My Father was a poor kid from Bridgeport, Connecticut, an industrial town 62 miles north of New York City. He spoke fondly of his childhood despite the hardships. He wanted more than life in Bridgeport could give him so at 17 he hitchhiked to California and enlisted in the United State Navy. He served during the last two years of World War II and was a signal man on the USS Anacostia, an oil tanker that had the dangerous task of replenishing fuel to ships in combat zones (pictured above) After 20 years of service he retired a Master Chief Petty Officer at Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago.
My father first introduced me to sailing when I was about 10 years old. It was no fancy upscale introduction. We frequently went out for a sail on a scruffy little mud-bottom lake in my hometown in the north suburbs of Chicago. My first memories are aboard a flimsy yet fun and functional boat called a “Butterfly” with a simple centerboard, sail, tiller, and not much room for more than two men (or Dad and his daughter) and a few cans of his favorite hydrator.