I was really happy to read in the Gazette (July 24) that there might be a possibility of keeping the freight ferry Governor running rather than selling her for scrap. I love the Governor. I often go out of my way to book trips on her when she is running. I have taken countless photos of her from land and sea. She has an interesting, if not convoluted history. She was built in 1954, and put into service as a ferry between San Diego and Coronado, Calif. Her name at that time was M/V Crown City, and she ran that route from 1954 to 1970. When a bridge was finally built between the two cities, she was sold to Washington State Ferries, and renamed the M/V Kulshan. She was used as a ferry in Puget Sound from 1970 to 1982 on the two-mile route between Whidbey Island and Mukilteo, a suburb of Seattle. According to the evergreen.com fleet site which has a write-up on all Washington state ferries past and present, she “has the unique distinction of being the most loathed ferry to ever sail Puget Sound waters.”

Apparently her accommodations were too spare for many travelers, and her deck too open, so in rough seas, you might get a bit wet. But still, being only a 1.5-mile trip, I can’t imagine what all the fuss was about. The route between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard is much longer. Her open deck, and her shape are what I love about her, and the feeling of being close to the water. Despite her “despised” state, she does have a claim to fame. While out serving in Puget Sound, she appeared in the 1982 film, An Officer and a Gentleman, with Debra Winger walking her deck. In 1982, she was sold to the United States Coast Guard to serve as a ferry for Governors Island in New York. She was towed through the Panama Canal, and then joined the two other ferries traveling between Governors Island and Battery City Park in lower Manhattan, and was renamed the M/V Governor.

When the Coast Guard closed their base in 1996, she became surplus. She was purchased in 1998 by The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority. She seems to have many loyal fans, besides me and her crew. Last summer a large group of people had gathered at the overlook out on West Chop hoping to catch a view of the Charles W. Morgan sailing by on its historic trip to Vineyard Haven. While we waited, the Governor came into view as she made her way to Woods Hole. Person after person mentioned how much they loved her, and some were horrified to hear that the SSA might be taking her out of service, and selling her for scrap. I am hoping the board at the SSA will seriously consider keeping her in service. She is a wonderful, hardworking vessel, and in my eyes, a beautiful one. She may have been despised out in Puget Sound, but she seems to be very well-loved here on the Vineyard.

Randon Rynd
Vineyard Haven