For those of you who have not had the pleasure of knowing  the creator of something beautiful you own, this may mean little, but last Saturday “Tolly,” Robert Tollefson, the man who built our boat, died.

I also came close to dying when I was 13 years old.  This was back in Boston, where I grew up. My father, as I was hovering near death, promised me a boat if I would just live.  He bought that boat, a 21 ft “cabin cruiser” that  became the Steph I.  The Steph II and Steph III followed and finally there was the Black Eagle, the boat my wife and I honeymooned on  in Gloucester, MA. in 1964.

A decade later, after Barb and I moved to Seattle we managed to scrape together a few dollars to buy a decrepit 27 foot Bayliner, the Yovel.  The Bayliner was a rickety mess, but it was wonderful  for us and for our kids. Still, the derisory calls of “move that Bayliner” hurt my feelings because the disdain was all too justified.  The Bayliner was nothing to be proud of.

One Sunday, we took the Yovel to Andrews’ Bay, anchored  and dinked over to a 34 foot Tolly Tricabin anchored near us.  That boat was beautiful.  There is more to the story, but, for now, months later we found the Aquila.  She was down in Lake Powell.  We trucked the 34 foot tricabin up here, over the passes. Water lines froze.  Later we found craftsmen . Tom Layborne, Steve Sands, Doug McMorran who could  rebuild and modify the  mawkish, motel styling Mr. Tollefson liked.  A tranny and the oil burning gas engines had to be replaced but we and the kids did get up to Desolation and anchored off of Chatterbox Falls.

This year, we completed Aquila’s restoration … 30 years after the Aquila was launched by Mr. Tolly.  Now we have diesels, multifunction displays, Wifi, and the glass hull shines like new after its restoration.

Oh yeh, our first grand child .. Ziva Evelyn Mitchell.  She is going to grow up in this Tolly!

for more on Mr. Tolly ….



Your Comment