Billy aboard the Eleanor Bolling. He is in the black shirt on the front right. Photo courtesy Simon & Schuster.
Billy won’t make it to Antarctica on the City of New York, after getting caught but undeterred, he makes for the Chelsea, which is due to leave on September 16th from the Tebo Yacht Basin in Gowanus, at Third Avenue and 23rd Street. The basin is owned and operated by William Todd, and was “the spot for the yachts of the Atlantic seaboard’s most aristocratic and prosperous residents,” Shapiro contends, including the boats of Cornelius Vanderbilt and J.P. Morgan. Todd was a great friend of Byrd’s and allowed the explorer to dock the Chelsea at the Tebo Yacht Basin.
The Chelsea itself was an 800-ton iron freighter originally built as the HMS Kilmarnock for the British Royal Navy during WWI. Byrd renamed this boat, like he did the City of New York, as the Eleanor Bolling for his mother (though the painter would forget an “l” on Bolling” and a redo was deemed too expensive. Billy would be caught three times on the Eleanor Bolling, and thrown off.