"In 1933 a group of people out for a Sunday walk came by the boat company and peeked in the door to look at the Star boats, that were priced at $750. They thought they were nice little boats, but said for that price they would really want a cabin. After they left, Dad thought for a few minutes, and then said, 'Dammit, let's build a cheap sailboat with a cabin on it,' and that's what led to the development of the Senior Knockabout, that was one of our all-time best sellers. We built a total of 97 Senior Knockabouts between 1933 and 1947, and some 70 of them are still around. The Senior Knockabouts ranged from 22 feet, six inches to 26 feet, six inches, and there was a Junior version that was 20 feet."
Quote from Knee-Deep in Shavings, Memories of Early Yachting and Boatbuilding on the West Coast. Norman C. Blanchard with Stephen Wilen. Victoria, B.C., Canada. Horsdal & Schubart. 1999.
For linking the Senior Knockabouts to San Juan County maritime history let us view a beautiful example of one sailing happy and well on Orcas Island for many years.
Senior Knockabout STARFIRE (ex-SEADUCE)Owned by Stan and Kay Miller, Orcas Island, San Juan Archipelago, WA.
Hull No 59, built in 1947 of Western Red Cedar on oak frames.
Stan bought STARFIRE in 1968 and moved to Orcas Island in 1970.
Originally there was an auxiliary motor that was changed to a removable outboard before the previous owner, Mike Douglas, sailed her. The Millers put the motor in the cabin while racing.
Thanks to Stan and Kay for sharing their maritime history and the following photos.
Stan Miller sailing the Friday night race in
West Sound, Orcas Island, WA.
Photograph by Victoria Parker 2011.
Click to enlarge.
Kay Miller at the helm in this Friday night race photo.
West Sound, Orcas Island.
Photo by Victoria Parker on the committee boat, 2011.
Stan & Kay Miller with grandson Alex.
by Victoria Parker.
West Sound Races, August 2011.
by Victoria Parker
West Sound, Orcas Island, August 2011.
If anyone wishes to question why Seattle boats show up on these pages so often, it is because most barnacles clinging to the rocks of San Juan County came from that fair city. Here comes the well-known, master sailor, Mike Douglas long of Deer Harbor, with the words below to take us further back in the history of this vessel for the Saltwater People Log:
"Yup, I sold the Senior Knockabout to Stan in the mid-1960s. I bought her just after graduating college and had cash to burn from my $5,000 annual teaching salary. Stan was living on a houseboat in Union Bay and I think bending nails for a living. I had to sell her to cover graduate school expenses. Some years and several jobs later I arrived on Orcas to run Four Winds Camp, fall of 1979.
Within the next few summers, as camp duties settled down some, I started participating in the occasional Orcas Island Yacht Club Friday night race. During one leisurely race, this Blanchard Senior sailed on by. I see lots of transoms during races. It brought back good memories of sailing Lake Washington and B59. As she pulled past I almost fell overboard seeing Starfire on her stern. I still see her transom all too often these years later. Starfire and Stan are a standing personal interest of mine."