Thursday, May 1, 2014

Right of Passage - Stories, 1929

Joe Fellows with two passengers, engages the engine of his speedboat, "Fellows 2", in the waters near Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles.

Two stories about Joe Fellows stand out from the usual biographies written about him for the 50th anniversary of the firm, Fellows & Stewart, Inc., in 1949. One chronicles just how much a daredevil appears to take chances, while the earlier story tells of sailing home during a spring storm in San Pedro Bay.

This story tells about the daredevil in Fellows---from an account of a ride with Joe Fellows written by the editor of Pacific Motor Boat in the April 1929 issue, p. 12, 13 and 17.

“… I really didn’t know just what a red-blooded thrill was until the afternoon last January when went to sea with Joe Fellows in his forty-mile an hour runabout and bucked the big ground-swells in Santa Barbara Channel.

...It was late in the afternoon when I drove up to the Fellows & Stewart boatyard at Wilmington… Joe fellows greeted us as we alighted from the car and after showing us a number of interesting yachts and work boats under construction at the yard, told us that if we had time to take a ride with him, he would show us more of the harbor in half and hour than we could see in an automobile all day long… When we got into his boat and he opened up the throttle, we went speeding down the harbor so fast that we wondered if the channel was long enough for us to stop in before we came to the end of it.

I thought we were running at maximum speed when we came down the channel, but as we rounded the lighthouse, Joe stepped on something and then the little ship seemed to light right out from under us and the manner in which the State of California began to fade away in our rear made me feel homesick for my native land.

Presently Joe spied the AVALON off across the channel coming in from Catalina Island. The AVALON is a big boat and she makes about 16 knots and throws up a sea behind her like a torpedo destroyer. Joe circled around the boat until he was off about a quarter of a mile and then at full speed he headed directly for the big seas that were curling back astern of her…

Then as a final thriller, we ran alongside the AVALON at full speed and when we got even with her bow, cut straight across the front about eight feet ahead of her. Now it may be alright for Joe Fellows and Douglas Fairbanks to do stunts like that but I don’t have the experience and probably don’t carry as much life insurance as “Doug” and all I’ve got to say is that while it’s thrilling now to look back upon it, I must confess that we were putting more faith in the motor than the reputation of even the splendid engine could possibly warrant…

Ride Story end

Read more stories about Joe Fellows...

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