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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.

08 October 2014

❖ Flattie to SIR TOM ❖ ❖ ❖ ROY W. CORBETT ❖

From 1905 to 1969, the Blanchard Boat Co of Seattle was renowned and respected for its well-built vessels, large and small, sail and power. Today hundreds of graceful Blanchard boats still ply the sounds and inlets of Washington, Alaska, and B.C.
      Norman C. Blanchard is the son of Norman J. Blanchard, founder of the firm; here follows one of his abridged stories he wrote for Knee Deep in Savings with Stephen Wilen. (Search link below.)

R boat SIR TOM 
L-R: Andy Joy, Roy Corbett, J. Swift Baker, and
SYC Commodore Ted Geary, helmsman.
The 1930 crew after winning back the Lipton Trophy
at the P.I.Y.A. race at Cadboro Bay, Victoria, B.C.
These original photos from the archives of S.P.H.S.©

"Roy W. Corbett arrived in Seattle about 1920. I don't have any idea what brought him here. I don't think Roy even had a job when he got to Seattle, but within a short time, he did find work selling Cadillacs. Just how he got hooked up with L. E. 'Ted' Geary and the SIR TOM gang is a mystery, because when he first arrived in Seattle Roy Corbett didn't know sickum about sailing or sailboats. Over time, though, he managed to become a pretty good sailor.
      My acquaintance with Roy was made when he was having his first sail with Geary on the SIR TOM. I think he thought Ted was going to buy a Cadillac from him, and I'm just as certain that Ted thought that Roy was going to have himself a yacht. They remained good friends for life. It was probably around 1921 or 1922 when this occurred, and I think that Capt. Griffiths' two sons, who had been part of SIR TOM 's crew, decided they were getting a little too old for the game. So in the summer of 1922 Roy Corbett crewed on SIR TOM, with Geary at the helm, and my dad, who was the foredeck man, Colin Radford, and one or two others.
      Now, this was the time when the SIR TOM was being campaigned heavily. She always finished first, and her crew practiced very seriously right off our company dock. In time Roy became a very adept sailor and was the main sheet man on the SIR TOM under Geary, and later with Jack Graham at the helm.

Roy Corbett
Sailing a one-design Flattie, 1931,
designed by L. E. 'Ted' Geary.
Later called a Geary 18.
Photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      Roy, to my knowledge, never sailed in any catboats, but, when Ted introduced the design for the Flattie, Roy was one of the first to put up the $150 and order one from my dad. I think that Roy mainly wanted the boat for their daughter, Mary Helen, to race. She became a pretty good sailor herself and was the 1929 Seattle Yacht Club Flattie champion.
      Finally, Roy bought a real boat from Geary, a Marconi-rigged ketch, c. 50-ft, built on speculation in CA. After C. W. Wiley died, Roy bought ALICE, renamed her MAHERO and won the SYC Opening Day Class A Race in 1932 and in 1937. Roy was commodore of the SYC in 1933, and active in the Barnacle Bill cruises that had been started by Bill Hedley. Roy kept the MAHERO until early in WW II when she was taken over by the Coast Guard."
Roy Corbett, 1937, Seattle.
Above text; Knee-Deep in Shavings by Norman C. Blanchard.

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