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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.

19 June 2013

❖ "Privateers" on the Schooner GRACIE S ❖ 1949

Pilot Schooner GRACIE S 
O.N. 86275
New home port, Seattle, WA.
Also known to flirt with mariners in the San Juan Islands.
Dated 1949 photo by Kenneth G. Ollar©
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
"Wanted––able lads between the ages of 14 and 18––to sail on schooner GRACIE S––leaving 20 June for unknown ports to westward."
      Find a lad whose heart wouldn't be captured by such an advertisement appearing in this day and age. However, that's no imaginary ad. That very sign appears in the window today of the downtown business establishment of E. Edison Kennell, Jr.
      And, 20 June, the 97-ft schooner GRACIE S. will shove off from the Seattle Yacht Club with a crew of teenage lads. There will be no timetable. For two weeks they just go where the wind blows.
      Only a few years ago the most venturesome lads found their big thrill in running off to sea on a sailing ship. Such storied vessels have all but disappeared from the high seas, yet this thrilling adventure is to be born again, here in Seattle.
      Kennell recently purchased GRACIE S, for 50 years a pilot schooner off San Francisco Bay, and refitted her as a sea-going school for lads 14 to 18 years of age.
Courtesy of John Kennell©

      It's an adventure that Kennell will thrill in as much as will the boys, for GRACIE S is a perfect replica of the old traders. She is one of the most seaworthy vessels afloat, and though everything aboard her has been kept old fashioned for atmosphere, she has all the modern conveniences––a big Diesel engine, steam heat throughout, showers, an electric galley, and complete radio equipment, consisting of a transmitter and receiver and radio-direction finder, bringing a lad as close to his parents as the nearest telephone.
Privateer Ted Rogers, age 14,
at the helm of the famous Schooner GRACIE S.
 William Donley, aft, the nav instructor.
Strait of Juan de Fuca, 1949.
Photo by Kennell-Ellis©
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
      The ship's company will consist of Kennell, the skipper; Mrs. Kennell, who will take care of the menu, as well as sew on the occasional button; James (Doctor) Tuohy, the cook; William Donley, navigation instructor; Dave McCrea, engineering officer; Amos Levitt, Jr., mate, and 14 "Privateers", as the lads will be known.
      Any boy between the permitted ages, who can swim and has a love for the sea, is eligible to take part in one or more of the five two-week cruises scheduled for this summer. The only cost is sharing the expenses of food, fuel, and the cook's wages.
      Monday, 20 June, GRACIE S. will leave for her first cruise––to Princess Louisa Inlet. Every other Monday another two-week trip will be leaving, visiting Barkley Sound and Hot Springs Cove, Butte Inlet, a trip around Vancouver Island and a visit to Knight's Inlet, all in British Columbia waters.
      Drills and schooling will occupy the first few days of each cruise. Then the "Privateers" will sail into the ocean, then back to the coast, and the particular destination of that trip. Almost every night the hook will be dropped and the lads will go ashore and beach comb and fish and visit many coastal BC communities.
Above text by Bob Sutton for the Seattle Times, 17 April 1949.
July 1949:
Ed Kennell, Jr. and the privateers on GRACIE S stopped off at the Lopez Yacht Club on their two-week cruise through the islands en route to Princess Louisa Inlet, BC.
Orcas Islander Newspaper, 7 July 1949
November 1964: 
Sadly, WANDERER (ex-GRACIE S.) wrecked when she struck a reef off Rangiroa Island, 200 miles northeast of Tahiti in November 1964. She was en route to Panama. All hands were rescued. Her last owners were Omer Darr and Joe Price of Bartlesville, OK.

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