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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Richard & Arnold
Working Boat Takes a Holiday
March 30, 2016
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deck hand on the fishing vessel Richard & Arnold reported an odd phenomenon after his first overnight trip on the boat.

When the fishing boat got back to the dock in Massachusetts, he asked the captain’s wife, “Did you know your husband salutes the sun out there when he gets up in the morning? He takes his hat off, looks at the sky, and says, ‘Good Morning, Sun.‘”

Offering salutations to the sun is a hook to catch people, encouraging them to learn more about a fascinating culture.

The story of the Richard & Arnold is the story of David and Judy Dutra and one that Judy chronicled in her book, Nautical Twilight, a few years ago. The 60-foot boat was built more than 80 years ago, and is still operating as a dragger, making it one of the oldest documented fishing vessels on the East Coast.

This winter, though, the Richard & Arnold, is not dragging the nets, and there’s no fishing in the cold waters near Cape Cod for David.

Instead, David and Judy left Cape Cod behind in October and pointed the Richard & Arnold south. Their working boat has become winter home for them. They had intended to take the ICW to Florida and spend the winter there. But then they arrived in Oriental in early November and tied up to the docks at Garland Fulcher Seafood. They became familiar with the concept of the Oriental Velcro.

ofpmf 2015
The library/parlor of the Richard & Arnold contains editions of Wooden Boat Magazine. The publication once featured a story on the 88 year-old working trawler, or dragger, as they say in New England.

It is the first big break from fishing that Dave and Judy Dutra are taking in decades. They go back more than 40 years to the summer tourist season when Judy, moved from New Jersey and was waitressing in Provincetown, whose harbor was filled with relatively small, family-owned fishing vessels. When David and Judy met, David was determined that one day he’d be captain of his own boat and not a deck hand on anybody elses. He worked every spare moment to rebuild an old fishing boat.

Together they made the boat seaworthy, married, and in time realized they would need a bigger, better boat to earn a living that would allow them to raise a family in Provincetown.

ofpmf 2015
A working trawler – distinctively different from other vessels transporting snowbirds.

Enter, the Richard & Arnold.

She’d been built by the Casey Boat Yard in Fair Haven, Massachusetts during the 1920’s, when Prohibition was in place. Judy says that it was commonly acknowledged that New Jersey gangster, Dutch Schultz, had ordered the boat to run rum.

Dutch Schultz also had a vision of wanting an exact half-replica of a Gloucester fishing schooner, sailboats that were a standard 120 feet long with a 30 ft beam. The boat builders followed through, creating a vessel 60 feet long, (52 feet on the water), 15 feet wide, drawing 6 and half feet, and sporting a sailboat’s displacement hull.

But then Prohibition ended, as did the profit in running rum. The boat was finished but had no name, and was left unclaimed at Casey’s.

The half-replica Gloucester schooner spent a few years as an orphan in the 
Fair Haven boat yard. Then, Frank Parsons, a commercial fisherman, bought it, rigged it for fishing, and named it after his two sons, Richard and Arnold. Subsequent owners did not change the name and David also honored that tradition when he acquired it 35 years ago.

He fished, now his own captain. Judy fished with him when she could. She became an RN and was school nurse where their two sons were enrolled.

The family took excursions on the Richard & Arnold. There was a fishing trip followed by a visit to Rhode Island. David and Judy steamed into the Newport harbor to view visiting tall ships from all over the world. Thousands of modern pleasure boats had the same idea and vied for a spot. Newport was so crowded that weekend, vessels in the harbor played “bumper boats.” While some of the crew on the Richard & Arnold wondered if they had a prayer of finding dock space, David seemed undaunted by the mass confusion in the harbor.

He spied just one space at a dock just big enough for them to tie up.

ofpmf 2015
Similar to most cruisers on the ICW, a computer aids navigation. On the Richard & Arnold, it not only aids navigation; it also helps track fish species and locate underwater objects

Looking at the tiny spot David pointed out, it seemed to Judy that they could just walk across the decks of other boats to to reach that dock. Judy did not hide her apprehension. She asked, “Think we can dock there?” David answered, “We can try.” He and one of his sons had one line tied to the dock, after which a man appeared and distinctly told them they could not tie up there. David apologized. He and the boys immediately began to undo the one line they had secured.

The man walked away, but then turned, and trotted back to the edge of the wharf. “Is that really the Richard & Arnold?”, he asked.

Judy came forward and said, “Yes, it is. We’re from Provincetown. We spent one day fishing on the way but we are trying to make this weekend a family vacation. We want the boys to see the tall ships because we know it is something they will probably never see again. They are so excited.”

The man on the dock walked away, uttering a simple directive to the Richard & Arnold crew, “Tie up and enjoy the weekend.”

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Posted Wednesday March 30, 2016 by Melinda Penkava

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