Looking through photos for Father’s Day, I found this: Dear not-so-old Dad, Bob Robertson, right, aboard the Adventurous in Sausalito, California, maybe around 1962.
I don’t know whether the photo was taken after a late night at the No Name Bar or as the crew prepared the scruffy little schooner to race George Draper, an elegant San Francisco Chronicle reporter who would be riding his 12-speed bicycle and possibly wearing a beret, from Sausalito to Monterey, down Highway 1.
That is Adventurous owner and skipper Bob Hardin on the left, a Chronicle editor and a kind man who was generous with his boat. My father, too, was a Chronicle reporter. I’m not sure of the identity of the sailor in the middle of the ratlines pose but, if this is the 1962 bicycle-boat race to Monterey, a short Chronicle story identifies the third crew member for the race as John Cotton. (Apologies: I guessed in an early version of this post that the third man in the photo might be Bay Area sports announcer Bill King, who had a dandy goatee and mustache and berthed his much-better maintained ketch in the same Sausalito yacht harbor).
I don’t remember much about the race itself, including who won, although something tells me it was George Draper, who drove an ambulance for the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and was awarded a Silver Star as a pilot in World War II.
The only tale of the merry adventure I remember is someone aboard saying just before a horrendous jibe, “This boat will sail itself. “
My father, who died in 1995, was still in his 30s in the photo and I do not feel old, even near 72, as I write here. I have to remind myself that he was only 20 and, after serving in the Marines, just a college sophomore when I was born.
But what the photo reminds me of most is that these guys knew how to have fun.
This just in: I found a brief about the race in the Chronicle sports pages, Aug. 21, 1962.
Meanwhile, some stuffy editor must have gotten wind of this story. I cannot find that the Chronicle published a follow up.
And rummaging around in those old photos I find one of another crew, roughly about 1963, with the three brothers recently changing scenery from 1,600 acres of Simms-owned land at the far end of Tano Road outside of Santa Fe to one of the gingerbread apartments across from the Glad Hand restaurant and San Francisco Bay on Bridgeway Boulevard in Sausalito. After a year of teaching at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, our father moved from the Columbus (Ohio) Citizen to the New York Times to the Grand Junction (Colorado) Sentinel to the Santa Fe New Mexican and the San Francisco Chronicle. Then he joined the Peace Corps. It was the 60s.