"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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San Juan Archipelago, 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 750, 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.

28 June 2022



12-meter WEATHERLY 
Underway on Commencement Bay.
Click image to enlarge.
Photo by Josef Scaylea 
from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©

Steve Scalzo, Alan Buchan, and Lynn Sommers, are three guys who should know the 12-meter sailboat Weatherly is in a class by herself. The 1962 America's Cup winner over Australia's Gretel was berthed at the Tacoma Yacht Club and owned by Buchan and Sommers, both Tacomans.
Scalzo, a former midshipman at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and then assistant to the vice president of operations of the Foss Launch & Tug Co., spent four years aboard the Weatherly at the academy.
          "The Weatherly is the prettiest and most durable 12-meter ever built. She's also the fastest 12-meter ever raced in light air. I saw several others during my four years at the academy and none compares with 
this boat."
          Scalzo was also involved in two winters (1968-1969) of experimental stress and durability testing on the boat by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
It's the only time a sailboat has been put to such a stern test. Most of the runs were made on Long Island Sound and designed to determine
the stress and strain on all the primary hull and rigging locations.

           The society had many elaborate computers and pieces of electrical equipment in key areas. In one, a tugboat ran across the projected path of the Weatherly to create heavy water conditions."
          Buchan and Sommers use the converted 67-footer as a family boat and for weekend races in the Pacific Northwest.
          "Although we've had the Weatherly less than a year, we've found her to be durable, fast, and maneuverable," Buchan said.

          Sailing a 12-meter is quite an experience. In fact, it's virtually impossible to compare with any other smaller racing lass."
        Sommers added:
          "There's no question the Weatherly has a sound design and strength. Even with our novice crew, largely family members, she responds favorably."
          Built in 1958 by the Luders Marine Construction Co of Stamford, Conn., for the Henry D. Mercer Syndicate, the Weatherly campaigned that 

year in America's Cup trials.
          Skippered by Arthur Knapp Jr., she won a match race with the Easterner, lost to the Vim, finished last in a three-boat race, and broke down before the start of another. The Columbia went on to defend America's Cup for the United States.
          The Weatherly performed well off the wind and in light going during the trials but proved tender in moderate breezes.

          The Weatherly of 1962 was a different boat, however. A defective keel casting in 1953 resulted in her having less ballast down low than intended. Also, 4,000 pounds of lead were stowed in her bilges. In 1962 she ran a two-ton-heavier keel casting, developed through the cooperation of Phil Rhodes, a boat designer, and Luders, following tests in a model tank. Also, almost two feet were lopped off her stern.
          The result was that instead of lying down and wallowing when the breeze increased to 12 knots, Weatherly stood up and raced windward with the best of her foes in winds up to 18-20 knots.
          Between 1958 and '61, Knapp, one of the country's top skippers, sailed the Weatherly but gradually lost confidence in her as an America's Cup candidate. So the Mercer Syndicate signed Bus Mosbacher, a master helmsman.
          In the 1962 American's Cup nine-race trials, the Weatherly and the Columbia each started with two wins––one each over the other two contenders, the Nefertiti and the Easterner. But eventually, it was narrowed to the Weatherly and the Nefertiti, with the former taking four of five 

           Following the Weatherly's selection as the Cup defender, Mercer, the owner, said:
           "I guess this proves it takes four years to get a 12-meter tuned up."
          The cup duel between the Weatherly and the Gretel ranks as one of the premier contests in the 125-year history of the sailing classic.
          In many quarters, the Gretel was favored––marking the first time in decades a foreigner was picked to capture the cup that has remained in this country since 1851.
          But the Weatherly won, 4-1, in the best-of-seven event.
          Mercer decided to forego the 1964 America's Cup and in 1965 

donated the Weatherly to the academy.
          During the summer months, the Weatherly was used for sail training by the midshipmen," Scalzo said. "In 1967 she was pulled out as a sparring partner for the Columbia in the Cup trials. She was sailed by a combination crew of midshipmen and a spare skipper from the Columbia.
          "She performed well in light air but tended to 'hobby-horse' in the chop.
          "From 1967 to '71, the academy utilized her for training, in addition to the winter experimental stress tests. Again, in 1970, she became an American's Cup trials sparring mate, this time for the Valiant of the Bob McCullough Syndicate. The crew was composed of half midshipmen, and half syndicate members."
          In 1971, the Weatherly was purchased by Douglas Jones of Menominee, Mich., who converted her for offshore racing. He continued to use the boat until his death in the summer of 1974. Thereafter, she was stored in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., until Buchan and Sommers successfully bid for her.
          The Weatherly became the talk of Puget Sound. She dwarfed all other sailboats around her. It's not simply her size that wowed fellow mariners, it's her rich history, too.

Words by Ranny Green for The Seattle Times, 7 March 1976. 


21 June 2022

Get on the Bottom Paint -- SUMMER is Here!!


Inscribed verso with vessel name
& date 1929

Tacoma West Waterway, WA.

The folks are finishing up with the 
bottom paint and Gramps
on the foredeck has the ground tackle
all shipshape. 
Do we know this crew almost 
ready for their summer holidays?
Click the image to enlarge.
Gelatin-silver photograph from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©

Happy summer everyone. 

15 June 2022



Harold A. Jones
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club
Commodore 1939, 1944-1947.
He was elected to an honorary
life membership in 1953.
Photo courtesy of the RVYC

"Harold A. Jones was a Canadian who lived in Vancouver, B.C., where he was in the towboat business. As I recall he had between seven and twelve tugs in his fleet, all with their uniformly painted stacks, and he was pretty much the Foss of Vancouver. You'd see his tugs pulling logs, helping ships get away from the pier, those sorts of things. He was a damned good fleet operator, and everybody knew his boats.
        One of my early trips to Vancouver to visit Harold must have been around 1936. Harold had a daughter--his only child--who was around 16 at the time but thought she was 25, and of course, she could do no wrong. Harold was likable and always very popular on both sides of the line.
        Harold Jones was a preeminent member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, and for a long time, he owned a boat that my father built, the Gwendolyn II, which was previously owned by Fritz Hellenthal. Although I never had an opportunity to sail with him, Harold was a very good competitor until WW II came along, and all racing stopped. Well, shortly after the cessation of hostilities Harold phoned me and said he needed to meet with me––something about Princess Louisa Inlet. I said that that would be OK, so we arranged a date, and I drove up to Vancouver.
        When I got to Harold's house he was down in his playroom, I was highly surprised to find that in the space of the octagonal foundation in his basement he had built, with his own hands, a light diorama of Vancouver from the water, and he had his Lionel model railway running through it.
        Harold continued with the Gwen for quite a few years, and then around 1946, he got Ed Monk to design him a new boat, a big sloop, about 65 feet with a nice teak house. He told Ed he wanted to build her skookum, and Ed designed it plenty skookum, and then Harold went and doubled all the dimensions. The frames were steam-bent oak and four inches square --really crazy. The result was that she floated about eight or ten inches below her designed waterline, but that didn't cut down on Harold's pride. He was very decent about how it came out, and always said, 'It was my own damned fault.'
        On his cruise down to Seattle Harold never came alone. He would always come through the locks with a helper. Of course, he could always pull a deckhand off his list to go along with him. The most memorable thing about his coming through the Lake Washington Ship Canal was that he would stand on the foredeck of his boat and play his trumpet. He always had his trumpet with him, and you could hear him coming. If we were planning to have lunch at the Seattle Yacht Club I'd leave the shop as soon as I heard his trumpet. I'd walk out on the dock at the club and here he'd come, with somebody else steering the boat, and Harold still on the foredeck playing his trumpet. You know, in those days very few adult men could play an instrument of any kind unless they were professionals.

        Harold Jones was a character, and that reminds me of the five old Canadian gentlemen who owned the Minerva. She was still gaff-rigged, but she was a big, powerful yawl, about 50 feet long. She belonged to these five old gentlemen, and they always kept a hired 'boy' on her––he was only 65!
        When the old boys finished their race they would sail right up to their mooring––they'd come in under full sail and pick up their buoy––and there was no sign of a breakwater near the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club like there is now. They always kept their dinghy on the mooring buoy. It was a pretty good dinghy, too, about 11 or 12 feet, because their hired boy would use it to row all of them together into the club float.

"Jones was also an exacting and
dominant skipper of Spirit II. His
pride and joy was Spirit which he built 
from an Ed Monk design in 1946."
Courtesy of the Royal Vancouver YC.

These gentlemen always imported their Scotch in the barrel from Scotland, and the barrel sat with a spigot in it between the berths in the after stateroom. As soon as the first one came into the cockpit in his white flannels after a race, the 65-year-old boat boy would show up with a water server, but it was full of Scotch whisky. One by one each of them would show up in the cockpit in his white flannels, and then everybody knew it was an open house on the Minerva. If you were aboard you were immediately offered a drink, and one of them would start pouring, and if you didn't stop him he'd fill that tumbler right up to the top with Scotch whisky.

Everybody always liked to talk about these guys, and they were a popular topic of conversation. They had an agreement among them that as they died off, the last survivor would own the Minerva outright. Of course, once they began to die there were only a couple of years before all five of them were gone."

Words by: Norman C. Blanchard (1911-2009) with Stephen Wilen. Knee-Deep in Shavings, Memories of Early Yachting and Boatbuilding on the West Coast. Victoria, B.C., Canada. Horsdal & Schubart Publishers Ltd. 1999. 

From the library of the Saltwater People Historical Society.

08 June 2022

COMMANDING OFFICER, Capt. James Carroll (1840-1912)



Ireland to Alaska to Seattle,
  a career on the sea.
Gelatin-silver photograph from the archives 
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

"Capt. James Carroll, an outstanding figure in shipping circles, and the development of North Pacific commerce was born in Ireland in 1840; when he was 6 months old was brought to America by his parents. Until he was 16 he lived on a farm with his parents. Then he went to Chicago and for two years as a sailor on the Great Lakes.
      He next entered the merchant marine and sailed the world over. He was in China during the war there in 1861. For some time he sailed out of San Francisco for the Hawaiian and South Seas trade and in service between the US and Europe.
      In 1863 he received his first promotion and later progressed through all of the offices in the service to the top. He returned to the Pacific in 1865 and in the following year he was made the second officer of the brig Swallow.
      He next was given command of the Colorado on the China run by the National Steamship Co. He was successively commander of the Great Republic, the Pelican, the California, the Idaho, the Ancon, and several others of the company's vessels.
      In 1878 Captain Carroll entered the Alaskan service and carried the first party of tourists to visit Alaska. This was when Alaska was largely an unknown territory and long before the discovery and development of the country's great mineral resources. In 1880 he and E.C. Hughes, N.A. Fuller and George E. Piltz equipped the vessels Juneau and Harris for the Alaskan run.
       For more than a quarter of a century Captain Carroll was with the Pacific Steamship Co when he became its senior commanding officer, every new vessel built or acquired by the company was entrusted first to his command.
       During his long years in the Alaskan service he gained the friendship of everyone interested in the territory's development. He was the first master of the famous old Queen and the first to take her through the Wrangell Narrows.
      In 1898, at the height of the Klondike boom, Captain Carroll abandoned seafaring life and settled down to life ashore in Alaska. He became the agent of the Alaska Commercial Co and the Rodman Mines on Baranoff Island, in which he held an interest. He also was the representative of the Northern Lakes and Rivers Navigation Co and rounded out his activities by becoming a general merchant and outfitter.

Later he returned to the Pacific Steamship Co to command the company's fine new vessel, the Spokane, but in 1906 he retired permanently from the sea and became a prominent figure in shipping and commercial circles in Seattle.
      He was the first Alaskan delegate to Congress and always was active in promoting legislation for the benefit of the territory. He was a Mason of high degree, a man of ability and high character, a genial, lovable man with hosts of friends. He died in Seattle in 1912."

Just Cogitating.C.T.Conover. Seattle Times. August 1954.

05 June 2022



4 JUNE 1953

Native tribes of British Columbia
participating in a gala
Regatta to honor the coronation of 
Queen Elizabeth II
 at the Gorge Waters,
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  
Each canoe is manned by 11 crew.
Click the image to enlarge. 
Low-res scan of an original photo from 
the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©

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