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Captain Adrian Raynaud


With the decline in mail ships after the war, Capt. Raynaud became one of Seattle's early marine surveyors, founding Seattle Marine Surveyors in 1947 and focusing on yachts and fishing boats.

"He literally introduced to the marine-insurance industry the theme of safety and soundness," said his friend Capt. Harold Huycke. "He made the `condition and valuation' theory a standard means of describing boats and illuminating the need for higher standards of safety… He had an instinctive feeling for wooden ships, but with his deep-sea background, he appreciated the need for sound ships and the hazards of going to sea."


The story of Captain "Cap" Adrian Francis Raynaud is virtually the story of modern seafaring.

Born to a nonseafaring family in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1895, he hung out on the wharves and left school before graduation to become a sailmaker. In 1909 he left the sail loft, signing on on as a cabin boy on the barkentine Lahaina, bearing lumber from Northern California to South Africa.

Capt. Raynaud worked in seafaring trades up and down the West Coast and learned seamanship and navigation on oceanic cruises.

When the U.S. entered World War I, he served in the Navy. Later he worked on steamers and sailing ships delivering mail and lumber on the Pacific Coast and across the Pacific Ocean.

In 1938 he was given command of his first steamer, the Maine. He served as master until he was brought to Seattle by American Mail Line.

Capt. Raynaud’s attention to detail also kept in busy in restoring and sailing classic vessels. A highlight of his career was overseeing restoration and captaining the crew that in 1957 sailed the 165', 1885 cod-fishing steam schooner C.A. Thayer from Seattle to San Francisco.

"That was one of his major moments, saving the ship for posterity,"said his daughter, Nancy Raynaud of Seattle. "It was a struggle to get it all organized. But he did. At last it was disappointing because the winds died just before they got to their goal of sailing through the Golden Gate. They had to go in under tow. But he coped… He was captain of his emotions as well as his ships."

As much as he loved surveying, he didn't want to spend his entire life at it: He retired on his 90th birthday. Or rather his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Raynaud, who had been typing survey reports for 40 years, retired him. She pulled the plug on the electric typewriter in their office and said, "Happy Birthday, Adrian. You have retired!"

For nearly 35 years, Capt. Raynaud passed on his seamanship skills and supervised the restoration of the 1913 B.B. Crowninshield schooner Adventuress, being honored by Council of American Master Mariners as the 1984 Maritime Person of the Year for his work.

Capt. Raynaud died of heart failure at the age of 102.

(Adapted from Capt. Raynaud's Seattle Times obituary, published December 7, 1997. Most photos provided by Cherie Christensen of Saltwater People Log.)

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