"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

18 October 2009

❖ Schooner FANTOME ❖

Background photo donated by Nick Exton.
Foreground photo from the James A. Turner Collection, S. P. H. S.© 
"The black and white hull with its golden figurehead, its masts tall against the sky, became a familiar landmark in Seattle during the WW II years. The 1,200-ton, four-masted FANTOME was anchored in Portage Bay near the Seattle Yacht Club for so long she seemed part of the family.
      Her keel was laid in Italy during WW I, originally for a destroyer, but work stopped when the war ended. The Duke of Westminster bought the keel and on it built a floating palace, which was delivered in 1927. The Duke later sold FANTOME to an American who kept her for a year and then turned her over to a ship broker who sold her to A. E. Guinness, of the famous stout brewing family. Guinness sailed her all over the world.
      In the late 1930s Guinness had the FANTOME in Alaska, and while he was there England declared war on Germany. Rather than risk his magnificent yacht to submarines or warships, he anchored her in Portage Bay. (In 1939 Seattle was a neutral port.)
      The normal complement aboard the FANTOME was 35, but while she was in Seattle, only three lived aboard her. From time to time tours were given to help worthy causes. The caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Long, made friends with SYC members who lived aboard their boats moored at the club. 
L-R: Joe Jones, Bill Jones, from longtime Decatur Island family.
Broker Phil Lewis.

Original 1950 photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
In 1951, FANTOME was sold by the Guinness estate for $50,000 to William and Joe Jones of Seattle, who moored her at various locations in Lake Union and removed her furnishings and stores. In 1953, she sailed for Montreal, supposedly to be scrapped." 
      Above text by James R. Warren, The Centennial History of the Seattle Yacht Club 1892-1992

1969: Michael D. Burke, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises purchased FANTOME, gave her a reported $6 million make-over and registered her in Equatorial Guinea.
1998: FANTOME, Capt. Guyan March, was lost in 100-mph winds of Hurricane Mitch off the coast of Honduras and Guatemala with all hands (31).
The tragedy was reported by Ross Anderson for The Seattle Times, 4 Nov. 1998 and by Knight Ridder Newspapers in The Seattle Times of 8 Nov. 1998.

There is another post on this Log about the tragic loss of the FANTOME. Please click HERE.


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