LETTERS ⇑⇓DC'S PHLEET In the October 22 'Lectronic you wrote that Dennis Conner owns 30 sailboats. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who would love to see an inventory. I Googled it like crazy, but came up dry. David Demarest Burbujas, Vanguard 15 #2004 San Anselmo
David — It was Dennis himself, our new best friend, who told us that he owns 30 sailboats. Since Dennis says all kinds of shocking things for effect, most of them as hilarious as they are dry, we didn't necessarily believe him. But when Patrick Langley, who seems to spend as much time working on Dennis' boats as we work on Latitude — meaning just about every waking minute — confirmed it, we bought in. Patrick prefaced listing Dennis' boats by admitting that he hadn't seen a number of them in years. But he started off with the Farr 60 Stars & Stripes; the Nelson/ Marek 43 Menace XXIV; various IACC America's Cup boats that charter out of San Diego; a halfinterest in the 139-ft America's Cup replica America; two Etchells in San Diego; two Etchells in Australia; Fame, the 41-ft 1910 'DC's Pholly', one of 30 or so. schooner without an engine; Splendor, the Sparkman & Stephens 48 he just bought from the Driscoll family; and DC's Pholly, the J/105 he just bought and used to take third in the J/105 North Americans. Seeing that Patrick was wearying from going down the list, we asked him how many people Dennis has working on his boats. "When I started about 10 years ago, he had close to 100 guys on the payroll," Patrick responded. "Now it's pretty much just me and an occasional helper." Apparently the more time you spend around Dennis, the dryer your humor becomes. One day we were riding our bike through Driscoll's Boat Yard in San Diego — which is not only where we keep Profligate at the beginning and end of each summer, but is also the most fun place we've ever lived — and we saw Dennis having a beer and watching the tireless Patrick working on the bottom of Dennis' new-to-him Splendor. Being a nosy journalist, we rode on over. "You're a smart guy," Dennis says to us without any kind of introduction or preface. "What kind of bottom paint should I put on my new boat?" We demur, saying that he clearly knows much more about bottom paint than do we. "No, no," Dennis insists, "you're a smart guy, tell me what kind of paint I should put on my new boat." We shrug. "You're so lucky," Dennis then says apropos of absolutely nothing. "You're a young guy with lots of hair and no wrinkles. I'm in my 70s, my face is wrinkled, and I don't have any hair." Dennis, who has a full head of hair and is just a few years older than we, says all this without cracking a smile. We're laughing our ass off inside. When it comes to one-liners, Dennis could have given Rodney Dangerfield a run for his money. "Well then, tell me what I should do with this boat," Dennis says, careening off onto a new gybe, while gesturing at Splen-
Page 36 •
• December, 2012
The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.