M/V Content S., mailboat serving Abaco Bahamas 1930s

This is the 110′ yacht Content S. under its original name Percianna II – yes the owners was named Percy. It is part of the Rosenfeld Collection in Mystic, Connecticut and was shared by Earl McMillen of McMillen yachts, a restoration firm in Rhode Island and the Carolinas.

PAST NAMES: Percianna II, Content

DIMENSIONS: 110′ LOA (length overall)
CONSTRUCTION: wood (teak over mahogany)
BUILDER: J. M. Densmore, Quincy (Boston) Massachussetts
EARLY CAREER: Private yacht in Long Island Sound NY and Palm Beach FLA
BAHAMAS CAREER: from 1936 to 1946 served Abaco, Nassau, Miami, Greater Antilles
CAPTAINS: Capt. Stanley Weatherford of Green Turtle Cay, Capt. Roland Roberts, Eleuthera
FATE: Banana carrier from West Indies, rammed, sunk by Foundation Aranmore off Cuba, 1946
NOTES: see below – photo courtesy of Earl McMillen. He has the original motor launch in RI USA

Content was owned by a gentleman from Vermont who kept it in Miami and Palm Beach. But though built in the Densmore yard in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1920, by the mid-1930s it had fallen into disrepair and was taken on a test voyage by Carl Sawyer and his faithful skipper Captain Roland Roberts of Eleuthera. The voyage from Miami to Nassau was satisfactory, and the accommodation for 12 passengers was appealing, so she was changed from US to British flag and put on the run from the northern Bahamas to Miami.

According to “Pappa” Floyd Lowe, patriarch of Green Turtle Cay Abaco as well as Patrick J. Bethel, the vessel was more of a yacht than a cargo carrier and never did particularly well as the latter. Underutilized in Nassau, it was chartered by HRH the Duke of Windsor to sail from Nassau first to Cross Harbor Abaco to rescue survivors of the Norwegian tanker O. A. Knudsen on the 8th of March 1942, then about a week later to Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco, to rescue survivors of the British tanker Athelqueen. She dutifully carried – most likely under the command of Captain Stanley Weatherford, these many passengers on deck to Nassau.

One of them, Alan Heald, still living in Preston, England, was so impressed that he thought they were rescued by the royal yacht Victoria and Albert, which at the time was in the UK.

“Harbor Highlights,” by Grover Theis – Waterfront Reporter for the Daily News, The Miami News, March 27, 1940, page 4 A

“….finally after an experimental trip on which everything checked up okay, announcement can be made that a new service to Nassau and the out islands will be inaugurated around June 1 [1940]

 The boat involved is the yacht Content, a 120-footer which has been lying in storage up at Merrill-Stevens for several odd years doing no good to herself or anyone else because her owner, Howard Spaulding, could not use her.

She was acquired finally by R. W. Sawyer Co. of Nassau, which runs the Monarch of Nassau, and spruced up from stem to stern.

The Nassau owners made a great mystery of their plans, partly because of a superstition that in boat transactions it is best not to say anything until the last vestige of doubt is dispelled. There was all of the rigamarole of transfer of registry, etc. with dozens of possible slips twixt cup and lip.

Anyway, a week ago, all painted up and partially refitted, the Content sailed for Nassau with Carl Sawyer, local representative and Skipper Roland Roberts at the wheel. Upon her successful return she tied up at the South yard of the Merrill-Stevens again and there the job of turning her into an island boat will be completed.

When she starts her schedule she will alternated with the Monarch of Nassau and cover an inter-island itinerary that is not included in the Monarch’s regular 12-day run. All of that is not yet settled, but it probably means that among other calls the Content – the name will be kept – will go to Eleuthera island, where extensive developments are now under way.

This department has written aplenty about the opportunities for trade and passenger traffic among our neighbor islands where no big boats can go. It has already told the story of the very interesting trip made by the Monarch, and now with a converted yacht in the service offering deluxe accommodations, it is not unlikely at all that lots of folks who hesitated about taking the “tramp” trip will slip off on the Content for a little vacation excursion and see for themselves what lies in our front yard.

Not all of us can afford a private boat. In fact, a lot of folks already have made this practice on the Monarch and taken advantage of shooting and fishing grounds, about which they don’t want too much publicity, for fear it will spoil the plentitude of the game, etc. by bringing in too many people.

The law limits the passenger accommodations to 12 on the Content, so for the time being that won’t be too much of a crowd. In time the islands will be discovered…

 Only a month go, this department told about the 86-footer that George W. Gibbs of Jacksonville had just completed for the island service out of Eleuthera for Austin Levy…”
Source: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2206&dat=19400327&id=72EzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QNgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5098,4472126