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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.

10 May 2014

❖ Permission Granted ❖ Sea Trials with Fifty Women Aboard

1944 Minesweeper Sea Trials, 
Built by Associated Shipbuilders, Seattle, WA.
Original photo© from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
"An ancient sea-going superstition was reeling groggily, still dizzy from a series of paralyzing body blows dealt by approximately 50 women employees of Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Co.
      The instrument with which the superstition was attached was one of the big new mine sweepers built at the Associated Shipbuilders' Harbor Island Yard.
      For the first time in the yard's history, the women set sail on the mine sweeper's initial test run, flying in the face of warnings from maritime doom-criers.
      According to salty superstition the trim vessel should have plunged to the bottom of Puget Sound for the old belier decrees that a vessel that carries women on her trial run is certain to meet disaster. However, the mine sweeper behaved like a princess, wringing approval even from those who had boarded her with their fingers crossed.
      The 50 women were chosen from the various departments on the basis of their absentee record, efficiency, and seniority. One woman is a welder, one a scaler, one a journeyman electrician. 
      The mine sweeper pirouetted like a dancer through a series of corkscrew turns. As the day wore on and it became apparent that the jinx, or whatever it was, had missed the boat, the women passengers relaxed, and numerous lively technical discussions sprang up among them. 
      Lieut. Comdr. J. C. Kettering, of Vancouver, a graduate of the U of Washington, had only praise for the vessel he is to command.
      "She showed up very well indeed. We're pleased with it. It will be a pleasure to take the ship out. No, the superstition doesn't bother us. I had women aboard once before, off Astoria, and nothing happened. Maybe that superstition is just worn out."
Text from The Seattle Times, September 1944.
      

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