Sea Queen was built at Wilbo in 1945,
and was first owned by Fred Harris, a wealthy hotel man. Dave Lee, Jr.
served as skipper for Mr. Harris in 1950-1951 before he was called to
Korea, and has provided some of the photos presented on this page. Dave lost track of her after his return from the Korean War, and,
until September of 2010 we had no
idea as to the history or ultimate fate of the Sea Queen.
In September of 2010, we heard
from Mike Holt who gave us part of the sad story, along with the below photo
of Sea Queen and Captain/Owner, Paul George – the last owner of Sea Queen.
Then, in February, 2012, we
heard from Paul George, Jr. – as he put it, a "survivor of the Sea
Queen." Paul has quite a story to tell, and we hope to hear more from
THE FATE OF THE SEA
1, 2012, we received a most welcome email from Paul George, Jr.,
son of Captain Paul George, the last owner of the Sea Queen. He adds
some details to the story first told to us by Mike Holt in September,
2010. Paul's amazing story is a book waiting to be written – and he
gives a hint that perhaps one will eventually be forthcoming. Paul
Hi I am a survivor
of the Sea Queen. This was one of 4 original SEA WITCH boats
built in Wilbo. We survived 88 days at sea with 22 days no food and
landed on Kusaie Island in Micronesia. We were sailing from Western
Samoa to Hawaii during monsoon season and 220 miles off Johnston Atoll
we were dismasted.
We had sailed hard
for forty days before being dismasted and drifted for another
forty-eight days and went without food for 22 days.
It was tough
spending 88 days on a boat with 4 other people when you are 13 years
old. I am 53 years old now. All my father could ever say
about the whole incident was... "I GIVE YOU ADVENTURE!"
LOL – TRUE
...My father, Paul
George, Sr. had purchased the Sea Queen in 1966 from a yacht broker
named Ted Hoover of Newport, Ca. My father, mother, 2 brothers
and 1 sister sailed from Anchorage Harbor, Newport Ca. to Honolulu,
Hawaii with 2 other crewmembers.
That maiden voyage
took 32 days. We had never sailed before but learned quickly.
I was 8 years old. We sailed to BC Canada in 1968 and sailed back to
Honolulu in 1969. My father and mother had separated and my
father set sail with my brother, Danny and myself and 2 other crew
members and set sail for Tahiti.
Dad had changed
his mind mid way and charted a course for American Samoa. We stayed
there in Pago Pago for 3 months then set sail for Western Samoa and
stayed in Apia harbor. Dad decided he wanted to go back to Hawaii in
the middle of monsoon season and after 88 days at sea and 22 days with
no food we sank the boat on a reef located on the island of Kusaie,
and then to a 150 shelf where she either is cradled or the Sea Queen
had dropped off to the unknown. My heart sank right along with
her as she gave herself up for us.
She didn’t. I had helmed the boat for 8 hours a day on every
trip and learned how to sail on the Sea Queen. She was my home
for 7 years. The book will come one day but when I saw your
website I was astonished. So Cool! I have pictures and
We outfitted the
boat in Canada with a yard arm and square sail which helped us to
Samoa in 21 days from Hawaii. She was a world class cruiser that
had previously won 22 first place trophies in her class. The Sea Queen
was truly the most awesome sail boat that I have been in.
Y Marina, Inc.
September 9, 2010, Update:
My name is Mike Holt and I was very familiar with the “Sea Queen”
having lived aboard her for a few months while my own boat was in the
yard being repaired. This was in the 1970’s at Harbour Ferries in
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At that time Sea Queen was owned
by Paul George, who had bought her in LA and, with his partner Diane
and kids Tracy and Snoopy, sailed her via Hawaii to Vancouver
to get away from the drug scene in CA. He had just sold his music store
in LA. After a few years in Vancouver – around 1973, they sailed off
for the South Pacific with a crewmate/friend, John. They were disabled
in a hurricane south of Hawaii and drifted for weeks until they landed
on the reef in Ponape, in the Caroline Islands. They were hung up for a
few days while the islanders took them ashore, almost dead from lack of
food and water – they made soup from the sea life growing on the hull!
Eventually they recovered and, with the help of the US Navy who had a
small base on the island, managed to shift her off the reef but she
sank outside the reef before they could get her ashore. I understand
that the islanders eventually raised her and may have repaired her so
it’s possible she is still in the vicinity, maybe with a new
name? I would love to make contact with Paul, Diane, the kids
or John with all of whom I have lost contact, and to hear any later
news about the Sea Queen. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a pic of Sea Queen and Bob George which I am
attaching. Best regards, Mike Holt
Mike included the image below of Sea Queen setting sail from Vancouver
with an image of Captain Paul George superimposed.
2009, Update: We have heard from Bob Zetterberg who
crewed for Captain Harris during the period from 1952 to 1957. He has
provided us with some Sea Queen history as well as some photos and
newspaper clippings. Read his very interesting email below.
NOVEMBER, 2009, EMAIL FROM BOB
...I maintained and helped sail
the Sea Queen from my early days in high school 1952 – 1957 at which
time I continued my love for the sea by becoming a midshipman at the
California Maritime Academy.
years onboard Sea Queen were during the times of Wooden Boats, when
Yachts were “Real Yachts”, Meticulously Maintained, and when Yacht
Etiquette was recognized and religiously used. Sea Queen glistened with
her smooth white hull, Sea Witch Blue water line/trim accented with
gold leaf. Her varnished rails, hatch covers, and masts were
bright and smooth as silk. Her teak decks were so clean they shone
almost white, and lastly her brass work gleamed. She was a beauty and
caught the eyes of everyone. She received several awards for the
best-kept yacht in LA Yacht Club.
Fred Harris, her crew and I were
all very proud.
My Dad taught me seamanship, work ethics, and
the love of the sea.
My Mom taught me compassion and
My Brother taught me how to varnish, paint, and general yacht
Fred Harris taught me how to sail.
my years on Sea Queen we sailed EVERY WEEKEND during the summer to
Catalina Island. We had a buoy in Cherry Cove along with several other
yachts; e.g. Goodwill (175’ schooner), Santanna (60’+schonner owned by
Humphrey Bogart), Serenade (60+ schooner owned by John Wayne). The
Pilgrim (80’+schooner) from Balboa Island was also frequently there.
Sea Queen, with all that company, still caught the eyes of those
around. Sea Queen also participated in many local off shore races, many
mid winter regattas, several Ensenada races and last but not least, the
TransPac race of 1955.Our crew (not including me) was referred to as
the “Rocking Chair Crew”. Our home was the LA Yacht Club, located at
the tip of Terminal Island.
A few words about the 1955
Crew included three on each watch (4 on and 4
off) and one cook. Here are the names as close as I can remember:
– Owner/skipper – Great and a Very Nice
– Captain USN retired
Warren Newmark– Owner, Newmarks
– Owner, Scotts Tissue
– Owner, manufacturing company Beverly Hills
– Medical Doctor, Navigator
– Crewmember with BIG Appetite
I remember, it was an overcast day and the wind was blowing up a storm.
It was a beat, but it was preferred, to go around the west end of
Catalina. As I said it was really blowing. Two boats lost their masts
trying to get around the island. As you can imagine, Sea Queen was a
little slower but we made it.
bad news is all but two were seasick; the cook and I were ok. This
lasted for about three days. The cook and I ate very well. During this
time I found myself pretty much alone while on watch and the only one
that could take the helm and sail Sea Queen. The rest of my watch
standers were feeding the fish.
LITTLE SIDE NOTE: Clare Newner and I were on the same watch. I believe
he felt bad that I had to do the sailing without anyone to help. Having
said that, he said that his wife had made a tin full of chocolate chip
cookies, which he had stored below, and told me to help myself. Being a
growing boy, over the course of three days I ate the entire tin of
cookies. To say the least, it was not a pretty sight when Clare started
to feel better and wanted to have a cookie, only to find the tin
We had wind
almost every day, a little rough, lots of sail changes but we thought
we were making good time. Every day we had to call in to the “Scratch
Boat” Goodwill to report our position. One day Goodwill reported she
was taking a little water over her fore deck. Can you imagine how much
water Sea Queen was experiencing that day. We were swamped!
The last day or two outside of Oahu, I remember
the experience of going through the Molikai Channel. Wind whistling
Dixie, 40 foot swells, top of crest, spanker full, doing a hull speed
of 10 knots – next moment at bottom of swell, spinnaker collapsed,
speed slowing then once again on top of the crest spinnaker full and
once again going 10 knots. That was a thrilling ride and a great sail.
We entered port the afternoon of either that
day or the next. We were all dressed in our sailing uniforms (red pants
– red/white striped shirts). Happy wives and girl friends were waiting
to greet us with leis, and champagne.
took us 14 plus days to make the crossing and complete the race. I
believe it was about the same time it took Sea Witch in the 1953 race.
Fred hired a family to take Sea Queen home. The
man & his wife took one watch and I plus a college kid, wanting
a ride home, took the next watch. I believe it took us 22 days to
return home. Good trip!
sold Sea Queen in 1956 to a couple that wanted to sail around the
world. Before leaving they added a “dog house” for weather protection.
I did not like it as it detracted from the lines and beauty of Sea
Queen. I always keep looking, but have never found her. Fred later
bought Freedom, a 42’ sloop. I understand he kept Freedom for a couple
of years and then sold her.
soon thereafter lost contact with Fred. Unfortunately he died of cancer
a couple of years later. Meanwhile I graduated from the Maritime
Academy, sailed in the Merchant Marine and wound up my sea experience
spending 6 plus years in the Navy as Chief Engineer on three
destroyers. Made 2 trips to Vietnam. Enjoyed my sea
experiences very much.
I wish all who might read this, Fair Winds and
HONOLULU RACE OF
Course: San Pedro (“2A” buoy)
to Diamond Head Light, 2225 nautical miles. Handicap Rule: Ocean Racing
Rule of North American Yacht Racing Union subject to certain
limitations plus the Transpacific Yacht Club’s Table of Allowances.
Start: July 4, noon, Pacific Daylight Time. Yacht Owner Elapsed
Class D – Rating from 25 to 32.3, inclusive
Sea Queen (25.3) Fred F. Harris 14:09:58:10
9:13:06:34 15 D-6
time: 14 days, 9 hours, 58 minutes, and 10 seconds.)