Captains Carl and 'Butch' Rafi, ZEPHYR, Bayonne, NJ – 1963
The father and son team of Captain Carl Rafi, Jr. and his son Carl 'Butch' Rafi III during a relaxing moment aboard the "ZEPHYR" circa 1963. Captain Carl Rafi Jr. began the family’s party boat business in 1955 when he sold his 38-foot sport fisherman and had the party boat "ZEPHYR" built by Butler Boatyard, Reedville, VA. His son, 'Butch' joined him as his mate and together they sailed daily from the Bayonne City Dock, Bayonne, NJ. Captain Carl and his partner, Captain Herman Grothues also operated the "ZEPHYR II" from Bayonne during the 1960’s. In 1966, Captain Carl passed away and Captain 'Butch' took over the helm of the "ZEPHYR" and continued the business. In 1974, the "ZEPHYR II" sank and Captain Grothues went down with the vessel.
Captain 'Butch' moved the operation to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY in 1975, when he purchased the "LADY ROSE" from Captain Joe Pontillo and named her the "ZEPHYR". Soon after, he sold the Butler-built "ZEPHYR" and renamed the "LADY ROSE" as the (third) "ZEPHYR". Captain 'Butch' went on to purchase the "BLUE SEA II" and renamed her the (fourth) "ZEPHYR". In 1987, he had the aluminum "ZEPHYR V" built for him by Breaux Bros. in Loreauville, LA and sailed her from Pier 1 in Sheepshead Bay. Captain 'Butch' continued to sail from Sheepshead Bay until retiring in 1996. Photo courtesy of Captain 'Butch' Rafi.