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Photos of the Day: Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show

June 29 - Tiburon

The scow schooner Alma side-tied to the guest dock

Today's photos of the Day come to us from the annual Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show, held last Sunday at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon.

Aboard Alma


Wooden masts along A dock
Photos John McNeill

TransPac Hopeful and Wal-Mart Heir Killed in Plane Crash

June 29 - Jackson Hole, WY

John Walton, the 58-year-old son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and reputed to be the 11th richest man in the world, was killed Monday when his homebuilt ultralight plane crashed shortly after takeoff near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Walton had built his own sailboats, motorcycles, and ultralight airplanes.

The owner of a Catana 47 catamaran, Walton contacted us earlier this year to encourage us and other catamaran owners to enter the TransPac, where five boats were required to get a start. We told Walton that previous commitments prevented it. In the event he couldn't get a quorum - which is what happened - we suggested we race together in the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race, the Baja Ha-Ha, or the Banderas Bay Regatta in Mexico. He responded by saying that he would indeed be going to Mexico this winter, "but I haven't decided whether I'm going to sail down in my cat or fly down in my ultralight plane."

Walton, wife Christy, and son Luke had cruised Mexico with their catamaran a number of years ago, and based on reports from other cruisers, were unpretentious and well-liked.

In the early '80s, Walton provided the backing for Corsair Multihulls, which introduced the F-27 folding trimarans to the United States. He apparently had also invested in TPI boatbuilding in Rhode Island, but became disenchanted when others didn't like the same designs as he.

A Green Beret medic in Viet Nam, Walton was decorated for saving lives of others while under fire. He was well liked and respected, and even his ex-wife, a judge, described him as "a prince of a man."

We regret to have to say this again, but we know far more pilot-sailors who have died flying rather than sailing.

Canadian Catamaran Breaks Apart in Storm off El Salvador

June 29 - Jiquilisco Bay, El Salvador

According to The Vancouver Province newspaper in British Columbia, Jeff Berwick 34, and his sailing friend Elsie Woo, 24, were found clinging to his surfboard in Jiquilisco Bay, El Salvador, around midnight on June 23. His 10.5 meter catamaran, type unknown, had reportedly sunk in "a wicked storm." When the cat cracked in two and started to sink, the two took to the water on one of Berwick's surfboards. Fortunately, they'd had time to issue a mayday. After bobbing around on the surfboard for several hours, they were picked up by a Salvadorian rescue vessel.

Berthing for Just $1/Foot/Month in San Francisco?

June 29 - San Francisco

That's all the owners of fishing boats pay for berthing at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. To be fair, the berths aren't the best in the world, as the fishermen have to climb down vertical ladders to get to their boats. On the other hand, fishermen in Santa Cruz pay $8.50/ft/month for berthing. It's just a wild guess on our part, but we'd bet a nickel that the fishing boats at Santa Cruz are used more often than the fishing boats at Fisherman's Wharf.

Speaking of fish, today's Scuttlebutt reports that PETA wants the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to stop selling seafood and fish products at their cafeteria, claiming that it's like "serving poodle burgers at a dog show." What next, no beef tacos at the bullfights? No more whale burgers at Japanese fast food restaurants? No more barbecued horse in Samoa?

The Eight Lucky Ones Who Didn't Die in the Carquinez Strait

June 29 - Carquinez Strait

You may remember the 1:30 a.m. incident in the Carquinez Strait on June 12, in which Nick Patz, his fiancée, and six friends nearly drowned and were nearly run over by a 600-ft ship after their Lido 14 sank and turned turtle. There's a terrific report on the incident by Patrick Hoge on page B-1 of today's Chronicle. Among the interesting facts:

- The Lido 14 didn't sink and turn turtle because of a gust of wind, but because the eight people aboard were simply beyond the boat's capacity to stay afloat.

- When Tara McCoy, one of the passengers, called 911 on her cell phone and said there was an emergency, the CHP dispatch center put her on hold. Then the phone went dead.

- When McCoy called 911 with another phone, she reported that there were eight people in the water and they weren't going to last much longer. Alas, she also said they were "by the Carquinez Bridge." In fact, they were several miles away.

- Patz, 29, and his friend and main co-conspirator, Joe Talosig, 33, feel responsible for the incident and are deeply embarrassed.

We know the feeling. The closest we've come to dying on a boat was about 30 years ago when we did something very similar - only that time it involved an overloaded Flying Dutchman dinghy on a very windy San Francisco Bay with hardly anybody around. It was merely luck that prevented the four of us from dying of hypothermia, just as it was luck that prevented the eight with the Lido 14 from dying of hypothermia.

Please be careful out there!

The End of Rude

June 29 - Mallorca, Spain

We got some very different responses from Monday's report on Richard Parasol, the flamboyant and often obnoxious owner of the red cigarette-type powerboat Rude, which has often been seen roaring across the waters of the Bay, particularly Raccoon Strait and Sausalito.

One of Parasol's children understandably took exception to our saying that even though we've been a friend of 'Rick Rude' for 20 years, he'd often embarrassed us and many of his other friends.

On the other hand, Rick himself, having read the item in 'Lectronic, called us from Spain. "I loved what you wrote!" he effused, "it was just wonderful. I've always said you had such a great style. Why don't you fly over here right now - we're having fun with my boat in Mallorca and about to take off for Ibiza?"

Unfortunately, we have a magazine to publish, so we had to settle for asking him what's become of his noisy but beloved Rude, which is no longer in Schoonmaker Yacht Harbor. "I had to trash her because the boat and the engines were falling apart," he said. "I could have sold her, but I couldn't bear the thought of seeing somebody else having fun on the Bay with 'my' boat."

As for Rick's relationship with PartyGaming, PLC, he says it's all the work of his daughter Ruth and that he doesn't own any of the stock. "She's scheduled to ring the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange on Thursday," he said proudly, "because her just-listed company is now one of the 100 largest businesses traded in Britain, and will become part of the 'Footsie 100'."

For those who think the days of the dot.com fortunes are over, we'll remind you that PartyGaming PLC's IPO on Monday valued the company at $8.7 billion. Ruth, who grew up and went to school is Marin, owns 40% of it with her husband.

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