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History: Don Massey


Don Massey, Commodore #8

Reprinted from February, 1991 Hailer

Having been a member of DCYC for 26 years, my recollections and remembrances may be of interest to the membership.

In 1962, I had a ski boat on Lake Grapevine. My "Kiwi" wife said she didn't like the motor boat and would I get a sailboat. With everyone in New Zealand living within 60 miles of the coast, at 16 kids get a boat, not a car as in the United States. Although personally not interested in sailing, I liked to build things. I found the plans for a wooden Sunfish and talked my brother-in-law and two pilot friends into building four boats.

Since the others didn't know much about building, it was decided to build the boats in my garage. It wasn't until they took shape that I got much help. I didn't know any thing about sailing, but became the dealer for Sailfish, Sunfish, Aqua Cat, Victory and Omega in partnership with Ed Reynolds. I. learned fast!

At that time, the members of DCYC were racing Lightnings, Snipes and Tiger Cats. They wanted to upgrade to a larger one-design boat .in the 19' to 22' size. Commodore Balfour Patterson asked me to compete in a Victory against an Ensign and a Rhodes 19 in a match race. Without much sailing experience and a lot of boat sales riding on the out- come, I asked the builder, Frank Butler, to send one of his hot shot sailors from California to skipper the Victory. We won, nevertheless, most of the members bought Ensigns because it was a bit larger and had a head.

By now I was hooked on sailing, and without much sailing activity on lake Grapevine, decided to buy the A-Frame cabin across from Cedar Pine lane. l was selling a lot of Victories and Sunfish to DCYC members and joined DCYC in 1965. The next year, the Oklahoma City Yacht Club, which had a large fleet of Victory 21's, invited DCYC to send a team to compete for the Seven State Regional Trophy. Al and Marion Backstrom, Bob Gilchrist, Bob Ramsey and I towed four Victories to Oklahoma. We placed 1-2-3, and would have had 4th if Ramsey hadn't collided with the finish mark. Gloria heard a OCYC member remark after the races, "I knew those Texans were out for blood when I saw that little Valiant pulling a Victory" (Al Backstom's car). Needless to say, we were never invited back again.

A few recollections of Arthur "the Old Man of the Sea" Nazro. P. My first regatta, Arthur P. was giving the race instructions. "ANY boat on the starting line or the extension of the starting line before its five minute gun will be disqualified." I, not being sure what "extension" meant, asked, "How far does the starting line extend?" Arthur P. looked down his nose at me and said, "MASSEY! If I can read your sail number, you will be disqualified. I knew nothing of his background, that he was a successful stock broker, scion of a wealthy New England shipping family, a Harvard graduate and captain of the Harvard sailing team. The name of his Ensign was Paper Boy.  When I asked him the meaning of it, he told me that he had been a poor urchin in New York and sold papers off the streets and worked his way through college, I thought that to be the greatest Horatio Alger tale I had ever heard, the epitome of lifting ones self up by the bootstraps, until I learned otherwise. The real reason for. Paper Boy was that since there was no paper route around the yacht club, Arthur P. would go buy Sunday papers for the permanent residents. I knew I was accepted when I got mine.

One last Arthur P. story. He was sailing with Bob Stanford on Bob's boat and they went aground. Bob said, "My God, we are aground. I wonder how deep it is here?" Arthur P. replied, "How much do you draw, Bob?"

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