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Did You Ever Sail on the Marin-Based Ship ‘Active’?

Tucked into the bitter end of the San Rafael Canal is what we can only call an unexpected vessel — a pirate-y looking tall ship that’s  a tad out of place against the back alley of the busy Montecito Plaza. We are, of course, referring to Active, the 104-ft LOA wishbone ketch Baltic trader.

In the forthcoming issue of Latitude 38, we’ll report on what’s happening with one of the Bay’s unique vessels. But a story of a boat is best told through the people that have sailed aboard. In that spirit, we are hoping to hear from everyone in the Latitude Nation who has sailed, worked on or been in some way involved with Active.

Active, as seen in San Rafael about two weeks ago.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Active’s name is, at present, a tad ironic, as she doesn’t see much action these days.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
We took a tour of Active about two weeks ago — the inside is what you would expect, a hodgepodge of maritime history and memorabilia.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
We apologize for the blurriness of this photo; it’s one of several displayed credos inside Active.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
One of the many unique features of Active is her wishbone rig. The wishbone is actually very light, and is hoisted to the top of the rig when the main is flying. (It’s not a boom, in other words, but a type of gaff, we think.)
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
That’s Terrapin Crossroads across the water.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

If you have any information on Active, please comment below, or email us here, and please be sure to include your boat name, make and port of call, or just tell us where you’re from.

Readers — We originally called Active a Sea Scout vessel; while Active was once associated with the Boy Scouts of America, she has not worked with the organization for some time. 



  1. Zie Abb Nagibet 4 years ago

    My brother Kevin Keenan Mahoney passed away Jan.15,2020 he was 68years old. In planning a memorial I was remembering his stories of being a Sea Scout. In approx. 1967-68 he joined the Sea Scouts of San Rafael. Kevin joined the Coast Guards in 1969 and served 4 years, assigned to Two Rock in Petaluma. After discharged he became a Advisor with the Sea Scouts in San Rafael CA for a number of years. Luckily while Googlling I found your website. Beautiful photos! My reason for contacting you is to inquire if you might have photos going back to 1960’s to approx. 1980 that might show the Sea Scout Crew. Kevin loved being a Sea Scout. Thank You so much Zoe Ann Mahoney

  2. Lars 3 years ago

    My father was on that ship 1938, he was only 19 years. The name of the ship in that time was M/S Violett and was stationed at Sweden at the West coast. I’m doing some research about that ship and other ship he was at duty on. Very big surprise for me that this ship still sailing.

    This is what I know about this ship:

    Sorry to say, it’s written in Swedish, but you can maybe use google translater or something simular.


    • Tim Henry 3 years ago

      Truth be told, Lars, we’re not sure when Active last sailed, but it has certainly been some time. The 104-ft wishbone ketch Baltic trader became a (non-mobile) base for the Sea Scouts, and is now something of a museum in the shallow terminus of the San Rafael Canal.

  3. Elaine Ashes 6 months ago

    My mom and dad bought the Violette in the 80s we lived on it for 10 years as General De La Rey. It was anchored out & moored in Richardson Bay (Schoonmaker) and finally docked in Richmond, California at Marina Bay. I’m sure my mom would love to chat!

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