Daily Event for January 2, 2010

The last time anyone saw the yacht Revonoc was January 2, 1958 when the boat left Key West, Florida for Miami. The 45' boat was owned by Harvey Conover and with him were his wife, one son and his wife and a family friend. They had sailed from Miami on New Years Day for a trip to Key West with plans to return to Miami when the boat was caught in what was described as "the worst mid-winter storm in the history of south Florida." The boat and the five people on board were never seen again.

It was a tragic end for a very interesting man, Harvey Conover. Mr. Conover had been raised in the heartland of America and like so many others served in the Great War. He was a pilot for the U.S. Army Observer Corps in France, winning the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre along with several other awards. His decoration for the DSC reads as follows:

"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Air Service) Harvey Conover, United States Army Air Service, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 3d Observation Group, U.S. Army Air Service, A.E.F., near Consenvoye, France, 27 October 1918. Flying at an altitude of less than 50 meters over enemy artillery and machine guns, which were constantly firing on him, Lieutenant Conover and his observer staked the American front lines and gave valuable information and assistance to the advancing infantry. Although suffering from two severe wounds, and with a seriously damaged plane, he delivered a harassing fire on six enemy machine-gun nests which were checking the advance of the ground troops, and successfully drove off the crews of four guns and silenced the other two. He then made a safe landing and forwarded his information to division headquarters before seeking medical aid."

After the war he and a partner started the Conover-Mast Publications Company which published several successful magazines including one on yachting. Conover was a skilled yachtsman and he won several prestigious races with boats named Revonoc, which is Conover spelled backwards. When the Second World War came about he approached the government with the idea to publish "how to" books for the war effort, at first these were mainly concerned with the care and maintenance of factory machines, but later included aircraft and other types of front line equipment, he even published such books on behalf of the British government. He also went to the South Pacific for the U.S. Navy to study aircraft maintenance and operations.

After the second war he went back to publishing and sailing and became the Commodore of the Cruising Club of America, the Larchmont Yacht Club and the Swedish American Sailing Association. It was at the end of a two week cruise in the Bahamas when the Revonoc was lost. The only thing ever found was a 12' dinghy with the name Revonoc, it washed up in Jupiter Inlet. The Coast Guard searched until Jan. 14th when the operation was officially called off. They had searched over 25,000 square miles of ocean from Florida to Cuba to North Carolina and found nothing, to this day the wreck has not been found.

His wife Dorothy and one of his sons, Lawrence "Larry" were also lost along with Larry's wife Lori. Twenty-nine year old William Fluegelman also went down with the Revonoc, but his wife Sherry did not, fortunately for her she became ill and was put ashore at Key West. Larry, a Dartmouth graduate, served in the Coast Guard with William during the Korean War, presumably this is how they met. William's father owned M. Fluegelman and Company, a textile firm in New York. The tragedy left a number of children without their parents, Harvey and Dorothy had three other children and Larry and Lori had two daughters, I don't know if the Fluegelman's had any children.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

Front page of The Huronite and The Daily Plainsman, Huron, South Dakota, showing the story of the search.

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