SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—This year the Log is celebrating 50-years in circulation. In its history, the boating, sailing, and fishing publication has transferred hands to new ownership three times, weathered storms – including a national pandemic – and grown and evolved.
The journey began in 1971 when former newsman William O. Roberts founded San Diego Log to provide information to San Diego’s boating community. Working from The Red Sails Inn dining room on Shelter Island, Roberts conducted interviews and meetings from a table reserved just for him. He wrote many of the articles, edited freelance stories, laid out the paper, sold advertisements, and distributed the paper, which began as a monthly publication. Old archives show the now free paper sold for 25 cents in 1974.
Roberts sold the paper to Louis Gerlinger and his wife Betty in 1975. Gerlinger had been writing a column for the paper about his adventures sailing in Mexico for a section of the paper called “Mexican Scene.”
“Since October of 1971, when Roberts first began publication of the Log, he has devoted himself to reporting news of port happenings and has often been outspoken on material that he has felt should be brought to the attention of the boating community,” reads a May 1975 Log article announcing the sale of the paper.
Gerlinger ran the paper in a small building in the back of the family’s Point Loma home. The full-time staff included Gerlinger’s wife, Betty; their daughter, Lise, and son Lou Jr. He added a section for “Regional News” which included Oceanside, Dana Point, and Newport Beach. In 1978, Gerlinger expanded the paper’s coverage to include Orange County and Los Angeles County, with separate editions printed for each region. The paper began publishing twice monthly in June 1979.
In 1990, the Log was acquired by Independent News Corporation. In 2001, then editor Jack Innis added the still popular “Dog Aboard” section. In 2004, the Duncan McIntosh Co. purchased the paper that to this day continues to cover maritime and waterfront news from Santa Barbara to Mexico.
Gerlinger continued to be involved with the Log after selling the paper and regularly wrote news stories under the alias of “Log News Service” until his death in 2020.