Built by Albert Jensen & Sons Shipyard,
Friday Harbor, WA.
For Captain Clyde Welcome, March 1940.
Photo courtesy of Nourdine Jensen.
Neptune's call was insistent and at the ripe old age of 17, Clyde stowed his textbooks, bid farewell to all his schoolmates, and joined the Navy. The following four years with Uncle Sam laid a substantial foundation for his future nautical career. In January 1934, he was paid off with an honorable discharge, and for the next year or so worked in logging camps around Bellingham. It was here that the love bug nipped him; he checked in one day with a round-turn around his neck (the colloquial term in lumber camps for getting hitched), married to Miss Dorothy Peterman.
In 1936 the irresistible urge to be on the water again came to the lad and he purchased the LISTER, powered with a 16-horse gas engine, with which he engaged in a bit of fishing, towing, and now and then pinch-hitting for one of the mail-route boats.
The boy was an intrepid navigator. With the responsibility of a mail contract of his own, he braved many a storm with his tiny craft just to get the mail through, while much larger boats were tied up at Shaw Island and Upright Head. The memorable storm of Dec. 12 1939, ended the LISTER's career. She was laying at anchor near Tide Point on Cypress Island with no one aboard, and during the night slipped her mooring and was dashed to pieces at Point Lawrence.
The loss of the LISTER was quite a blow to our happy-go-lucky mail carrier, but he was endowed with a lot of what it takes to stage a come-back and immediately made preparations for building the boat of his dreams, the WATER BABY. She was built in the Jensen yard at Friday Harbor and, says Clyde, "no trimmer or better-built craft ever slid down the ways of any yard." She is 48 feet overall and 12 feet beam, with honest construction throughout every inch of her.
|The Master Carpenter's Certificate |
Signed by Albert Jensen.
Click image to enlarge.
Copy on file from the National Archives, Seattle.
The WATER BABY took to water in March 1940 and was towed to Seattle where a used 44-hp diesel engine was installed. With a great deal of well-earned pride, Capt. Welcome put his dream boat through all of the hoops on her shake-down trip; then with a brand-new boat and a brand-new 4-year mail contract with Uncle Sam, the lad headed back to the San Juan Islands to do his stuff.
There was no busier or happier boy in that neck of the woods. He and his new boat kept the mail on the go in all kinds of weather. You will never see Clyde looking around for some flat water to run on, for he had his new 60-hp Atlas diesel installed in the WATER BABY and she ran like a scared wolf, cutting through the lumpy seas like a crash-boat on a mission. Clyde said the happiest moments of his life (outside of being home with his wife and kiddies) was when he was in the wheelhouse of his dream-boat with the wild waves breaking over the top and the sea-birds wheeling and screaming overhead.
Scutt gives a salute to Captain Clyde Welcome and his WATER BABY. They were both aces –– the biggest pair in the deck.
Scuttle Butt Pete. PACIFIC MOTOR BOAT, April 1944.
According to the Friday Harbor Journal, Clyde Welcome and the WATER BABY held the mail contract until 1948.
1960: Sadly in February of this year four fishermen were lost from the fishing boat FEARLESS, loaded with king crab and sunk in a 65-mile per hour gale.
They were recovered by the Coast Guard. One of the men lost was Clyde Welcome.