Chas, Chuck, Chase, in that order—each name and human a derivation of the original Charles Kozora, may he rest in peace. Chas was called Sonnie by his parents, but the world decided against that. Chuck was named Charles, but the world saw him and said, “no, that’s a Chuck.” And Chase, his moniker imbued with a certain anglophile flair, is the product of two well-educated and well-to-do parents. Each of them, grandfather, son and grandson, are tied together not just by a name, but by a boat.
The boat is a Steiger Craft 255 DV Miami, a pilothouse. Chas bought it some years back to go fishing on Long Island Sound. Tall and bald, with the slim yet sturdy build of the college soccer player he once was, the old man was smitten with the way the boat sliced through the breeze-driven chop off the North Fork. He’d speed out from the harbor, sometimes topping 30 knots, and smirk at men in more expensive boats with flatter bottoms getting bounced around like popcorn on the slop. “They got no idea about deadrise!” he’d shout to Chuck over the whine of the boat’s single 250-hp Suzuki. His son soaked up the salty wisdom.
But after a few years Chas began spending more and more time at his place near Tampa, and there, pickling himself in ice-cold vodka under the roaring Floridian sun, he all but forgot about his boat, which he had left behind in a Long Island barn, unwrapped and on the hard. The poor girl.
It was in her tatterdemalion state that Chuck found his opening. His very own boat—all he needed to do was power wash her and dunk her in the Sound, which is exactly what he did.
Chas’ son is built like a badger with a crackling laugh that explodes without warning (and that will one day have his wife canonized). He was a stand-out high school wrestler, and when he was 17 he witnessed a shoplifter assault a mall security guard, so he tackled the thief and held him down until police
arrived. Publicity from that small act of heroism helped land him a spot at Georgetown University, and from there he launched a highly successful career in the shipping
Chuck has two sons, Chase, 5, and Andrew, 2. He takes them both on the boat as often as he can. In Covid times he and his family have sought refuge in Chas’ empty home in Greenport, Long Island—an idyllic place to weather the virus. Andrew is every bit the Bam-Bam his father was growing up, and at the moment is a bit too young to learn the ropes. But Chase, sweet and shy and eager to please, well, he’s about halfway to his 100 Ton License. Towheaded and little-boy skinny, he scurries around the deck helping with lines and keeping an eye on pilings while dad wheels away from the dock. Out on open water he “drives” the boat from Chuck’s lap, wide-eyed and vigilant. This is serious stuff.
The family takes trips to Sag Harbor where they moor and ferry to land via a tender. Joy rides happen often and porgy fishing is a must. Both of the boys enjoy fried fish sticks, and they always taste a little bit better when you’re the one who reeled in the catch, even when you’re five years old—perhaps especially when you’re five years old.
Chuck’s a proud papa, watching his boys grow up on the water. What a treat. As little as three years ago Chuck never would have imagined he’d be manning Chas’ boat; the thought and cost of maintaining it gave him the heebie jeebies, and he scoffed at friends who urged him to take advantage of that old Steiger Craft on the hard behind the barn. But these days he can’t imagine it any other way.
After one recent trip around the Sound on a chill-nibbled, bluebird-sky day in early September, Chuck rumbled the boat near the dock while Chase heaved the fenders over the side. They stepped off the boat onto dry land and decided to give Chas a FaceTime call. Chase wanted to show his grandfather how to properly tie a cleat hitch.