Boothbay Region Historical Society/Out of Our Past

1954's Hurricane Carol Again, Part I

Posted:  Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 8:15am

Following my hurricane Carol article which appeared in October, I heard from or called a few people regarding their stories about that September 1, 1954 storm. The below article was sent to me by Bob Jacobson. To orient readers to the named locations in Bob's article, Harris Point is the southeastern spit below Appalachee; that spit comes off the short peninsula between Lobster Cove and Linekin Bay. Perch Island Cove is a mile across Linekin Bay from Harris Point and three-quarters of a mile below East Boothbay.

I thank Bob for his story. The next article will cover the Carol stories of Bob Goodspeed on an 85-foot yacht; and Jan Reit, Gregg Wilson, Nat Wilson, and Terry Brewer on Fisherman's Island. — Barbara Rumsey

The Jacobson Adventure

It was late August/early September, as I was a few days away from returning to college. We were at our summer cottage on Harris Point in Linekin Bay. We had a 26-foot cabin cruiser called Katrinka that supposedly had belonged to Governor Curtis. My Dad had been working on the engine the previous afternoon, and since it had been a nice sunny, calm day (there were no radio storm warnings in those days), he didn't bother to put it back on the mooring.

He worked at Sample's Shipyard and left for work as usual at 6:40 a.m. on Monday. By 9 or 10 a.m. the wind was really howling here on the point, but Sample's was in the lee of the storm so he wasn't aware of its severity. Sometime that morning a big spruce tree came down across our driveway and, as I looked out the window, I could see the boat was taking an awful pounding against the float, with the wind due east. So I called the yard and told him he'd better come home real quick as things were going south and fast. His tone was that he didn't believe me but he said "OK, I'll be right over."

When he got home and saw the big spruce tree blocking his way, he realized I wasn't exaggerating, and he could see the boat was in trouble. He formed a plan in his mind right away, and told my Mom to drive his car (blocked by the tree) and pick us up at Perch Island Cove. I didn't know any of this, all I knew was that we were hustling down to the float to look at the boat. When we got there, we saw that a big hole had been punched on the starboard side, amidships, right at the waterline. 

Saving the Boat

Fortunately, the bilge pump had been keeping up with the water coming in. He climbed in, started the engine, cast off all the lines except the bow line, and told me to climb up on the bow and, when he put it in gear, cast off the bow line, which I did.  Now the challenge was to get off the bow and into the cockpit. We were headed into the wind, so the bow was bucking like horse. Somehow I was able to time the waves so I could make a dash for the cabin hatch, open it, and climb down below.

Dad steered the boat across the bay, running it aground in the mud in Perch Island Cove. Fortunately, the tide was going out, so the boat would be safe for a while. We climbed off the boat, got in the car with Mom, and drove home. Later, we drove back and Dad, armed with canvas, hammer, nails and oakum, put a patch over the hole.

Later that night, when the storm had subsided, we went back again, somehow climbed aboard, waited for the boat to float again, and motored back across the bay to the float.

Dad had built a set of ways to pull the boat for the winter, so the next day we spent several hours setting up the ramp, then pulling the boat out of the water. He knew a good boat carpenter who he hired to patch the hole and he made it good as new.