Providing accommodations for family and guests has never been an issue at Comfort Island in my years going there. There are five large second-floor bedrooms in the main upstairs section of the house that still have original tin numbers affixed to their respective doors. The numbers read “two, three, four, seven and eight.” In the 1880s there were apparently eight numbered bedrooms. I don’t actually remember being told that the bedrooms with the missing numbers were in the attic, but I do know the attic had sleeping cubicles back in the days of Great Grandfather Clark. The upstairs bathroom had hooks corresponding to eight bedrooms for the purpose of towel management. The numbered rooms did not include the maids’ quarters where three more bedrooms are located. There is a master bedroom and bath downstairs with an adjoining room that could have served as a bedroom too. These rooms are not numbered either.
Beginning some time around 1930 the bats took over the attic. It would take a major cleanup and restoration effort to turn that area into suitable living space again. Not having the attic as overflow sleeping space has been of little consequence. Suffice to say there has been adequate room to accommodate half a dozen houseguests at all times during my tenure. I have no recollection of anyone coming to stay during the 1961 season, but both Deb and I had a friend come to visit in 1962.
My friend, Peter Schramm, from Santa Barbara came to stay the final two weeks of the 1962 season. We made several trips to the McNally complex to put the finishing touches on the MT and when we completed the work, we towed it back to Comfort Island. Peter and I wrestled the mast into the slot designed for that purpose, and I connected the stays that keep the mast stabilized. Dad rigged the sails with help from Hutchinson’s Boat Works. Peter and I went sailing. The wind was moderate at perhaps five to ten knots blowing in the prevailing direction or downriver.
The boat had a centerboard, a mainsail and a jib. I had been to sailing school in Santa Barbara, and I understood the rudiments of sailing. There is considerable current flowing downriver on both sides of Comfort Island. I remember reasoning that it would be best to sail upriver to see if we could make headway against the current. Peter manned the jib while I managed the mainsail and the tiller.
I recall being amazed by the way the MT handled in what I regarded as difficult conditions. The wide six-foot beam made the craft more stable than I had expected despite winds that were gusting and swirling. The centerboard gave the fifteen-foot craft surprising traction against a four - to-seven mile per hour current. Before I knew it we were well past Papworths’ and halfway to the International Bridge a couple of miles up the main channel. Peter had scant boating experience, and he looked back at me several times in a way that expressed concern and uncertainty particularly when wind gusts caused the boat to heel over...