The World of Jack London
Latch string is always on the outside

A Sailboat GifThe first boat Jack London had was a small skiff when he was 12 years old. It was a decked over, fourteen foot center board skiff. When he was 15 he bought the Razzle-Dazzle from French Frank to become an oyster pirate. On October 11, 1910, Jack bought the Roamer from Mr. William H. Craig. Jack's brother-in-law, Ernest Matthews, had located the boat for him. The Roamer was the former thirty-five foot fast sloop Iris and had been converted to a yawl. The boat was forty years old and Jack paid $175.00 for it. Jack rebuilt the galley, put in a coal stove for heating and cooking and had the hull and rigging overhauled. I don't know whether Jack sold the boat before he died or whether Charmian sold it later. In 1930 it was owned by a Seattle yachtsman with a new name - Linda.

Besides the Snark, Jack owned one other boat. This was the Spray which he bought from the sale of The Call of the Wild in 1903. It was a trim thirty foot sloop, with a large house and cockpit. One could stand nearly erect below deck. On either side of the cabin was a bunk for two people end to end. There was a table in the center which was split by a centerboard slot. The vessel drew over five feet of water, had a twelve foot beam and boasted a woodburning stove with an oven. Much of The Sea Wolf was written aboard the Spray. The Spray was sold when he decided to build the Snark.

– Russ Kingman
Jack London Echoes
April 1982
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