|Fathers & Sons|
Part 3: Last year the Connie O’Connor was finally launched at Yarmouth.
By Capt. Bill Pike — May 2003
"I'll never forget the day," laughs wife Lorelei. "He came home from Alan's and said, `Lee, you'll never believe it--the damn Ark's back.'" Dugas had decided to buy the Connie from Lowell and get him to transform her into a classic trunk-cabin cruiser with a large saloon and pilothouse. Dugas envisioned himself having a ball, cruising the coast of Maine in a true lobsteryacht. The tarp was removed from the Connie, and she was hauled back across town to Royal River, where for the next four years, when Lowell wasn't working on other, more pressing projects, he chipped away at the one he'd started a decade earlier.
On July 29, 1997, Carroll Lowell died; he was just 59 years old. Ironically, the lawsuit that had gradually rounded his shoulders and softened his speech over the years was settled in his favor just weeks before he passed away. Even Keel had reopened as well, reuniting father and sons in a joint effort: building a plug for a new fiberglass lobsterboat. "He seemed so relieved and happy then," Lorelei remembers. "He called me one day and just held the phone toward the shop and told me to listen. And I says, `Carroll....Carroll, I know where ya are. Ya sittin' on ya rear end on a chair in the corner, and those boys ah buildin' the boat!'"
Last year the Connie O'Connor was finally launched at Yarmouth. Oddly enough, as she slid into the green depths of the Royal River to the cheers of hundreds, she again entangled her fortunes with those of her builder. After Lowell's death Dugas lost interest in the old cruiser and put her up for sale. Within months Don and Carolann Streinz of New Hartford, Connecticut, bought her. She was just what they wanted: a real Lowell cruiser, albeit an unfinished one. Soon the Connie made the crosstown trek yet again, this time back to Even Keel, now run by Jamie and Joe. Splicing the boat into a busy schedule, they used the skills their father had taught them to finish the job he'd started. It was not easy, having to handle tools and materials their father had hand-made and read the notes he'd left behind to facilitate the tasks he'd meant to perform.
But here's the beautiful part. Soon after the final papers and contracts were signed--they were the only papers and contracts ever signed in connection with the building of the Connie O’Connor, by the way--somebody noted a rather phenomenal detail: It was Carroll Lowell's birthday.
The Streinzes promptly changed the name of their new lobsteryacht to the Carroll L, of course. And then they sailed happily off into the Pine Tree sunset.
Even Keel Marine Specialties Phone: (207) 846-4878. www.lowellbrothers.com.