We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
After the ratification of the 18th Amendment on January 16, 1919 and passage of the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, Prohibition began on January 16, 1920. Alcohol smuggling began immediately. Rum-runner Captain William S. McCoy began bringing rum from Bimini and the rest of the Bahamas into south Florida. The Coast Guard soon caught up with him, so he began to bring the illegal goods to just outside of the U.S. territorial waters and let smaller boats and other captains such as “Habana Joe” take the risk of bringing it into shore.
McCoy soon bought a sea-going fishing schooner named Arethusa for the purpose and renamed her Tomoka.He installed a powerful engine, mounted a concealed machine gun on her deck and configured the hold to carry all the liquor she could hold mostly Irish and Canadian whiskey.
Rum runners usually added water to the bottles or change labels for more famous ones to stretch their profits.McCoy became famous for never watering his bottles, and this reputation earned his goods as "The Real McCoy."
On November 15, 1923, McCoy and Tomoka encountered the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Seneca.Tomoka’s machine gun repelled the boarding party, but was less successful against the Seneca’s cannon, and Tomoka was finished, along with McCoy’s career as a rum runner.
Most speakeasy customers got used to the watered whisky, however, and many still drink the “milder” brands like J&B, Cutty Sark, Black & White, and Dewar’s White Label.
For a great chart showing a matrix of Light vs, Rich, plotted against Smoky vs. Delicate, see this site.
That whole Prohibition era was a fascinating time - in particular for the boating/marine industry.
As you mentioned, rum runners needed fast boats to run both Canadian whiskey, Carribean Rum and Irish whiskey from their standoff mother ships.
Enter Garfield "Gar" Wood (Garwood boats), Chris Smith (Chris Smith & Sons later Chris Craft) and Herb Ditchburn (Ditchburn Pleasure Boats). It is a very interesting story as all three of these builders designed and produced fast quick handling boats in the 26 to 33 foot range. Which made sense because both Gar Wood and Chris Smith were into early Gold Cup power boat racing and designed some of the fastest race boats ever made. Ditchburn was not a racer but built fast pleasure boats based on the Wood/Smith collaboration designs modified to speed and comfort.
Gar Wood and Chris Smith worked together for a few years building racing craft, but eventually Smith broke off to start his own company (the & Sons) when the Gold Cup organizers, American Power Boat Association, decided to change the rules - Wood and Smith were dominant in the series and the organizers wanted to break that up and create a new, broader based series for builders and racers. Smith decided to build entirely for the pleasure industry.
Enter the most dominant boat of the rum running trade - the [url=http://www.khulsey.com/stockphotography/t-44-brown-bassett-gentlemans-racer.jpeg
]33 foot Baby Gar[/url] runabout. Primarily designed as a racer, it gained huge acceptance with the pleasure boaters as it was very fast (50 to 60 mph) powered by either Liberty V-12, Rolls Royce V-12 (33') or Packard V-8/Ford flathead large displacement six cylinder truck engines for the 26 and 28 footers.
Interestingly enough, Chris Smith continued to build the 33 and 28 foot Baby Gar hulls for Gar Wood - apparently Smith could build them cheaper, faster and better that Wood's own people could. :>)
Ditchburn largely stayed in his own backyard with pleasure boats, but he did occasionally build custom one off boats for the Cuba/Bahamas smuggling trade. Eventually, he built boats for the USCG and their Canadian counterparts. Unfortunately, he went under several times and finally gave up in 1939.
Ok - that's enough. I could go on for hours on this.
Wow! Thanks for that - the boats of that era, the Gar Woods, the Hackers and such, were in my opinion the pinnacle of powerboat design for all time. Some of the contemporary RV-bulbous white plastic designs leave me gagging.
According to various and sundry sources, the origin of the phrase, "the real McCoy" is about 80 years earlier than when it was adopted for the Prohibition-era rumrunner.
"The Real MacKay," a Scots phrase that appeared first in 1856 as "A drappie o’ [drop of] the real MacKay," by the Scottish National Dictionary; the same work says that the phrase was later adopted as a slogan to promote G Mackay & Co Ltd's whisky. The Webster's Dictionary quotes Robert Louis Stevenson from 1883 in a letter saying "He's the real Mackay."
In Scotland the phrase is always "the real MacKay" (with the ay pronounced as in the word "eye"). In Ireland this changed to McCoy. The Irish families with the names MacKay, McCoy and Magee originated in Scotland and the Isle of Man, crossing to Ulster as Gallowglasses in the 13th century.
As with many phrase origins this may or may not be correct, but the phrase's usage as documented above lends credence to a much earlier origin.
It's fascinating that both origins pertain to whiskey...