I’m not really sure who to contact at Latitude 38 to ask this question, but in a nutshell, I am trying to find the fellow who bought my dad’s last boat, a unique ketch, a long time ago in San Diego. I know — this is totally and insanely ridiculous. There are countless boats in the world and it’s completely nuts to think I could actually find a single and specific one, but this is a special boat.
I know, everyone says their boat is special.
It is/was a unique 42-ft ketch for its time that my dad — Jean Filloux — designed himself with a naval architect friend at Sparkman & Stephens to be built with a first-of-its-kind manufacturing method that my dad had come up with. He and my mom then built the boat themselves from 1953-56 with help from a large group of sponsors that included the Rothschild Foundation, Dow Plastics (donated the fiberglass), American Cyanamid (epoxy resin), Mercedes-Benz (engine), and a fellow Frenchman who ran a perfume company. (Seriously … the boat was originally named Arpege after the perfume with which it was christened, but is unrelated to Michel Dufour’s Arpege boats from the ’60s/’70s). My dad also made a movie of the construction process, which you can see at Birth of the Arpege, on Vimeo.
The manufacturing method to lay up the hull was revolutionary for the time and garnered considerable attention in sailboat construction circles; Arpege was shown at the New York Boat Show in 1956. I learned bigger-boat sailing (and maintenance!) on that boat, and spent some of my happiest sailing days on it.
Anyway, fast forward to San Diego in 1989 or so when my dad finally sold the boat, in a rather sad state of disrepair, to a guy in the Marines who lived in Ventura. Despite my pleas, my dad had (kindly) refused to give it to me knowing how much work it was going to take to bring it back to life.
A cinematographer in New York is making a documentary on my dad; he was both a pretty accomplished oceanographer/geophysicist and adventurer/cinematographer in his day. You can also see him in La Croisiere du Copula on Vimeo. My dad asked me if there was any way to find out what happened to his boat, Arpege (later re-named La Creuse). I have been trying to find it for the [past] couple of years, but really have no clue how to go about it. As I was reading the latest Latitude 38, I thought maybe someone might have some idea how to go about such a search.
Anyway, if you have any ideas or suggestions on how I might go about trying to find her, I’d be most grateful. — Dominique Filloux.
Dominique: Our best suggestion is to put the question to Latitude Nation!