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The Kraken: 1942

July 1942. "Washington, D.C. -- Washington yacht basin." 4x5 inch acetate negative by John Collier for the Office of War Information. View full size.

July 1942. "Washington, D.C. -- Washington yacht basin." 4x5 inch acetate negative by John Collier for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Built in 1921 at New York for E. J. Otis of Washington

The Kraken spent its entire life in the waters surrounding the nation's capital, a 43-foot "bridge deck" power cruiser with a 100-bhp, 6-cylinder MEU Stearns gas engine. Its later owners, all of D.C., were Charles Benns and Nelson Nevius. Sold at a sheriff's sale in 1935; L. R. Kuldell of D.C. owned it until he sold it to Edgar Goff in 1944 who converted it to a fishing boat. Remarkably, it endured for almost another quarter century owned by Goff until removed from documentation in 1967.

Lyle Lovett

is much older than I thought.


It appears that this yacht is getting a new foredeck splash fitted. There are tools on the deck and the lad on the front looks to be doing the work. The two gents in the dinghy have paint stains, likely Sherwin Williams, on their slacks. The retrofit will need to be painted when complete. There is also some missing gunwale to be replaced.

Release the pompadour

That's some wild head of hair on the lad crouching on deck.

What a "do"

Son, the rodents have made a nest on your head.


There was some drama the week before this photo was taken. Another captain accused the Kraken of cutting off his sailboat. Things escalated, and the yacht basin port master impounded both boats. Luckily, the owner knew a lawyer (in tie) who got a court order and forced the port master to release the Kraken.


It looks like they are installing a new wood gunwale.

There is an open paint can on the boat near the pier, so Doug may be correct about what is going on. Those guys definitely look like they have been doing some painting or caulking in those pants.

Maybe they are just painting her above the waterline. It was wartime, sacrifices had to be made!

Repair Crew

All the young men are wearing work clothes, and the tools on the deck and visible seams suggest they've just replaced the canvas decking and are reinstalling the coaming rails. Since these are unpainted they're probably new as well. Wooden boats are, as Joseph Conrad once said, "like a lady's watch; always out of repair".

Bottoms Up

Hopefully they have already done the bottom. Then as now dry dock space at marinas has always been tight. The dock master would push you to get it done and back in the water. Once back in you could take your time scraping and painting above the water line.

Squatter has Rock and Roll Hair

He's just 15 years too early.

Ahoy !! Ye deadbeats


From the looks of the paint the new owner is just as much a flake as the previous one.

Know your meme!

And plenty more where these came from.

Trying to figure out the relationships

Necktie is the Kraken owner or potential buyer and crouching teen is his son. As the cap on one implies, Sherwin Williams and his shirtless helper are painters. Black cap runs the engine and pilots the boat. But if they're about to paint the Kraken, why haven't they pulled her out of the water? They need to get a-cracken, cause that boat needs paint.

I'm still considering alternate relationships and scenarios.

New scenario: Black cap is the skipper of this tiny ship and crouching teen is his first mate. Sherwin Williams is actually a professor and shirtless helper is a wholesome farm boy from Horner's Corners, Kansas. Necktie is a millionaire, who's waiting for his wife to arrive with a surprising amount of luggage. The wife is bringing a movie star friend. They'll set sail for a three-hour tour.

Shiver me timber!

Having a raised deck like this yacht sure looks sweet.

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