"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.

12 August 2012

❖ SEATTLE SAILOR DWIGHT LONG (1913-2001) ❖ (Updated.)

The reverse of this print says, "Miles, Mother, Daddy 
saw a Dwight Long presentation 3 Oct. 1941 
when Miles bought this picture and Long autographed it."

Miles McCoy, Orcas Island, kindly donated 
his childhood memento to the S.P.H.S., Aug. 2012 
"Some years ago a young man named Dwight Long got the idea that he would like to sail around the world. This is not an unusual idea, thousands of young men have had it before and since, but the difference was that Dwight Long, who was then 20, and in his junior year at the U. of WA, wanted to sail around the world and to sail in his own boat. Somehow, the young man raised enough money to purchase a second-hand ketch. He reconditioned her, bought provisions, and one autumn day, despite the fact that he had no sea experience, he set sail across the open Pacific bound for Hawaii.
Dwight Long
Leaving Seattle, WA.

Dwight Long on 32' IDLE HOUR
getting advice from Berthing Master
Capt. Thompson at Southend-on-Sea, England.
Original photo dated 30 August 1937 
from the archives of S.P.H.S.©

Dwight Long's 32-ft ketch IDLE HOUR 
home safely to Seattle, WA, 1940.
Photograph by Capt. Leiter Hockett who inscribed the reverse
"Taken from my boat shop at the west side of the canal."
The original photo is a gift to the S.P.H.S. archives 
from Capt. Miles McCoy, 8/2012.

      For four years the IDLE HOUR with Long at the helm sailed the world's seven oceans. Some of the time he carried with him an extra passenger or crewman. One night when the IDLE HOUR was caught in a storm that carried away the main mast and was nearly wrecked, his dog 'Hugo' was washed overboard and Long sailed on alone.
      By the time the IDLE HOUR and her captain dropped anchor in the Thames, news of Long and his incredible adventures was wide-spread.
      In London, he paused for a time to write a book of his adventures for Harper & Brothers Publishers. Seven Seas On a Shoestring, by Dwight Long, became one of the best sellers of seafaring stories.
Dwight Long, 1953.
Home after working for two years on his film
The wood carving in profile was one of the
 trademarks for the film.
      Come WWII, Long found himself in a US Naval Aviation photography unit, assigned to an aircraft carrier. The pictures he took of the ship grew into the motion picture The Fighting Lady, which won the Motion Picture Academy Award in 1946. For his work in editing, photographing, and directing the film, he received the Legion of Merit award from the President of the US. When peace came to the islands of the Pacific, Long, like many a Navy man, yearned to go back. He dreamed of returning to Tahiti and making a motion picture which would show these islands and their people as they actually are. He went to Hollywood but found no picture company which could fulfill all of his wishes. With the same spirit that led him to start around the world in a 32-ft boat, Long once again sailed to Tahiti. His object to make a feature-length motion picture to be directed, edited and photographed by no one but himself. His bankroll was so small that the experts who knew the business said he could never do it, and some who didn't know the man they were dealing with ventured the option that his picture making was only an excuse for a Tahitian vacation.
L-R: Dwight Long, age 21, Hugo, and Jack Lowry.
This after their first leg, Seattle to San Francisco,
backdated, 5 and 6 October 1934.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
      The difficulties that Long encountered in finding people for his cast, in shipping and processing his film, would make a book. But he persevered and finally parts of his film began to arrive in the US––some of the sequences so primitive and rare that they had never before been photographed. For two years, Long worked on his picture in Tahiti without ever seeing a foot of it, since it could only be processed in the US. But finally the job was done and Long, who had been working 18 hours a day and who had lost 30 pounds, came home jubilant. He had his movie.
      But two more years of work in cutting, scoring, and dubbing lay ahead before Tanga Tika was ready to be shown in American theaters. And because he was short of funds, Long had to do most of this himself.
      Tanga Tika, the movie that Hollywood said was 'impossible' to make is currently playing at the Blue Mouse Theatre, and is the latest in a long list of 'impossible' things that Dwight Long has done."
Endpaper art by Joyce Stephenson from 
Seven Seas on a Shoestring
Dwight Long, Harper & Brothers, 1938.
 Miles McCoy donated his book to
 the library of Saltwater People History Society, Aug. 2012.
Global Adventures
Above text by Bonnie Thornburg for The Seattle Times, 18 February 1954


1922, November:  launched in Tacoma, WA., by professional boatbuilder Carl Rathfin for his own use.
IDLE HOUR was sold to two partners who used her briefly for fur trading in the Arctic.

1932: Dwight Long purchased her for $1,600.
32' L with 2" fir planking on 2" x 3" oak frames on 8" centers.

1934, 20 September: the date set by Long as the departure for his world cruise.

The tow out to the straits from Seattle, with tug ANDREW FOSS, was a gift from the Foss Tug Co.
Backside of a litho postcard published
and signed by circumnavigator Dwight Long.

From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
1940: after 50,000 miles Long sailed IDLE HOUR home to be met by a boat full of photographers and TV cameramen.

Maritime historian John Kelly, Seattle, reports:
"I took this photo of Lewis' boat in the Ala Moana 
Yacht Anchorage in Honolulu during 1944,
when my ship was in Pearl Harbor for repairs.
We met several times after the war when he 
was giving lectures and at his shop aboard the 
QUEEN MARY in CA. In 1972, we were 
shipmates aboard the Hudson's Bay Co 
Sea Scouts, out for a sail on the Sound."
J.K. Nov. 2015.

1992The Seattle Yacht Club honored Dwight Long with a full page in their fine book.
Warren, James R. The Centennial History of the Seattle Yacht Club, 1892-1992. Published by The Seattle Yacht Club. 

SEATTLE YACHT CLUB book search––


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