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The many lives of Aphrodite

An enduring classic commuter yacht

Alan Dinn, the grandson of Purdy Boat Company founder Ned Purdy has written a detailed history of the commuter yacht Aphrodite built when his great-uncle Gil Purdy presided over the boatbuilder.

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"The Many Lives of Aphrodite," ($42.75 through Amazon, 2010, Trafford Publishing) details the story of Aphrodite, built in the depths of the Great Depression for Jock Whitney, one of the wealthiest men in America, and would host show business personalities such as Shirley Temple, David O. Selznick and Tallulah Bankhead.

Aphrodite served in the Coast Guard during World War II, where she was an escort to the Queen Mary and a chase boat for PT boat trials. Not once, but twice, the boat was rescued from scrapping.

As a family member, Dinn has access to an impressive array of both color and black-and-white photographs, including restoration images, and official documentation such as a July 17, 1945, letter from the Coast Guard that begins, "Your vessel, Aphrodite, which was placed at the disposal of the Coast Guard on 22 April, 1942 has now been returned to you. The Coast Guard appreciates your public-spiritedness in making this craft available to the service and to your country. In the great war in which we are now engaged, every citizen and every resource plays a part in the goal of victory."

This article originally appeared in the Home Waters Sections of the February issue.