Sailor John is a pirate, and was the original owner of Skiff. He is a greedy and ruthless pirate who will do whatever it takes to obtain the treasure, even if it means getting his hands dirty in the process.
Prior to coming to Sodor, Sailor John had worked in the Navy, but he was kicked out for unknown reasons. Upon moving to the Island, he found out about the lost treasure that Captain Calles had buried, and became obsessed with finding the treasure for himself. He began sailing up and down the coast of Arlesburgh with his sailboat, Skiff, to try and find the treasure, but he was never successful in finding it.
Sailor John was present near the cavern when Thomas was recovered from the sinkhole, and was later seen at Arlesburgh Harbour when the pirate ship arrived. After the pirate ship was discovered, Sailor John constructed a railway chassis for Skiff, and they began searching for the treasure on the land. As he was searching near the sinkhole, Sailor John met Thomas when the tank engine was eavesdropping on him, and upon discovering that Thomas had found the pirate ship, he immediately became friendly towards him and asked him to help him find the treasure. With Thomas' help, Sailor John retrieved the treasure map from inside the cavern, and he and Skiff left for their home.
Sailor John and Skiff returned the next night, and asked Thomas to help them once more. Together, the three began searching around the Construction Yard for the treasure, but no matter where they looked, they could not find it. Sailor John immediately became suspicious of Thomas, believing that he could have found the treasure first and was not telling him about it. He confronted Thomas at the Coastal Cliffs later that day, and was infuriated to discover that the treasure was now in the Fat Controller's possession and that he would be giving it to the Museum. Sailor John vowed to get the treasure back, but Thomas simply shoved him and Skiff aside and puffed away.
That night, Sailor John arrived at Knapford, where he used a stick of dynamite to destroy the Fat Controller's office and steal the treasure. The sound of the explosion woke Thomas up, and Sailor John was pursued by him along the Little Western. In order to escape, Sailor John rigged the pirate ship as an escape vehicle to get away from Thomas, but the ship was pulled over at Arlesburgh Junction thanks to the small engines and Ryan. Thomas chased Sailor John all the way to Arlesburgh, where Sailor John tried to stop him several times. He even went as far as to try and destroy Thomas with a bundle of dynamite, but he lost his aim when Skiff shook him. Thomas then attempted to derail Skiff, but accidentally bumped him on another line away from him, much to Sailor John's delight.
However, Thomas realized that his line crossed over onto Skiff's, and ran into him at the crossing. Unfortunately, this resulted in Thomas landing in the sea, and Skiff and Sailor John began to sail away. Sailor John tried to sail back home, but he lost his oar when a large wave surged at Skiff, and the treasure chest began to weigh Skiff down. Skiff warned Sailor John that the treasure was too heavy, but Sailor John refused to throw it overboard. A large wave then capsized Skiff, and Sailor John lost the treasure, admitting defeat at last. Later that morning, Sailor John was arrested by the police. (TVS; Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure)
Personality and Traits
- Sailor John is the first human antagonist in the series, excluding P.T. Boomer as he did not make it to the final cut of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- He is also the first antagonist to not reform at the film's conclusion since Diesel 10 from the same film.
- Sailor John calls himself "Pirate John" in the book adaptation of Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, yet he never does so in the actual movie.