A Man and His Boats for owner and guests in addition to accommodations for maids and a doctor. The owner’s stateroom spanned the full width of the vessel. The spacious fo’c’s’le housed the crew of 38 men. The main salon measured 32 x 17 feet. A sick room afforded isolation if need be. A laundry room was outfitted with the latest machinery, and there was hot and cold running water throughout the vessel. Below the berth deck was the hold, a cavernous space with seven feet of headroom, housing the main refrigerators, and storerooms for wet and dry goods. One detail in particular is an example of the amount of care and thought that went into every aspect of the yacht. It was the shape of a hatch opening on the overhead of the dining saloon that Arthur wanted to stimulate his guests’ sense of beauty. According to the man who built the hatch at the Fore River yard, whose name has been lost, “Commodore James stipulated that the hatch opening, as viewed by diners seated in the saloon, had to be shaped as a perfect ellipse. It was my job,” the builder wrote, “to arrange for this thing of beauty. Sole dimensions given to me comprised the major and minor axes. Shaping of the metal was not permitted until after the naval architect came to Quincy from
New York and checked the layout for accuracy of ellipse.” The décor below deck was just as carefully considered by Arthur and Harriet. On a stop at Iceland on Coronet some years before, they had marveled at scenes from Norse literature in which the various Icelandic sagas are set. When it came time to decorate Aloha, replicating these scenes seemed most appropriate. Not just with murals, but with hand-carved teak panels. They called upon acclaimed artist and teacher Karl von Rydingsvärd, who carved three large panels illustrating Viking sagas of hunting, fishing, and ~ largest of all ~ a panel showing the saga of Sigurd wresting the sword from the Brandstock tree. Von Rydingsvärd also carved a series of smaller panels representing the evolution of vessels through history, including a Chinese Junk and Cleopatra’s Barge. Von Rydingsvärd carved furniture of his own design for the cabins, pieces that bore the heavy, strong character of Scandinavian antiques. ARTHUR CURTISS JAMES, Unsung Titan of the Gilded Age, will be available in March at acjproject. com, and at amazon.com. Roger Vaughan has lived, worked and sailed in Oxford since 1980.
March 2019 Tidewater Times