- 10 -
The Young and Innocent Rotarian
After figuring and refiguring my dead reckon- ing, I decided the island was Mehetia and not Tapuaemanu, about 60 miles east of Tahiti, and on that assumption changed our course. If I was wrong we would be heading for the Antarctic.(1) THE 32-FOOT IDLE HOUR LEAKED LIKE A SIEVE. MOST OF the time the floorboards were awash. It was necessary to man the pumps every four hours. On board, the 22-year-old skipper, Dwight Long, had just recently learned the rudiments of celestial navigation, but could not afford a chronometer so he had to depend on a cheap pocket watch for longitude. Now, forty-four days south of Hawaii, after blundering through the maze of reefs and atolls that make up the Tuamotus or Dangerous Archipelago, they were lost. On board also were Mr. Loy, a retired postal worker who had never seen an ocean before much less a small sailing vessel and whose eves were so bad that he could not see the binnacle at night; Bill Weld, a young man of Long's age from Maine, who had no previous sailing experience, and Hugo, Long's scrub dog. If the island on which they had made a landfall was Mehetia instead of Tapuaemanu, then they were only sixty miles east of Tahiti If not, then they were in real trouble. Dwight decided to sail ~ 99 ~ west for twenty-four hours, running with the southeast trade. It was a gamble, for if he were wrong they would never be able to beat back against the winds. Their food and water were nearly exhausted, and Long suffered from a badly injured hand which had swelled up to double its normal size. Twenty-four hours pass. Nothing is sighted. Had they really left Mehetia, or had it been Tapuaemanu? which was sixty miles to leeward? Dwight decided to run one more hour before attempting to regain all those miles to windward. Then, on the horizon ahead, rose the dark peaks of Tahiti. For the first time in forty-four days, Long knew exactly where he was. Moorea loomed up to starboard. Soon they were abeam of Venus Point, running in enormous seas. The mizzen gaff lashing parted. The wind failed in the lee of the island near the pass. Just then, the pilot launch came to meet the ship, and they were towed into Papeete's calm, smooth lagoon. At last in Tahiti, the waystation of all circumnavigators, Dwight Long felt seriously for the first time that he would become the youngest person ever to sail around the world. Moreover, his Idle Hour was slightly smaller than Robinson's Svaap, which had been the smallest vessel to sail around.(2) Long had bought his first boat at age seven with money earned "peddling bills" that is, advertising circulars door to door in Seattle. His craft was a tiny rowboat, scarred and leaky, but he loved her. He painted her up nicely and sold her for a profit. Then he bought another, fixed this one up, and sold it for a profit. For the next ten years, Long traded up through fourteen boats, each one a little larger, until owning boats became more than a hobby it became an obsession. All during grade and high school, he worked at part-time jobs, investing his earnings into boat projects. In his spare time, he used them on the bays inlets, and waterways of the Pacific Northwest, once or twice venturing as far north as British Columbia. Ultimately, of course, Dwight would arrive at an age when he must make some decisions. He was energetic, thoroughly happy and well- adjusted, with few hang-ups, the son of a well-off Seattle businessman and civic leader who was especially active in clubs like International Rotarians. He had to halt his boat-trading ventures and begin think- ing of college. With the University of Washington near at hand (actually the campus is right on the waterfront, with its own docks and sailing and rowing clubs), it was the practical thing to do. Then, one Sunday in the local newspaper magazine section, ~ 100 ~ Dwight read an article by Alain Gerbault, the noted French tennis champion and circumnavigator, propounding his reasons for escaping to the South Seas and the uncomplicated life. That article was the genesis of Dwight Long, the young circumnavigator. The Great Depression was still on. Millions of people were out of work. In Seattle, the powerful Teamsters Union had a stranglehold on all employment. It was said they even controlled the watchmakers, because their products had wheels. Even news butchers on the street corners, who did not knuckle under, might look forward to having an arm broken across a curb by a goon squad. Would there be any opportunities open in the professions if Long did get a college degree? Were there not doctors, dentists, and engi- neers now in the bread lines or working at manual labor? Dwight decided to try it for two years, and if the prospects did not then look better, he would get himself a ship like Alain Gerbault, and sail around the world. He confided this to an adventurous pal who was enthusiastic about joining him provided they could leave immediately. When it turned out to be a project that would require months of planning and preparation, the friend lost interest and Dwight enrolled at the university. Typically, he organized a landscaping business on the side which prospered as he acquired two trucks and six employees. At the same time, he studied hard and got good grades. Like all good, con- servative sons of Rotarians, he was doing what was expected of him, and doing it better than most. But world economic conditions did not seem to improve. There was no assurance that once he had his college degree, he would not still be running a landscaping service. Why not look around a little for a suitable ship, one in which he could sail to any place on earth if he wanted and live aboard if times got tough? He would then be completely independent no matter what happened to the world. Besides, looking for one's dream ship is a fascinating and universal hobby, something to add spice to a tough grind of study and work. In the beginning, Dwight was only half-serious, but as the search went on, he became obsessed to the point where he neglected his landscaping business. Oh, well, there was no future in that anyway. He concentrated on finding a boat. For six months, he searched every port from San Francisco to Juneau and then found Idle Hour right there under his nose at a Lake Washington yacht club. Eleven years before, a professional shipbuilder, Carl Rathfin, had built Idle Hour for his own use. Carefully constructed of selected two- ~ 101 ~ inch thick, full-length fir planks over oak ribs, she was heavily built for any use, including voyaging to the ice fields of the north. Com- pleted in November 1922, the owner set sail with a companion for Hawaii. Twelve days out, his companion came down with infantile paralysis. Putting about, they encountered the worst storm in forty years and narrowly escaped the ordeal. l hen Rathfin sold the ketch to a couple of trappers, who took her to the Arctic for several seasons, on the last trip wrecking her upon a lonely beach. Patching the hull with tin cut from cans and with rags, they made it back to Seattle. Idle Hour was sold again, this time to a yachtsman who replanked her. Long paid $1,600 for her, all the money he had. Then he began learning to sail and to save for a world cruise. For two years, he hired her out as a charter boat among the San Juan Islands, learning how to handle her between clients. He found a new partner for his circumnavigation, a fellow student who had studied trig at the uni- versity, and who boned up on navigation in his spare time. Setting September 20, 1934, as departure date, he neglected to tell his parents, who learned about the voyage from a newspaper feature story. When they recovered from shock, his father gave him intro- ductions to Rotarian leaders around the world. The mayor of Seattle also gave him a letter of introduction. The president of the Foss Tug and Barge Company volunteered to tow Idle Hour out to Cape Flat- tery, 120 miles to the open sea. With supplies aboard, Idle Hour was six inches below her marks. Family and friends showed up to see them off. They entered the Hiram Chittenden Locks, passing out into Puget Sound. There a Foss tug gave them a wild ride, almost sinking the boat as the water poured in through scuppers and hawse pipe. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, another Foss tug, with a log boom in tow, picked them up and took them to the open Pacific. Off Neah Bay, the tug slipped the cable and they were on their own. At first, the run south, about fifty miles offshore, was fair sailing. They even caught a number of albacore tuna off Oregon. In San Francisco, they tied up to the St. Francis Yacht Club moorings. Then Dwight and Jack, his partner, went sightseeing. At Palo Alto, they called on former President Herbert Hoover, who entertained them and gave them a box of fishing gear. Dwight also noted that Public Enemy Number One, Al Capone, had just taken up residence on Alcatraz Island.(3) One day they climbed to the top of Telegraph Hill and saw the ~ 102 ~ giant rollers of a tidal wave beginning to break upon the coast. They visited Amundsen's famed sloop at Golden Gate Park.(4) Then, with a newspaper send-off, they departed, sailing out of the Golden Gate past the huge caissons for the new bridge and the 600-foot high towers, yet to receive the suspension cables. At Los Angeles harbor, Dwight found a man from his home town in charge of the movie ships, one of which was the Bounty, just refitted for use in the motion picture with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton The crews of these old ships were veteran sailing-ship sailors. They helped Dwight refit Idle Hour for the Pacific passage, replacing the rigging and making baggy wrinkles to prevent sail chaff. Long thought it would be a good idea to get Hollywood backing for a movie he would make of his cruise and called on Will Rogers at his Santa Monica ranch. "Dwight," Will told him, "you could die outside one of the studios and be dead for two weeks before anyone would smell the body." Rogers gave Dwight a letter to Mack Sennett. The latter, however, had just got stung on an expensive South Seas expedition. The famous producer of comedies did not think it funny. At Los Angeles, the Idle Hour took on a paying passenger, the son of a wealthy Chicago family, then another guest, a German who had spent three years building a boat to sail to the South Seas and then lost it to creditors during the Depression. Just outside the harbor, Dwight discovered that the compass was defective. They anchored in a cove at Catalina, went goat hunting the next day, and then sailed down the coast to San Diego. There Idle Hour was hauled on a slipway and painted, after the compass had been repaired. On the slipway, because of a worker's error, the hull was damaged, the dinghy crushed, and the oars broken. The owner of the yard repaired the damage, and finally they sailed for Hawaii, on November 30. Nearly run down by a destroyer on the second day out, they finally reached the trade winds belt. Hugo, Dwight's dog, became seasick; all their wood for the stove washed overboard; the boat began to leak through planks that had opened during the exposure to California sun; the bilge pump failed; they encountered heavy weather and frequent squalls; in a moment of exuberance, Hugo jumped up on Dwight and a clawnail pierced his lip; they were becalmed; Jack's navigation proved faulty; the German came down with an attack of appendicitis but, somehow, on the twenty-eighth day out, they came in sight of the volcanic cone of Haleakala. In the harbor, they passed the famed Royal Hawaiian Hotel, ~ 103 ~ Waikiki Beach, and were assigned a berth just ahead of none other than sixty-year-old Captain Harry Pidgeon, who was on his second circumnavigation in Islander.(5) In Hawaii, all three of Idle Hour's crew and guest list departed. The four weeks on the passage overkilled any desire the German had for tropical cruising. The wealthy lad from Chicago who had spent years trying to elude his parents, rushed to a cable office and let them know where he was. Jack had to return to his studies. All three left on the next steamship for the mainland. Dwight spent his twenty-second birthday on a tour of the islands with the local Rotarian leader. Hugo had to go into quarantine. Dwight tried to charter his vessel for trips among the islands, but bad luck coupled with bad publicity in the local press drove away all his potential business. He locked up Idle Hour and shipped out on the S.S. Lurline for several trips back and forth to California to earn some money. He re-outfitted Idle Hour, with the advice and help of his new friend, Harry Pidgeon, who also taught him some navigation. Long accepted an invitation from the owner of Hawaiian Tuna Packers to haul Idle Hour for bottom repairs. A young man from Maine named Bill Weld, who had necessary funds for the passage, including the landing bond in Oceania, joined Dwight. On May 12, Hugo was finally returned from quarantine. On departure date, friends came to see them off. Harold Dillingham, well-known com- modore of the TransPac, came alongside in his Manuiwa to give them a final aloha. At Hilo, a Mr. Loy joined the voyage. Dwight was taken on a tour of Hawaii by the local Rotary Club leader. Then, with charts given him by none other than Rear Admiral Yarnell, Dwight set sail on the same course Jack London had taken in the Snark. It was more of an ordeal than a cruise. The boat leaked so badly that they had to man the pumps every four hours. Everyone on board was seasick except Dwight. Bill developed sores on his wrist. Dwight had a sore heel from an abscess that had been lanced in Hilo. The elderly Mr. Loy, who could not see very well, was of little use as a relief helmsman. Heading for the Southern Cross, they passed through the dol- drums, and suffered squalls and calms. In the middle of a rain squall, Mr. Loy stood on the deck holding a mast and spoke: "The Lord surely wastes a lot of water on the ocean. Arizona and New Mexico could certainly use it." Then he added, "But who am I to advise the Lord what to do?" ~ 104 ~ The ordeal continued through the Tuamotus, with a number of close calls, until finally they found Tahiti after forty-four days at sea. In Tahiti, Mr. Loy and Bill Weld left the ship. Dwight had an introduction to Governor Soutot, who commended him to the commander of the French frigate Zelee, who invited Dwight for a four-day cruise to Tau Island. He had his hand treated, which turned out to be broken. It was there, also, that he encountered Etera, Robinson's man Friday, on the quay and introduced himself. Dwight eventually met Robinson and also Alain Gerbault in person, and took a rare photograph of these two voyagers together. Gerbault could not resist the artless naivete of the young Rotarian, and they became good friends. Gerbault showed him about his new yacht, the sleek Alain Gerbault, and introduced Dwight to Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, two former Lafayette Escadrille veterans whom Gerbault had known during the war in France, who were working on their new epic, Hurricane. He discovered Zane Grey in residence at the time and called upon this famous author and big-game fisherman.(6) He dined with Robin- son at Ofaipapa, and greeted the irrepressible Fahnestocks as they arrived in Director. Also in the area were Ray Kauffman and Gerry Mefferd on Hurricane. Etera, seeing in Long another chance for a berth, tried to hire aboard, but Long had been warned about this from Robinson. Instead, on Bora Bora, he found a fifteen-year-old Tahitian lad named Timi who became his Companion and trusted friend until they reached Ceylon.(7) Bidding good-bye to Alain Gerbault, who was also in Bora Bora, Dwight sailed with Timi (after getting permission of the lad's parents and the authorities), and a passanger named Sam, for Penrhyn.(8) After a visit, during which Dwight went pearl diving with the natives, they sailed for Samoa one year to the day after he had left Seattle. They paused at Palmerston to visit the famous Masters family, and then reached Pago Pago for a long stay. Dwight got his hair cut in a shop at the Sadie Thompson Hotel where Somerset Maugham wrote Rain. When the cruise ship S.S. Lurline arrived, Dwight signed on as a wiper, leaving Timi in charge of Idle Hour. Long visited New Zealand and Australia, and while in both countries he took time to go ashore to arrange to write articles of his adventures for the local newspapers, and to make future contacts with influential people. On ~ 105 ~ the return cruise, he went aboard Cimba, Richard Maury's ill-fated 35-foot schooner which had piled up on a Suva reef.(9) Back in Samoa, Dwight found Timi and Idle Hour waiting for him. He also entertained a new friend, Wilbur Thomas, who was to join the cruise twenty-one months later in France. During Dwight's absence, he had dreamed that Idle Hour had caught fire. On his return, he learned that a nearby vessel had burned to the water, but Timi had been able to move Idle Hour to a safe place. Leaving Samoa, they passed close to Tin Can Island, then in a storm Idle Hour was dismasted, and Hugo was lost overboard. Under jury rig, they made New Zealand. Christmas was spent here, and the crew of the Idle Hour were warmly welcomed. Timi had a broken tooth repaired by Dr. Batten, father of a famous New Zealand aviatrix. Dwight addressed meetings of the local Rotary clubs and accepted offers from various sources for repair and outfitting of his yacht. He earned some money writing for the newspapers. He had an audience with New Zealand's Prime Minister, James Savage, and met the mayor of Auckland, Mr. Davis, who took Dwight and Timi on a cruise aboard the luxurious 85-foot schooner Marewa. One day, a short moustachioed character came down and intro- duced himself. It was Captain Tommy Drake, who claimed to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and who had lived some time in the Seattle area, built three or four vessels named Pilgrim and Progress, wrote the Log of the Lone Sea Wanderer, and finally went missing on his last voyage. Drake was then seventy-four, and at the time was touring the Southwest Pacific by steamship.(10) Timi was injured in a bike accident; Dwight met Alan Villiers who was there with the training ship Joseph Conrad on a world cruise; and the Idle Hour took part in regattas and other festivities, then sailed for Australia. In Sydney, there was more publicity, more Rotary lectures, more guided tours, and more interviews with people in high places. A paying guest joined Idle Hour , who turned out to be a bumbler who was mostly bad luck. Sailing up inside the Barrier Reef, they called at Hayman Island, where Zane Grey was making a motion picture called White Death, and were hosted by the famous author. After many adventures and fascinating detours, they called at New Guinea. In Port Moresby, Dwight dined with Beatrice Grimshaw, the famous authoress, made side trips inland with native guides, sailed on to Timor, visited the island of the giant lizards, Komodo, went through the Java Sea, had the same bad experience in Surabaja with the ~ 106 ~ haughty and uncooperative American consul that Robinson had writ- ten about, out-bluffed some arrogant Dutch officials, and then reached Singapore. It was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's birthday, and the city was jumping with celebrations. With his usual talent for seeking out people in influential places, Long enjoyed an eventful stay here, while preparing for the homeward voyage. He also received a letter from Robinson in Tahiti, with advice on the route through the Indian Ocean and Red Sea. "Remember," Robinson wrote, "you can do anything you want to hard enough, if you never slip up on the eternal vigilance." Timi, still homesick, was cheered up by letters from Dwight's sister, but he began to come down with periodic attacks of malaria, and refused to take his medicine as directed by the doctor. Before departing, Dwight received a radio message from the chief officer of the President Adams, a Dollar liner en route to Ceylon, advising on weather and sea conditions. A visit was made to Great Nicobar Island, as Zane Grey had suggested. In Singapore, Dwight had also met Martin and Osa Johnson, and had been given the benefit of their experience.(ll) One day, in Colombo, who should come aboard but William A. Robinson. Robbie was there outfitting a 70-ton square-rigger that he had seen on his circumnavigation and fallen in love with. Wlth a native crew and his wife, he sailed the beautiful ship back to Glou- cester, visiting many out-of-the-way places en route. The vessel, which he named the Florence C. Robinson, was a teak replica of the old China tea clippers.(l2) Next, Timi and Dwight visited Kandy, Ceylon. Before they sailed, Timi took sick again. Instead of improving, he got worse. With that instinct which all islanders seem to have, Timi knew he was dying and resigned himself to it. After a dismaying period with Dwight at his bedside constantly, the lad expired as a Catholic priest gave him his last rites. It was a severe blow for Long since he had regarded Timi as a younger brother with whom he was sharing a great adventure. When Long finally sailed again, he had with him Raymond Milton, a tea planter returning to England, who weighed 280 pounds and turned out to be a delightful companion. Also aboard was Peter Collins, the son of an English mother and a Cingalese physician. The departure date was December 27, Dwight's birthday, the same day he had landed in Hawaii with a guest suffering with appendicitis, ~ 107 ~ the same day he had reached harbor under jury rig in New Zealand a*er a dismasting and the loss of Hugo, and now the same day he was leaving Timi behind in a Ceylon graveyard. The Idle Hour crossed the Indian Ocean and went up the Red Sea to Suez with frequent stops for adventures among the Arabs, and, as usual, Dwight displayed his knack for seeking out people of influence, including Adbul Mijib, finance minister of Saudi Arabia, and the local managers of American and British firms. Idle Hour was dry- docked in Port Said. Dwigha visited the pyramids. At Jidda, where Long went to photograph the pilgrimage, he was almost shot by the Khan's men, but the American local manager, Mr. Twichell, inter- ceded with the potentate. On one side trip, Dwight took a train to Palestine along with Elizabeth Bergner, the famous actress who had recently played in The Boy David, and her husband. Idle Hour zigzagged across the Mediterranean. Near Gibraltar, two of II Duce's bombers passed low overhead. The Rock was crowded with refugees. At the American consulate, Dwight got his mail, in- cluding a letter from Wilbur Thomas, who was coming to join him, and one from his father, who was in Europe to attend an Interna- tional Rotarian conference. In Cherbourg, France, he tried to telephone his dad in Paris, but missed him by an hour. With the help of the New York Herald Paris staff, he made contact with his father in Zurich, where the elder Long had been elected member of the board. After a reunion in Zurich, Dwight took Idle Hour to Cowes, England, for the winter, where he wrote his book, visited the yacht clubs, and did his usual sightseeing. War clouds were already forming in Europe. Long remained aboard Idle Hour, tied up in the Thames, almost on the prime meridian, thirty thousand miles from Seattle, until spring; then he sailed for New York. In the United States again, Dwight got the usual hero's welcome. Invited to appear on an N.B.C. radio broadcast, he was at the studio when a hurricane struck the area. Learning that Idle Hour had broken loose, he tried to leave the studio, but the broadcast was already in progress. When he was interviewed, he departed from the script to appeal to listeners to be on the lookout for his boat, but most of the power in the area was already out and few were listening. After the broadcast, he hurried out to Long Island and began searching himself. He finally found Idle Hour wrecked among hun- dreds of others on a long stretch of beach. ~ 108 ~ With the nationwide publicity of the radio broadcast and later newspaper stories, aid came from many sources. Back in his home town, folks got together and raised a fund for rebuilding the now- famous yacht. Then Long continued on through the Caribbean to Panama, and sailed the long passage uphill to Seattle at last. The youngest to circumnavigate in a small boat, Long also was one of the last before World War II. During the war, he served as a Navy officer, attached to headquarters in Honolulu on special assign- ment, and Idle Hour(l3) finished out her career as a charter boat among the San Juan Islands, where she had started.(l4) ~ 109 ~ - end Chapter 10 -
To Chapter 11.
AUTHOR's NOTES Chapter Ten 1. Seven Seas on a Shoestring by Dwight Long (New York and London: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1938, also published in England as Sailing All Seas). 2. Idle Hour's vital statistics were: 32 feet 6 inches overall, 29 feet 6 inches on the water line, 11 feet of beam, and drawing 5 feet 6 inches light and 6 feet loaded. She was rigged as a gaff-headed ketch, originally carrying 722 square feet of sail. When he remodeled her, Long equipped her for chartering, a sideline that earned him money along the way. Built in 1921 in Tacoma, Washington, she cost $2,500 completely outfitted. About $3,000 was spent by Long during the voyage for all expenses. Even then, Long remarked, to make a circumnavigation for less than $6,000 was not easy and much scrimping was necessary When he started out, he did not even have a camera. It should be remembered however, that from childhood days Long had been brought up and thoroughly grounded in the principles of good business practices he knew how to earn and how to hang onto a buck. More- over, young as he was, he never allowed himself to be intimidated or exploited by land sharks or petty officialdom wherever he put in. "What I could not afford, I did not buy," he wrote. "I never would risk having my floating home sold out from under me." 3. An inveterate seeker of the famous and the influential, Rotarian Long bagged an impressive list of names for dropping later, including: ex-Presi- dent Herbert Hoover, Will Rogers, Mack Sennett, Harry Pidgeon, Alain Gel- bault, W. A. Robinson, Alan Villiers, the Fahnestocks, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, Rear Admiral Yarnell, Zane Grey, Martin and Osa Johnson, and numerous others. 4. 'Tis a pity that San Francisco folks so neglected Amundsen's ship that Norway repossessed her and took her home to stay. 5. Captain Pidgeon took young Long under his wing and taught him not only celestial navigation but some secrets of successful small-boat voyaging. 6. Grey, one of the world's foremost pioneer big-game anglers, in addition to being a highly successful author of Western novels, made four ex- peditions to Tahiti, usually on his own yacht. On one trip, he caught the world's largest marlin, and the world's largest mako shark. He later purchased acreage on Tahiti, which was still in the family as late as 1972. Dr. Loren Grey, his youngest son, told me at that time that he and his sister planned to sell the now immensely valuable waterfront property if a proper price could be obtained. 7. See Robinson's wartime edition of 10,000 Leagues Over the Sea for what had happened to Etera in the post-Svaap years. 8. Penrhyn was a mecca for many voyagers, including Voss and Lux- ton, who had most of their fun there. Flying Venus Reef, eight miles from Penrhyn, has the unique distinction of being the resting place of the Derby Park, a four-masted lumber carrier from Vancouver, and the Flying Cloud, a vessel chartered to bring a replacement order of lumber to Melbourne. By coincidence, they were both wrecked on the same reef. As far as is known, the lumber order was not placed the third time. 9. Cimba, one of the most beautiful sailing yachts ever built, was also one of the unluckiest. Maury, a great-grandson of the founder of the Navy's Hydrographic Office, was also a gifted writer. The Saga of the Cimba, the story of his ill-fated expedition, has been re-issued at this writing. Maury later became a merchant ship captain. 10. Captain Tommy Drake remains a controversial character, and probably the rapscallion some claim he was Dwight sheds some light here on what happened to Drake during those long periods he disappeared, purporting to be sailing alone on his home-built schooners. Because Long was from Seattle scene of many of Drake's earlier tales, the old fraud probably took this oppor- tunity to talk to someone from "home." 11. Martin Johnson, as a lad younger than Long, had volunteered for the position of cook on Jack London's Snark, and been accepted. This adven- ture led him into a lifetime of adventures, later with his wife, Osa. 12. Robinson had seen this ship on his circumnavigation and could not get her out of his mind, like the memory of an exotic woman. He returned later, found her, bought her for 20,000 rupees ($9,000), and outfitted her for a world cruise. 13. The Idle Hour that was operated out of Orcas Island for years by my friend, the late Captain Chris Wilkins, was a different vessel. 14. Dwight Long told the author that it was his articles sometimes as many as six a month in the old Seattle Star newspaper that paid most of his expenses. They were also responsible for widespread publicity. The staff on the Star had taken a liking to the young circumnavigator and had turned his rough copy, which he mailed in periodically, into more professional prose. His later book was mostly a condensation of these articles, he said. In 1974 he was living on the waterfront at Venice, California, where he operated a string of gift shops, one of which is on the Queen Mary, now a land-bound Long Beach tourist and convention center. During the war, as a Navy officer in the photographic section, he had charge of putting together the well known war-time film, Fighting Lady, the story of the U.S.S. Hornet, which was narrated by Robert Taylor. He also produced another official film on fighting submarines, which was never released because the war ended in the meantime. In 1974 he was also operating a lecture series called "Armchair Cruises," which used his own films along with others, and traveled frequently overseas. As for the Idle Hour, she was sailed to Honolulu before the war by Dwight and his brother, Philip. In 1944, Philip sold her on behalf of Dwight, and the Idle Hour has been at the Honolulu yacht harbor ever since, having passed through several ownerships. In 1974, Idle Hour, the aging old girl that began life in the early 1930s as a Bering Sea trading vessel, and subsequently sailed around the world, survived World War II, and the postwar world, finally sank one day off Oahu Island, just too tired to go on anymore. Long had planned to buy back the boat and have her restored in the Seattle Maritime Museum, but was too late. He recently acquired a new motor sailer from England and has named her Idle Hour, to keep the name alive. He sails her almost daily from his waterfront headquarters at Venice. Still the ebullient businessman, Long was planning a voyage with the Irving Johnsons aboard Yankee through the European canals, to make a travel movie and write an article for The Reader's Digest. He was scheduling for his lecture series, his old friend, Alan Villiers. One of his saddest memories of his cruising days, he told me, was having to help bury his old friend, Harry Pidgeon, in the 1950s. Until the day before the old gentleman died, Pidgeon refused to leave the yacht on which he and his wife, Margaret, lived. Long helped get him to the hospital and assisted Margaret with the funeral details.
To Chapter 11.
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