If you’ve stepped aboard Gloucester’s Yankee Patriot—the hallowed queen of New England party boats—in the past 40 years, odds are slim that you didn’t rub shoulders with George “Bumpy” Cabral, an institution aboard the vessel since the 1960s. George passed away on December 12, at the age of 71.
A Gloucester native, George’s life’s work revolved around water—gillnetters, lobster boats, even Great Lakes tugboats. But home base was the Yankee Fleet—the Patriot, in particular—where over the years he worked tirelessly with tens of thousands of patrons, making the rounds on deck in his trademark Grundens apron. A salt-of-the-earth individual, beneath his sometimes-gruff headboat exterior thrived an honest, good-natured spirit known well by those close to him.
Whether it was deftly filleting fish, untangling lines while rebuffing the use of Scotchman rigs (a dogfish magnet), sporting a goofy hat, or awarding his prestigious “Horse’s Ass” award to some tough-luck individual, George was sure to leave an impression. A great teacher, he was responsible for introducing many a young child—this writer included—to the sport of fishing.
With fondness and appreciation, we bid farewell to Bumpy, a man who, through a half-century of turbulent change in his industry, persevered with grace, dedication, and an enduring good spirit.