"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.

1917 ❖ SCHOONER SANWAN ❖ by Robert Moran, Orcas Island

Schooner SANWAN
Launch day 7 June 1917, Orcas Island, WA.
Built at Rosario by Robert Moran
from 1912 to 1917 as he inscribed on the
Masters Carpenter Certificate.
(Copy on file from NARA.)
This photo possibly by Webster and Stevens who were
 on assignment here that day for The Seattle Times;
kindly donated by maritime historian Kae Paterson, almost
one hundred years after launching.

Hundreds of Friends of Pioneer Seattle Shipbuilder Assemble to Watch Launching of Palatial Vessel.

"While the canopy of darkness was rapidly descending over picturesque Orcas Island in the San Juan group and the great walls of trees on the surrounding hillsides were swaying in unison before a brisk wind, the palatial three-masted, schooner rigged yacht, built by Robert Moran took her initial dip into the waters of the Sound at Rosario, Moran's estate.
      Christened by Helen Moran, daughter of Frank Moran and niece of the builder of the United States battleship NEBRASKA, the launching was successful to the most minute detail.
      At 7:30 p.m., Bob Moran, as the great shipbuilder is known to thousands of friends and admirers in the Northwest, gave the order to his workmen to tear away the supports. Timber props began to fall under the crushing of heavy sledges, a band struck up the Star Spangled Banner, five hundred persons raised their voices in wild acclaim, whistles and sirens on steamships, tugs, and launches that lay in the little inlet blasted thunderously––and a moment later, the beautiful yacht, which the builder has tendered to the US government for use during the war, slid smoothly down the ways. The SANWAN took her first plunge proudly, majestically.
      Just as the many other undertakings which Bob Moran has carried to successful completion have stood the acid tests of inspection and trial, the SANWAN proved the perfect product of the shipbuilder.
      Four hundred prominent residents of Seattle who watched Bob Moran turn poverty into wealth, saw him succeed in undertakings that were classed by others as almost impossible, went to Rosario to attend the launching on the steamer INDIANAPOLIS. The ship, which was chartered by Moran, left Seattle at 8 a.m. yesterday morning and arrived at the picturesque estate of the shipbuilder at 1:30 p.m. 
      Clambake on the Beach 
      Upon arrival they found blocks of long tables, loaded with foodstuffs, confronting them on every side. There was a clambake on the beach and a dance in the beautiful Moran home.
      An hour before the launching a steamer from Bellingham, carrying about one hundred persons, drew into the harbor to watch the SANWAN descend down the ways. Navy officials from the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton came in navy tugs and launches.
      The launching was one of the most picturesque in the annals of the Northwest. All that was needed to make the setting perfect was a Western sunset.
      Before the Seattle party left Rosario for the return trip to the city, Professor Edmond S. Meany, of the history department of the U W; Richard A. Ballinger, former secretary of the Interior Department, shipping magnate Robert Dollar, Joshua Greene, H. F. Ostrander, and Rev. W. A. Major made brief speeches in which they eulogized the qualities of Bob Moran. They thanked him for his hospitality: they praised him for his patriotism and they held him up as a true example of the thrifty, courageous and determined American.
      On the S S INDIANAPOLIS while returning to Seattle the party adopted resolutions of appreciation of Moran. A fund was raised to purchase a suitable gift for the shipbuilder.
      The SANWAN is an auxiliary-powered yacht, with two six-cylinder Corliss gas engines. The boat is constructed for a center line propeller, as Moran proposes to later install heavy oil or diesel engines. It is 132-ft long on deck with a 25-ft beam. The yacht is equipped with all the modern living conveniences and appliances.
      Robert Moran offered the yacht to the government about two weeks ago. Navy officials have inspected it but it has not been officially taken over yet."
Seattle Times. 8 June 1917. 
Schooner SANWAN
Under construction at the Robert Moran estate,
as dated Aug. 1915.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©


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