Yes, that is a boat abuilding in the front yard. A big boat, as you can see. In fact, it is a 36[?]-foot-long Coaster designed in the early 20th century by Murray G. Peterson along the lines of the cargo schooners that plied the New England coast in the 19th century, and were therefore known as coasters. It’s been a long time abuilding; a dozen years or more. That’s not only because of the painstaking methods employed by its builder, Charles Atkins “Stormy” Mayo III (b 1943; pictured), but because Mayo has his hands full with his day job as director of right whale habitat studies at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, which he cofounded in 1976 with his wife, Barbara Shuler Mayo (1945-1988), and Graham Giese. At this point, though Mayo must certainly be eager to put the Coaster out to sea, the corner of Bradford and Duncan would seem barren without her graceful curves. She’s also a perfect calling card, since Mayo was almost born on a schooner and his grandfather fished on one. Stormy and his family have lived here at least since 1948.
Charles A. Mayo Jr. (b 1910), Stormy’s father, was a renowned tuna fisherman and charter boatman. Those who hired his vessels — a rebuilt Crosby catboat that he named Chantey, a sports fisherman from Florida that he called Chantey II and the 38-foot Chantey III that was custom-built for him in 1954 — might find themselves hauling in bluefins of 500, 600 or 700 pounds. Think of a 751-pound fish for just a moment. In the Sports Illustrated of 3 December 1962, Roy Terrell called Mayo “perhaps the finest tuna skipper on the Atlantic coast.” He continued, “In local tournaments, before Mayo withdrew from these clamorous affairs altogether, his wake was often so full of other boats that the progress of Chantey III toward the fishing grounds resembled the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary.”
During World War II, Mayo and his wife, Isabel “Ing” (Stahl) Mayo, were living in Washington, where he was the civilian in charge of hull maintenance for the Navy’s wooden patrol torpedo boats. Rather, they were living on the Washington Channel, since the intense housing shortage in the capital left them on a 43-foot schooner anchored at the Capital Yacht Club (38.52 degrees north, 77.01 degrees west). Ing Mayo was barely ashore before Stormy was born. Like his father, Stormy attended Dartmouth College, then went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. at [?] the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, from which Barbara Mayo received her Ph.D. In addition to her work in marine biology, she also cofounded the Peaked Hill Trust. Their two sons are Josiah (b 1978) and Nathaniel (b 1982).
The Mayo family also owns and runs Cape Codder Guests at 570 Commercial Street.