Bonaventure V sailing
Bonaventure, Buffalo, and Beer
In the summer of 1975 I worked with Paul Dzuban For Bernie Herman on his C&C 53 racing yacht.
One of the more memorial stories was delivering Bonaventure from Toronto to Detroit. They were going to get the boat ready to race in the Macinaw Bernie gave me a 1000 dollars for food and a 1000 dollars for booze and we had a bunch of our friends for crew. Gord and katie, Krash and Wendy and Matt for a few. We had a geat time endless beer and I bought a bunch of really good wine. I cooked Sunday dinner in Lake Erie of Roast leg of lamb and lobster for starters. That night we hit one of Erie's famous storms and we were flying my watch was around midnight and I loved it on the wheel when we were flying over 15 knots and I was was just as happy to take Matts watch as he was a bit apprehensive about his turn. So the storm blew out and before noon we were sailing up Lake St. clair approaching Detroit when we thought it best to throw our drugs over the side. As we started this Paul came up with a bright idea and told everybody to give him their drugs and we did. His idea was that when we tied up nobody was allowed to leave the boat except him. He had to go to phonebooth and call customs and immigration. So he thought he would stash the drugs in the phonebooth and come back afterwards. So we tie up Paul makes sure he has a dime and heads for phonebooth. Suddenly over the otherside come a raid by customs and immigration with guns drawn. Who what where etc. Who is the Captain. Paul goes to phone loses dime comes back forgetting to stash drugs to get another dime. Paul sees all these armed policemen types and all of us pointing at him. That he didn't shit his pants at that moment is much to his credit. They searched the boat from stem to stern but did no body searches. They were pissed off because we still had so much booze on board. I explained to the man in charge that Canadians no longer smuggled booze into United States that we intended to smuggle booze out of the United States. I promised we would not touch the booze until we got back to Canada and flashing $500.00 I promised to go buy American booze immediatley. So they let us go booze and dope intact.
We had a day at the Detroit Yacht Club to get some work done and everybody went shopping. We went to some dance at a private club being careful to arrange cabs back to the Yacht Club as were i downtown Detroit. so we sail to Sarnia were the racing crew was to pick up the boat and most of us get off. After a long night of partying Paul and I tie up at the custom dock about 9 am on Sunday morning everybody else is sleeping. Nobody about just a phone with sign call officer. We call a half hour later officer shows up in bathrobe and slippers. Got anything to declare Deckshoes a few beer we mumble- he reads long spiel about regulations He then asks if there is anybody else on board.We say yes. "Did they buy anything?" Deckshoes booze. He shrugs well tell them and reads spiel again. We laugh and tie up.
So Somebody came to Sarnia to pick us up to drive back to Toronto. I had to detour to Buffalo to pick up some part or something. There was Gord Jones And krash and Wendy for sure and a couple of others. When we got to Buffalo we picked up the part and it was like 1 oclock pm and everybody was hungry. We stopped at a restaurantand I saw a bar across the street. I told them to come over when they were done and headed for the bar. I was the only one there it was dark and weird and decorated with paintings of Vampires and Gansters. I sat at the end of the bar by a small stage with a big old Wurlitzer jukebox. The bartender got my beer and went back to what he was doing. So I look around had a couple of sips and walked over to the jukebox and put in a quarter and got 3 songs. I sit down to drink and listen when from out of the back comes out a totally naked, nude except for her shoes , gogo dancer gets on the stage and starts dancing besdide me. I say hey you dont have to do that for me," just as the gang comes throught the door. What is going on they ask"? I have no idea I say and we head out.
I used to deliver Bonaventure V a 53 ft SORC raceboat for Bernie Herman but I refused to race it because he wouldn't allow beer aboard.until one time his crew could make a race and Bernie asked me to get my wedensday night race gang together. I refused until he allowed beer. We raced across Lake Ontario and it was the only race he won that year. (Oh did I mention we did it on one tack. We never had to do a thing except drink beer and watch John North sail to victory) We celebrated anyway
Posted by Gary LeDrew
Hi I am Gary LeDrew
And I am writing a book
I was lucky enough to be in the middle of most things in sixties and seventies and got to hang out with some of the greats and near greats and characters of that time.
I was involved in the Art scene and was friends and hung out with Jack Bush, Harold Town, Gord Rayner Robert markle, Mickey Handy, Gerry Gladstone, Gershon Iskowitz etc. etc. and I have stories about all of them.
I was in the music biz and managed a few bands like Kid Bastien and hung out with most of them. I was a close friend of Murray McLachlan for years, and hung out with Mike McDonald, Danny Marks, Praire Oyster, Irish Rebels, Downchilds, Ian Tyson, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummins etc. etc. of course I was the Lobsterman and sang with McLean and Mclean. I hung out with Cannonball and Nat Adderly whenever they came to town.
I was Toronto's leading bootlegger for 5 years everybody came to my afterhours club from the Rolling Stones to the premier of New Brunswick. And Joanie Mitchell sang there.
I won an Actress in a poker game, Helen shaver cooked me supper and I went out with a bunch of models and actresses.
Lesley McDonnell introduced me to Leonard Cohen , Rod Steward and Paul Shaffer for a few. I hung out with Leonard for a while. I survived a night hanging out with Hunter S. Thompson (sitting with tom Waites)I basically had backstage passes to Maple Leaf Gardens and Massey hall whenever i wanted and Bonnie Rait kicked me out of her dressing room.
In the Movie biz I was friends with Mike Ironside for years and Winston Reckert, Catherine O'Hara, Michael Sarrazin,I have lain on Elizabeth Ashely's belly while she shoved coke up my nose. I showed Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio a good time. I took Howard Duff to Lunch everyday for a six weeks and was on his xmas card list until he died. I drank with Richard Burton at least a couple of times a week for 3 months and he told me everything.
I lived on a lighthouse as a kid and took off sailing in the caribbean for 15 months. I took and sold all manners of drugs and in the seventies I was The guy to know in Toronto.
I was one of the few white guys go to the Elephant walk club. If there is one thing I hope to dispel is Toronto as a dull place.
To business I am getting old and not in great health, I am living on a basic pension and I have to Hustle with my art and web sites most of the month to get by. I am afraid I might die before I get all these stories down
My friend Richard Flohil is also raising money to write his book so far over ten thousand and well deserved Richard was instrumental to the folk and blues and jazz scenes in Toronto and tells a good story too. In my own way I was too, I helped a lot of people along the way and I never really cared about money , you wouldn't believe the people that never paid their bar tabs for starters. i just might be a little more fearless in my admissions. For I am not ashamed of anything I did there is lots I wish I had never done.