GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 9, 2012

Boat cut loose by storm washed to Cohasset

By Richard Gaines Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — On Wednesday night, John Greenleaf checked the mooring in Magnolia Harbor of his 40-foot commercial fishing boat with binoculars until dark, and then went home.

The next time he saw the David & Jenna, it was sitting on a secluded, rocky beach in Cohasset — about 30 miles to the south, southeast.

What Greenleaf saw was the power of the forces of nature — the fierce counter southerly clockwise currents pushed ahead of the gale in the unnamed nor’easter that took its time working north along the coast.

When the boat was discovered beached Thursday morning, a resident took down the registration and was able to identify and locate Greenleaf, who lives on Exchange St.

Greenleaf and his uninsured boat were fortunate. The 50-year-old Worcester native, who moved to Gloucester after college to make a living on and from the sea, said he did not believe the David & Jenna, with which he operates a day boat hook fishing business, was damaged. In an interview with the Times Friday, he said he planned to run it back home as soon as it was floated free.

The boat was scheduled for hauling out and maintenance “to make it look beautiful,” Greenleaf said. Cohasset residents commented on the good fortune of fate that brought the boat across Massachusetts Bay in the storm and deposited it to a sandy cove that is bordered by ledge which might easily have shattered the fiberglass boat built in 1983.

“This guy should play the lottery,” Tom McKay, owner of 3A Towing and Recovery, told the Patriot-Ledger of Quincy.

A number of Cohasset fishermen and residents worked Thursday during the waning of the storm to help Greenleaf keep the boat upright.

The boat showed up after dawn on Thursday in front of the house of Dick and Patsy Leggett of Jerusalem Road. “I knew it hadn’t come from around here,” Patsy Leggett told the Patriot-Ledger. “I knew it had come from the east or north.”

Greenleaf said he began working in Gloucester for the Yankee Fleet and eventually decided to try his hand at commercial fishing. He said he enjoyed it, but “since Obama took office, life has been pure hell” with the institution of catch shares and catch limits and the disappearance of the heavy concentrations of fish. He switched from gillnetting to hook fishing.

He has called Gloucester home since 1986, when he was 24.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Cohasset police and fire personnel helped volunteers keep the David & Jenna stable during the nor’easter.

Greenleaf described them all as “the finest kind” of people.

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.