -- and longing to get back to the sea. The universe -- or God, or fate, or who or whatever -- heard me.

"The LOAFER IV is now officially mine and documented with the USCG and The Dept of Homeland Security. Her name is now DREADKNOT, for which I will be holding a name changing ceremony shortly. I hope to have her in drydock by the end of the week where I will spend a long, hard, cold winter getting her ready for her journey to Key West, where she and I will remain. In paradise. This never would have happened without Bone Yard Boats. Thank you."



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Bone Yard Boats is the quarterly newsletter -- and website -- whose mission is to save old boats.
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