Meet Cap'n Charlie
"Cap'n Charlie" is Charlie Long, singer, songwriter, and veteran Pacific Northwest boater. Born in 1948, Charlie calls himself an "almost Northwest native," having arrived in Seattle in January of 1951. His boating life began in 1962, when his parents purchased an Islander 24 sloop they named Spree. Total neophytes, they blundered through one adventure after another, learning a little more each time. They stuck to it and, by 1971, had graduated to a Sea Tiger 41 ketch and cruises to the San Juan and Gulf Islands.
Charlie met his wife, Diane, when both were freshmen at Western Washington University. They graduated in 1970 with degrees in Education, and both went to work for the public schools in the Olympia area. They bought their first boat in 1975, an Ericson 27 sloop they named Sunday Sun after a little-known Neil Diamond song. Second Sun, a Newport 30, followed in 1983. They were active members of both South Sound Sailing Society, where Charlie served as Commodore in 1983, and Olympia Yacht Club.
Charlie and Diane had two sons, Justin, born in 1977, and Jeff, born in 1981. As a family, they cruised the San Juans, Gulf Islands, and Desolation Sound. Tragically, Jeff passed away in 2005. Justin and his wife, Genevieve, live in Olympia with Charlie and Diane's "favorite (and only) granddaughter," Hailey, born in 2010.
Charlie's musical education began at age 6, with the "usual" piano lessons. He recalls that, "It was a running battle with my parents to get me to practice." He graduated from "the nice little lady around the corner" to the Cornish College in Seattle. But classical piano was never his first love. In high school, he took up the guitar and found his true love in the folk music of the 60's.
After beginning his professional career in education, Charlie directed a number of what he calls "kid music groups." He also teamed up with fellow teacher Denny Bailey in a semi-professional duo. Unfortunately, they were just a couple of years too late. While they were into folk and soft rock, the world had "gone disco" in the 70's. As Charlie puts it, "Everyone wanted to BOOGIE. No one wanted to sit in a quiet cocktail lounge and listen to two guys singing soft easy-listening music." Charlie and Denny have remained close friends and Denny is featured as a backup vocalist on both of Charlie's CDs.
Now retired, Charlie and Diane live in Gig Harbor, Washington. They are active members of Tacoma Yacht Club, where Charlie currently serves as Vice Commodore. They were "seduced by the power of the Dark Side" and bought a power boat in 2007. Dreamtime, their 1978 Ocean Alexander trawler, is moored in front of their waterfront condo. Charlie has returned to music, not as a career, but as a "labor of love." He offers his talents at minimal cost to anyone who will give him an opportunity to perform.