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Thread: John Ford's Araner...

  1. #1

    Default John Ford's Araner...

    Can anyone tell me what became of this gorgeous ketch...?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Ford continued to use the yacht until her rising operating expenses prompted him to sell her circa 1971. Acquired by Fran M. Dimond, of Honolulu, the craft retained her name into 1974, when she was bought by the San Marino Travel Service. Still homeported at Honolulu, she was given back her original name, Faith in, or about, 1975. Renamed again, to Windjammer, a short time later, she was acquired by the Guam Rent-a-Car Company and served as a tourist-carrying craft into the early 1980s.
    http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/a10/araner-i.htm

  3. #3
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    During the summer of 1968 I was a crewman aboard the Araner. Admiral Ford, as we called him, never visited. Rip Yeager was the captain. The boat was in fairly good condition then. I wonder if it still exists.

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    Question Re: John Ford's Araner...

    My friends and I used to party on the Araner during your time. We would drink like idiots and jump like fools from the rigging into Ala Wai Yacht harbor. Who did you say the skipper was? I recall a big red-headed guy that went to Kailua High School with us as the skipper or at least the guy who was the boat-sitter. He tried to make sure nobody got killed or sank the Araner while we partied. My name is John Robinson. The other partyers were Robert Reynolds (he's a fire captain at Olomana fire station now), Harry Davidson, David Lapp, Joyce Bogel and some other knuckleheads. Did you go to Kailua High School?

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    I had the distinct pleasure of knowing Captain Yeager while I was stationed in Hawaii with the US Air Force, I managed a electronic shop and helped Captain Yeager install some communications equipment. He invited my wife & I to come aboard for a cruise, this would have been in 1962 - 1963 time frame, I do remember that he had just broken his leg. He was a wonderful man. I may be reached at lordhenry@lordhenry.pro.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Part 1 of my expierance with the Araner

    In 1971 I met Fran Diamond and here husband as they were trying to aquire the Araner and were raising funds to bid on her. She was being sold at a Marshals auction. It seems the folks who aquired her from the ford Family put her in the yards at Dillingham Ship yard to to refitted. They went belly up and she was being sold at auction for debts owed. I was stationed on a Nuke sub and had just recieved my reenlistment bonus so I had the cash available to help out. All told there were 5 of us who invested in the Araner. We were successful in buying her for $25,000. Frans name was placed on the regestry papers but we had all agreed that we all owned her. We didn't see a need to form a formal partnership. As it turned out I would later regrete this.
    She had no main engine since it had been removed as part of the incomplete re-fitting. We had her towed to the Ala Wai Marina so we could work on her. She had a Cat. diesel with a 10 KW D.C. Generator for auxillary power and a 120 volt battery bank for backup power while underway. This was brought back to life with a little coaxing. The Sail locker was bare except for 1 sail the flying jib.
    I as well as several other investors were sub sailors spending 3 month in Hawaii and 3 months at sea. We worked on her during our off crew periods. The first thing we did was obtain a new main engine for her and install it. A GM 8-71 deisel. We also put controls back at the helm so that we could control her without the need to have someone in the engine room.
    We took her out of the canal for a little shakedown trip and while crusing along Waikiki we suddenly discovered that she wouldn't respond to the helm. We had to be towed back in by the coast guard. The next morning we dove and discovered that the rudder had fallen off. The rudder post had evedenly been the victom of worms.


    to be continued.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Part 2

    We fabricated a new rudder out of 1" plate and made a new rudder post out of 6" pipe with a flange. Painted it and using the Misen gaf as a hoist we were able to get the new rudder back in place good as new.
    Our next challenge was new sails, after all the Araner was a sail boat and the main engine would only push her through the water at 4 kts. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the former owners had ordered new sails from a sailmaker in Newport Beach California. They had not paid for them and the sail maker was about to cut them up to be used for sails for other boats. We were able to get them for $3,000.
    Now keep in mind although many of us were Navy sailors we were sub sailors who knew nothing about sailing and neither did anyone else who we had helping us. As a matter of fact we all worked in the engineering deptartment of the submarine.
    Again we got lucky and we were able to get ahold of a young man who had been in the sea explorers and had crewed the Araner when Rip Yeager would take the Explorers out and he proved to be a real asset. The first thing he pointed out was that the hoops used to fasten the main and misen on were missing. He said that we could get around that buy waxing the masts real good and then we could lash the sails on. So with his help we bent on the new sail and the Araner now had all new sails save the flying jig which we already had. All in all she carried 6,000 square feet of sail. The main, misen, club foot jib, jib and flying jib.
    It was a great day when we were able to with the help of the skipper of a 45 foot yawl rig take here out for here shakedown under sail. We cruised out of the harbor turned into the wind and proceeded to raise the sails. With all of the sails raised we killed the main engine and enjoyed the sweet bliss of having our first sail. We cruised down past Waikiki and down past diamond head, came about and cruised back to the Ala Wai without any other events. Once back in the harbor and tied safly at the pier we had a party to celebrate out success.

    to be continued.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    The next morning we dove and discovered that the rudder had fallen off.
    always a downer
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Part 3

    The Original plan was to use the Araner as a cruise ship to take folks around the Islands but the coast guard regs required that any vessel over 100 ft deck length needed water tight bulkheads and water tight doors, non of which the Araner had. The only way we could do any charter work was to bareboat charter.
    We decided to do this but in order to do it we would need a trained crew so that whoever did the charter could hire then. They could not be the owners. Since Frans name was the only name on the the official registry we were home free. We decided that in order to attract high paying folks we needed to add a compressor and scuba tanks to the ship and to do this we added a 30 KW AC generator, refitted the electrics to accept this and added a comercial range and a large comercial Freezer and Refrigerator. The original walkin refrigerator being obsolete we tore it out and fitted in more bunks. we could now carry more people. We left the running lights and windlass's on the DC power so we also kept the 10 KW DC generator. We also redid the main salon to make it more condusive to carrying multiple passengers.
    We then contracted with a dive club stateside for our first charter. It went fairly well but the coast guard wasn't very happy with our "bareboat" business and gave us a warning not to continue.
    This being the case we decided then when we were all discharged from the Navy we would take the Araner to the south pacific and do our charter operations where the coast guard had no say. We sepnt the next year just getting to know the boat by sailig around the Islands taking friends for cruises to Maui, and the big Island.

    to be continued.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Part 4

    We knew we needed a navigator in order to make this voyage. There was no GPS back in the 70's and the dead reconing we used around the Islands wouldn't work once we got out of sight of land, even an RDF had limited range so we knew that someone would need to know how to navigate by the stars. I was choosen to learn how. While at sea on the submarine on crew time I studied navigation. I spent time while not on watch on the sub with the ships navigator learning how to navigate and when on off crew while we were cruising the islands I practiced using a sextent since all of my bearing could be varified with dead reconing. I became the defacto navigator.
    We decided to take the Araner to Figi where we hoped we could open up our charter business. I planned the trip to sail from Oahu to the big Island, top off our provisions in Kona. Then sail to Samoa by way of the line island then finaly to Fiji. I figured that since the line island (christmas, Fanning and Palmira were oll in line we would be able to find one and make our course corrections according to which ever Island we found first.
    I made one last patrol on the submarine and was discharge 9 days later in California. I then flew back to Oahu to rejoin the Araner. We provisioned the boat for the journey, we even picked up 3 paying passengers to help pay some of the expenses.
    We set out from the Ala Wai for the big island on the first leg of our journey. We had a multi band radio, two sectents, a nautical almanac and a multi band radio. We sailed past the lee side of Lanai, down the lee coast of maui and across the Ali Nui haha channel. A storm kicked up that night as were making the crossing and were were in some heavy seas, we were taking waves over the bow that were getting the helmsman wet. The the flying jib blew out. This was the only sail that wasn't new and the treads were just to old for the strain. Two of us went out on the bowsprint to bring in the sail. We lowered it and lashed it to the bow sprint in order to keep it from any further damage. We finished the crossing without any further issues and in the morning we dropped anchor in a bay on the lee side of the big island. We spent the rest of the day mending the torn sail.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Part 5

    The next morning we pulled up the anchor and headed to Kona. We spent a few hour there taking on provisions and topping off our tanks. While there we met a fishing boat skipper who had just came in with some fishermen with a marlin. since they could't use all of the fish we were able to get about 30 lbs. of fresh marlin. We then headed to Honounou (the city of refuge) south of Kona to spent the night, our last night in Hawaii. We dropped anchor there and then we had a great dinner of fresh marlin and settle in for the night. The morning came with fine weather and we pulled up the anchor set the sail for the first major leg of out journey. I had plotted a course for Palmyra as it was the island furthest west figuring that the prevailing course migh carry us a bit east. Each day I would figure our position and make course correction to keep us on course. sailing was fine with the inds carrying us as much as 180 miles in 1 day, then we reached the northern Horse latitudes then we became becalmed. As we approached them the wind began to lessen until finaly I was awakend by watch to be told we were becalmed. IAs the sun rose you could see nothing but a flat calm sea. We decided to take a days rest and then we held swim call to give everyone a break. The next day with still no signs of wind. The next day we fired up the engine and motored for a day and a half until there was enough wind to sail. we then killed the engine and were on our way. While sailing we kept busy either reading or other activities. One of the fun things to do was to put a boasons chair on one of the boat davets and someone would sit in it and others would lower him into the water. then this person could body surf. Each crew member taking a turn. In retrospect it was a dumb thing to do since it was just asking for a man overboard but he we were young and foolish and it did cool you down. A few days later I told the watch to start looking for Palmyra island probubly the next day. The next morning the Island off the bow. We lowered the sales and dropped anchor a distanc eof 1052 miles from Hawaii. we spent a few hours diving in the coral reef, the fish were plentyful and the water crystal clear. I saw a parot fist as big as one of our danforth anchors eating away on the fresh coral that apeared when our anchor was dropped and it busted the coral head in two. After several hours set sail for fanning Island since it was polulated and we could take on fresh water.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    We upped anchor and set sail for Fanning Island, a distance of 200 miles. We left early in the afternoon and made Fanning late the next day. A motor launch came out to great us and show us the way through the coral into English Harbor. After visiting with the customer officer we met the plantation master. He told us we could have all of the fresh water we needed and invited us to his house. The Islanders all work on the copra Plantation. Upon returning to the Araner we were visted by some folks from the University of Hawaii who were there doing research. We took on water and spent a pleasnt night in the harbor. The next morning we fired up the engine upped anchor and proceeded to leave the harbor. There was a very strong current comeinto the harbor entrance and we were having a hard time getting out of the harbor. Suddenly we lost our propulsion and the current carried us back into the middle of English Harbor. We dropped anchor and I went below to try to figure out what had gone wrong. In checking out the situation I discovered that the transmission was slipping. No ship yard with a thousand miles I took out the owners manual and started reading. I discovered that it was possible ti tighten some bolts inside the transmission and it would lock the clutch in forward. The only problem was you had no reverse and no neutral. I went ahead and tightened the bolts we refired the main and upped anchor. By this time the current had subsided and we were able to clear the harbor. Once clear we set sail, killed the engine and headed to American Samoa.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Once under way the sailing was good with little to talk about. We sent our days reading and enjoying the weather. One day one of the crew decided to try his hand at spear fishing while under way. We often had Mahi Mahi (durado) playing in the bow wake while we were under way. He got a spear gun and while standing on the bow sprint stay he attempted to shoot one of them as he leaped ahead, on his 3rd or 4th try he was successful and we enjoyed fresh fish. All the rest of the way to Samoa we were able to enjoy the fish that we all got this way. We had no problem sailing through the doldrums ot the southern horse latitudes, there was a storm a few hundred miles to our west so we sailed right through them. Several day were over cast so I wasn't able to see any stars. When it was clear I took my readings and plotted our position. One day after taking a noon shot of the sun I ran my calulation and told everyone we would see Mt. Alava on the Island of Tutuila in the morning. Morning came and it was overcast. With a crew member perched on the main mast spread as a lookout we proceeded on. at about 10 AM he yealled out that he could see land. As we got closer we could see the waves breaking on the reef at the entrance to the harbor. We entered the harbor and by radio we were told by the harbor master where we could tie up. we dropped the sails and under power we proceeded through the harbor to where we moored. After a visit by the customs folks we were cleared to go ashore. The next day I was contacted by the red cross that my dad had had a heart attack while we were under way. I called home and spoke to my mother and it was decided that i would fly home. I had to wait a few days to catch a plane to Honolulu then on to California. While I was killing time I made the aquantance of a retired Navy Chief Mathinest Mate who was working under contract to tech the locals how to run their tug boats. It seems the gov had three of them that the used to visit the other Island. He invited me to go out with them as they were taking supplies to a few of the other islands. We set out at night and by morning we had made it to the first stop. While under way there was an electrical problem with a pump in the engine room Since they didn't have an electricion on board I volunteer to take a look at it. I found a started had bad contacts. I fixed the started and the pump ran fine. We made our rounds of the island and headed back to Pago Pago. A few days later I caught my flight back to the states, never to see the Araner again. After returning home I met a young lady we got engaged and were married. I have been trying ever since to track down the Araner and try to contact Fran Diamon. I assume she sold the Araner but I never heard from her, so the money I invested in her were never recovered. I all I am left with are some great memories.
    Now you know another part of this beutiful yachts history.

    Thanks for following along.

  14. #14

    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Fantastic Story! Thanks for sharing.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    As a followup to the previous posts, several months after returning to the states I recieved a package from te Gov. of American Samoa. It was a Job offer. It was for the position of chief electrical inspector and was a 3 year contract. It included a salary of $30,000 per year and a house. Included was 30 days paid leave per year. Not a bad offer for the mid 1970's. It seems the Cheif Machinest Mate I had befrended thought very highly of my talents. If I had not met the love of my Life I would have taken then up on the offer.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...



    Araner was launched as Faith, commissioned by Chicago Industrialist Walden W. Shaw in 1926 from 37 year old John G. Hanna. Reportedly her lines are the largest ever version of the Spray, which is hard to believe but I suppose the shape might be similar.

    Faith was/is 97'7" on deck, 85'2" LWL, 24'8" beam, 10'0" draft, and 170 tons displacement, she carried 4,488 sq ft of sail in her four lowers. She was the largest (by far) boat designed by Hanna.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post


    Reportedly her lines are the largest ever version of the Spray, which is hard to believe but I suppose the shape might be similar.
    In the book "In the Wake of the Spray" they make mention of the Araner being built along the lines of the Spray. Her construction was certainly the same, Pine over White Oak. The balast was also the same concrete. The Araner was a little over 3 times that of the Spray. And the Spray was a sloop converted to a yall rig while the Araner was a ketch rig but due to her size this was much more practicle. The Araner was also self steering like the spray when she was trimed out right.
    Last edited by Don Baer; 05-16-2010 at 06:20 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Here is a link to a blog that I have set up with as much of the history of the Araner as I could piece together.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    neat story...thanks.

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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    I too knew Captain Yeager. In the summer of 1962 we met, it was the summer before my freshman year in high school. I was just a kid and we had moved to Ewa Beach. My parents had a business in Waipahu and did not want me left to my own devices all day long. We had friends, Dave and Jane Silvey that lived aboard a boat at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and were members of the yacht club. They knew Captain Yeager and asked if he needed summer help to sand and varnish the Araner. Thus started my working summer experience. At the time it was tough work, now it seems like a dream come true.

    The Captain was the only paid crewman. All others were guests but, in exchange for time worked, offered the opportunity to sail the ship on weekends, or whenever the Captain chose to leave port. My assigned sailing job was the forward lookout. From the bow I would relay information to a guy with a headset pertaining to how far other craft were from us and their position. This was necessary as the helmsman could not see what was in front of him because the cockpit was aft, behind both masts.

    Captain Yeager took a liking to me and asked me to join him as a full time deckhand for 1 school year on a voyage to Tahiti. My parents consented and class schedules were arranged. Unfortunately, about 4 weeks before we were to set sail on what would have been an adventure of a lifetime, John Ford announced he needed the Araner to make a movie, Donovan's Reef with John Wayne and Lee Marvin. Some of us who were crewing at the time were invited to sail the Araner to where the movie was shot, but the voyage to Tahiti was cancelled.

    That summer of 1962 holds many great memories for me, one of them being the friendship I forged with Captain Yeager. I often went down to the "T" Pier after that and visited both the yacht with which I fell in love, and the Captain who had befriended a young kid.

  21. #21

    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    great story

  22. #22
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Regarding the Yacht Araner,

    I lived in Kailua from 1956 to 1962, spent time in the sea scouts and worked on the Araner, and sailed on her. I remember Rip Yeager and enjoyed working on the boat. In all my time in Kailua the Araner always anchored in Kaneohe Bay. Had to ride the shore boat out to work on her. Left the islands in 62 for college and stayed in California. The Araner came up during a conversation I had with some old timers and no one knew what had become of her. Interesting stories, does anyone know if she is even afloat anymore.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    Since this is my first post here, I'll give a bit of background....

    Recently I was telling my sons about my adventures in life and Hawaii came up in the conversation. I was in Hawaii for five months from Christmas Eve of 1964 until May of 1965. After high school, I'd saved some money and wanted to see some more of the world and ended up in Hawaii. After the money ran out, I ended up living in sort of a beach house, which was divided into 4 kitchenettes, and worked for the Military at Fort Ruger, located on Diamondhead, to save enough money to return to the mainland. I was a real Haole, but met a lot of wonderfuland interesting people.


    During the time there, I was actually invited to come aboard the Araner several times in 1965 as I knew the watchman who stayed on her while she was docked at Ala Wai Harbor in Waikiki. That was during the time that John Ford owned her at that time. I was never privi to sailing on her, because I was sort of a bum, but it did inspire me to own my own sailbaot later on in life. Unfortunatly, as this is the Woodenbaot forum, it was a Gulf Coast 18' sloop with a retractable keel. I sailed her in Lake Erie and several other lakes around PA since she was easy to trailor. I named her Lil' Araner and, of course, noone knew why until I expalined. Since telling the stories to my son's I decided to search the Araner and came up with this very interesting thread here.

    For anyone who is interested, there are some scenes in John Ford's movie "Donovan’s Reef,"which was filmed in 1962-3. You can see her here in the movie trailer onYoutube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Xwv3mmSuk&feature=related at1:30-9 and 5:00-1 minutes. If I remember correctly there’s also a scene with the Araner under full sail in the movie. Although I don’ t own the movie, I've actually ordered it after reading this post here. The movie is still a great one if you like the scenes of the south seas, sailboats, and the islands!
    Of course, there’s a good fight scene with John Wayne and Lee Marvin, because bothJohn’s (Ford and Wayne) loved to having fight scenes in their movies.

    It really would be nice to know the fate of the Araner or if she still exists today.

    BTW, I believe the Araner was being rented out by the Coast Guard at that time, in 1965, as a trainer for their sailors.

    Fred Young

    Last edited by fyoung; 08-09-2012 at 10:58 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: John Ford's Araner...

    A fascinating thread. Thank you all who have added first hand recollections.

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