Early on Sunday afternoon I drove out with Captain Jeff Gutman of the VOYAGER along with Big Al to spend a few hours Captain Rob who threw an informal 'soiree' on the Captree Pride that not only introduced the boat as well as to thank those who helped to get the Captree Pride ready for the fishing season.
From the first appearance at the dock, the Captree Pride looks as sharp as she once did when it was delivered to Clarence Apel in the spring of 1975 by Gulf Craft, hull number 193 as the new CAPT. STARN VI out of Atlantic City, New Jersey. A few years after, the vessel was then sold to Captain Andy Applegate and sailed as the APPLEJACK from the same homeport as the APPLEGATE for a number of years.
Operating as a bluefish, bottom fish and a tour boat, an extended pulpit was later added to the Applejack, and once again it was sold and relocated to Gloucester, MA. and operated as the Cape Ann whale watching touring vessel, MISS CAPE ANN before being purchased by Captain Rob in early 2019. Many will recognize her for this port as her dock just happened to be down the street from where Captain Greg Mercurio once operated the YANKEE CAPTS for a number of decades.
It was then over the late months of winter and into the spring that the Catpree Pride spent time at Shellfish Marina in West Sayville where Captain Rob, his family, crew and friends worked and prepped her back to a party boat fishing vessel. A number of changes were made, and in particular to a dual anchoring system, a redesigned cabin, outside night-fishing lighting added and even down to new rod holders.
Just a few years ago, Captain Jeff had previously sold his original VOYAGER to Captain Rob who later added an extended pulpit to the CAPTREE PRINCESS. Here in a picture taking in March, there was a unique occurrence as each vessel built at Gulf Craft and delivered during a few month period from 1974 to 1975 with the older Captree Princess and Peconic Star Express secured next to the Captree Pride in Charlie Harts' shipyard. This should give a better indication of the work done in over a months time especially to the pulpit area of the Captree Pride. Look closely since we clearly see the modifications made to the bow section of the vessel.
For those who are not familiar with the Captree Pride, here are a number of pics taken of the interior and exterior where the work was done.
Here you will notice the new deck lighting and rod holders installed on the vessel.
Moving forward to later in the night, Captain Jeff at the new anchoring system. This all had to be fabricated and then added to the Captree Pride before she started fishing.
One of the unique differences of the Captree Pride not only to other Gulf Craft fishing vessels, but just most any other party boat is with the dual stern ladders as well as two separate heads on each side of the vessel.
On the top deck there are multiple rows of seating as well as an extended overhang to stand under and behind the wheelhouse.
The layout of the wheelhouse is also unique with a bunk offset to one side and both under and overhead storage on the other side. Notice a pretty neat item set above the wheelhouse door, which reminds one of its whale watching heritage.
Let us take a look at who came down for this celebration on the Catpree Pride.
After the wheelhouse tour, Captain Rob and everyone made it back down to the main cabin where we figuratively had "a feast of Italian delights" that led us to indulge in seconds and thirds...kid you not! Robs wife Jen spoke to everyone about the hard tedious work and long hours put in each and everyday and thanked everyone for making this event possible. Many cheers, a few happy tears and a number of stories that had everyone rolling over the next few minutes as Jen spoke.
It was then time to go for a little ride, and Captain Rob proceeded by taking the boat off the dock and a trip out to the lighthouse.
This vessel was always noted as being a fast super cruiser, and with the 3406E CAT power we saw the Captree Pride move along at 20 knots to our destination.
Captain Rob finally slowed down the Captain Pride then gave the wheel over to Captain Willie when she was positioned at this extremely personal location. The family then gathered in the pulpit for a few minutes and a short 'remembrance' speech was made before roses were tossed onto the water.
Shortly afterwards with the sun slowing setting, the Captree Pride spun around and made her way back to her dock.
Once again back in Captree, everyone now celebrated as a spread of really tasty sugary treats were put out, and believe me when I say you did not know what to start with. I did miss the cutting of the cake, and as fast as it was cut, pieces were taken.
As the coffee and cake festivities were wrapping up, those who attended started to leave the Captree Pride and here a bag piper all of a sudden walked out and stood under a bright lamp and starting to perform at the dock. Everyone stopped, gathered in the bow and grew quiet as we all delightfully listened to these touching few moments at the end of a special evening.
We also had to make our way home since Captain Jeff had to then drive back home to the Garden State. A few last minutes were spent looking around inside the cabin, and pictures already displayed on the wall and counter as we wondered how many more pictures will make it to and be hung on these very same cabin walls over the coming years.
Needless to say it was a very special evening for all of us and of course we give a heartfelt thanks to Captain Rob, his family and crew in having a memorable future with the new Captree Pride.