This cork life vest is from the F/V Excel, which operated as a salmon packer in the 1920s. Ultimately too small for a packer, the owner sold her to John Molver who converted the boat to a longliner. During World War II the Navy conscripted the Excel, moving it to Yakutat. A machine gun was installed on the bow, and anti-aircraft and depth charges on the stern. The boat's slow speed would have doomed it if any charges had actually been detonated! The Navy's $10 per month compensation didn't cover Molver's contract costs, so after the war he sold the Excel to an unknown buyer. Information and photos for this column are provided by the Clausen Memorial Museum.
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