The 185-ton schooner Eros had several other lives before it was acquired in 1991 by Bill and Grace Bodle. The sailing couple restored the craft's original glory and now take disabled veterans for trips around San Francisco Bay: Type and materials: Staysail schooner was constructed in England in 1939 with steel frames and Burmese teak. Designed by Scotsman William McMeek and built by Brooks Motor Craft. Dimensions: It's 115 feet long overall with a beam (width at the widest point) of 22 feet; it weighs 185 tons; it requires 13 feet of water to float (draft); it carries 9,000 square feet of sail area; it accommodates eight guests in four cabins and eight crew; and it has a motoring range of 3,200 miles traveling at 9 knots. History: It was built for the daughter of an English lord and her American husband, Jean White and Henry vom Berge. The Royal Navy commandeered the schooner immediately after its maiden voyage to help evacuate trapped Allied soldiers off the beach at Dunkirk, France, during World War II. After the war, Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos bought it, and the schooner became a regular sight in the Mediterranean yachting scene. (If only the Eros' teak decks could talk: Niarchos' four wives included Aristotle Onassis' first wife, Athina, and her sister, Eugenia, who died of drug overdoses within four years of each other.) Mary "Lucy" Bancroft acquired the ship in 1974 and began a charter business in the Caribbean and along the New England coastline. Names: The schooner got off to a bad start. It seems vom Berge violated two ship-naming conventions in 1939 and christened it "White Bitch," after his father-in-law's name and famous dog-breeding business. (Names based on avocations or family monikers were considered bad manners.) Lloyd's Ship Registry outright refused to record it and it was quietly renamed "Jeanery." Niarchos named it "Eros" and Bancroft called it "Fair Sarae." Current owners: Longtime Bay Area residents Grace and Bill Bodle, who ran the historic Stone Boat Yard in Alameda, acquired the schooner in 1991 after Bancroft's husband died. It took 18 years, but the Bodles restored the schooner to much of its original appearance and materials, although it is equipped with a modern galley, engine and electronics. The two also re-christened it "Eros" and charter it throughout the world.
Online: http://schoonereros.com and http://vimeo.com/45222485.