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At the time Prohibition started Herb Cavaca was a fisherman out of Tiverton, RI, running his 40 foot sloop. the Mary A. making about $15 profit a week. While the boat was tied at the wharf two men came up to the boat and said they were Boston newspapermen. They asked if he could take them out to sea where they could get pictures of "a boat." The 'boat' ended up being a rum runner ship and them men asked him to take some caro on board which turned out to be 300 cases of whiskey. When they got back in at Rocky Point the men asked him how much money he wanted for the trip. He answered, "Whatever the job is worth to you." They gave him $900. As they left the boat they said, "We'll be down to see you in a couple of days."

It didn't take long for Fred to realize that running his own load in would make him much more money. One of his first regular customers was a Jewish woman from New York. He described her as "Rigged up kinda" sporty like. She always acted like a lady. There was nothing fresh about her. She drove down inn a big Packard roadster." He said that she supplied some clubs and cabarets and he thought she acted for herself, although she might have had a partner.

I've often wondered if the "lady" was Texas Guinin. Wikipedia states "Walter Winchell credited Guinan with opening the insider Broadway scene and cafe society to him when he was starting as a gossip columnist. Guinan capitalized on her notoriety,earning $700,000 in ten months in 1926, while her clubs were routinely being raided by the police.

Guinan has been credited with coining a number of phrases.

She referred to her well-off patrons as "butter and egg men", she often demanded that the audience "give the little ladies a great big hand", and she traditionally greeted her patrons with "Hello, suckers!"

More on Guinan,"Queen of the Night"

Little evidence suggests it was.

Cavaca was soon working with Max Fox as a shore contact boat operator and was running several boats, the Cachalot, the Marge, the Hobo, the Tramp, the Mary A., the Idle Hour, the Mazeltov, the Maybe to name a few. The Tramp was piloted by Frank Butler, who Charlie Travers worked with for a time. The Tramp had been captured trying to land a load in Mattapoisett, it was used by the Coast Guard as a patrol boat and renamed CG-813. Ironically it was the boat that caught and sank the Nola. The Marge had been chased and fired on a few times and was said to produce 1350 horsepower.

Fred claimed to be an innovator in the smuggling business and he was. In an attempt to fool the Coast Guard Fred built a submarine of sorts. He had a Boston boiler maker fabricate a large tube with end caps, the bow being pointed. It was designed to hold 100 cases and had 3 air tanks and an umbilical cord air line. By submersing the sub by allowing water into the tanks or with the weight of liquor the thing could be towed below a fishing boat, undetected. When air was blown into the tanks it would submerge. Fred took a coil of rope and packed damp salt around it. By studying the time it took for different amounts of salt to dissolve they were able to develop a 12 hour "time bomb" as he called it. If the boat was going to be boarded by the CG the could fill the tanks with water so the sub sank, disconnect the lines and drop the rope coil attached to a buoy. In 12 hours the salt dissolved and they could return to find the sub, inflate the tanks and go.

Fred was also possibly the first man to use an airplane to scout for the Coast Guard patrols. He would fly every day that was possible so the authorities never knew if he was scouting or just sight seeing.

His base of operations in Tiverton was a farm he bought from an estate. It was wooded on all sides and on Stafford road. The place was known as the Hart Farm. If you recall, Hart was Mildred Sedgwick's maiden name. Today the farm is named Wingover Farm in reference to the airstrip Fred built there and grows vegetables. He also built a hide in the rafters of the hay barn. When men came to pick up liquor that was hid in the barn Fred locked the men in an office with no windows so no one would know where the goods were. This didn't stop attempted hi-jacks, one at the farm lasted several hours with his men armed with machine guns barricaded in the farm house and stationed in the attic windows. Fred and another man both were shot but manged to keep fighting. The attackers ended giving up and leaving empty handed.

Another trick he and many rum runners were using was a smoke screen. By mixing kerosene, used motor oil and heating fuel and allowing it to drip into the exhaust manifolds boats could lay down a smoke screen and double back unseen for long enough to out run the CGs. The idea was adapted to cars and trucks for land transportation of liquor. It was discontinued because of the danger it posed to pursuers. Police would end up driving into a tree or off the road with the possibility of someone being killed. In at least one case pursuers of a rum craft using a smoke screen were sickened by the smoke and the rum runners were charged with trying to poison the CG crew.

Herb also claimed he was the first to use buoys painted with a fluorescent paint that only showed under a certain light. By using these as channel markers he had a distinct advantage in finding his way while being pursued. It was developed with the help of a chemist he claimed.