Iconoclast designer John G. Hanna, known as the sage of Dunedin but perhaps better known as the designer of the Tahiti ketch, said of Spray, "I hold that her peculiar merit as a single-hander was in her remarkable balance of all effective centers of effort and resistance on her midship section line." Hanna nevertheless felt it necessary to warn prospective circumnavigators looking for a suitable vessel that "Spray is the worst possible boat for anyone lacking the experience and resourcefulness of Slocum to take offshore.
Slocum's mental health deteriorated during his later years. Visiting Riverton, New Jersey, in May 1906, Slocum was charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. After further investigation and questioning, it became apparent that the crime was indecent exposure, but Slocum claimed to have no memory of any wrong-doing and that, if anything had happened, it must have occurred during one of his mental lapses. Slocum spent 42 days in jail awaiting trial. At his trial he pleaded "no contest" and was released for time-served. The judge at his trial told him, "upon request of the family, I can deal leniently with you."
A few weeks after his conviction in New Jersey, Slocum and the Spray visited Sagamore Hill, the estate of US President Theodore Roosevelt on the north shore of Long Island, New York. Roosevelt and his family were interested in the tales of Slocum's solo circumnavigation. The President's young son, Archie, along with a guardian, spent the next few days sailing with Slocum up to Newport aboard the Spray, which, by then, was a decrepit, weather-worn vessel.
The Casiquiare river is a distributary of the upper Orinoco, which flows southward into the Rio Negro, in South America. As such, it forms a unique natural canal between the Orinoco and Amazon river systems. It is the largest river on the planet that links two major river systems, a so-called bifurcation.
Meinickheim now had a terrible, ominous feeling. He inquired as to when the incident had taken place. He was told it had been during the graveyard watch, the midnight to four AM watch always taken by the second mate.
Meinickheim then interviewed the second mate, who admitted that it had been an unusually dark night, overcast, and at the moment of contact with the other craft, there definitely was no one at the wheel of the other vessel. As for the Captain's claim that they had run down a native boatman, the second mate made the following statement:"In the few seconds when I saw the other craft, I made out that she was not a native of this area."