The Yacht Spray


I received the following email from Argyle, Scotland: "I have some photos of Spray sailing down the Sound of Mull on 20 July '08 - would you like me to email them to you? Good sailing......Clive"
My reply was returned, so, Clive, I hope you get this: Yes, I would be happy to post your photos on these pages. - Sam.


In 1892, a friend, a retired whaleman, Captain Eben Pierce, invited Joshua Slocum to Fairhaven, Mass where he offered him a ship "that wants some repairs." It was an ancient oyster sloop, said to have been nearly 100 years old. The "Spray" was beached for nearly seven years. No one knows what he felt at first sight, but from that hour Slocum and the Spray would never be apart. To me, it sounds of "love at first sight."

When finally launched, Slocum said, "She sat on the water like a swan." The Spray, 36 feet, nine inches overall, 14 feet, 2 inches wide, and 4 feet, 2 inches deep in the hold, had a gross tonnage of  just under 13 tons; net tonnage, 9. It was later rigged as a yawl.

Ode to Joshua Slocum

Here the song of the skipper Slocum
Best afloat.
This is not a Yankee Fairy

But the plain unvarnished story
Of a seaman bold and hoary
Who set out in search of glory
In a boat.

All alone he sailed from Boston
One fine day
In a swagger little lugger
Called the Spray,

Bound to cross the broad Atlantic
(True a most peculiar antic!)
Even tho’ the gals were frantic
Every day.

All’s well however that ends well
They say:
Which applies to skipper Slocum
And the Spray.

Therefore let us sing their praises
(Like we do all other crazes)
In a manner which amazes
Hip, Hooray.

All of the above is in a wonderful book titled; Joshua Slocum by Walter Teller.



I received this email recently:

Photograph #7 on the page showing images of the Spray is credited to Vincent Gilpin.  But in fact that photograph was made by my great grandfather, Robert Jeremiah Peck, owner of the Miami Boat Works.  I have in hand the original 5x7 inch glass plate negative for this image and others he made of the Spray and Miami at the turn of the century.
R. Howard Berg

I have been in touch with him and those plates will be available for viewing in the near future. He may put them on a web site and I will link to them.

Along with that email I received an email giving me the location of two "Sprays." I am planning on doing some research and writing a book with photos about the ongoing life of the "Spray" and the legacy of Joshua Slocum. If you have any information, please send it to me.

Sam Younghans


Joshua Slocum and his yacht "Spray"

#3 #4





Below are photos I took in1999, while visiting my Daughter in San Francisco. The photos are of a replica of the original "Spray". This replica was built in 1929 by R. D. (Pete) Culler. After several owners,  my sister, Barbara and her husband, Jack Benz, purchased it in Miami. 

My sister asked me to go with her to look at a boat they were thinking of buying - At that time I owned the "Antares", a 39' Ketch that had belonged to Ernest Hemingway. Barbara wanted my opinion.  At that time I didn't know the Spray's history, but told her it looked like a sound boat and a good buy. I regret my ignorance of its history at that time.

They lived on board and sailed the Bahamas and the Caribbean for many years. The painting at the top of this page was done while the were the owners. To their story.

 It was thrilling to be that close to a replica of the "Spray." It felt like it was the original and that Slocum would be popping his head out of the hatch at any moment. I understood how my sister and her husband felt about it.






My Daughter, Candace


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This is the cover from Pete Culler's book "The Spray". The photo on the right is also from his book. 

A fabulous story of his experience in the boatyard building the Spray and sailing her.

Don't these photos create a yearning deep down inside of you? Slip on your topsiders, grab your captain's splicing knife with the folding fid, pull on some nautical clothes and cast off.

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