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‘Pantera’s Bob Smith Finally Identified

Rich Boren of the Hudson Force 50 Third Day and La Paz Cruisers Supply wrote us with an update on the loss of Bob Smith and his catmaran Pantera. Rich reports: “I’ve been emailing back and forth with Bob Smith’s daughter who today received the DNA testing results back confirming that the body found on the beach around Nov 20 was indeed Bob Smith from SV Pantera. The family is of course devastated, and sadly, they don’t have money to pay for a proper cremation. Lori and I are going to pay for it either by ourselves or by raising some money from his friends. We knew Bob and it’s the least we can do for him and the family. Folks wanting to donate a few bucks toward his cremation can send them to my PayPal account at [email protected]. Any extra money will be donated to a local kids charity in Bob’s name.

Bob Smith’s homebuilt Pantera, racing in the 2008 Banderas Bay Regatta, was always one of the fastest ‘cruising’ boats in the fleet.
© 2019 Jay Ailworth

“We met Bob back in 2008 when we first came to La Paz after doing the Baja Ha-Ha, and he was a gem of the cruising community. Seeing his rocket-ship-fast catamaran Pantera anchored just off the La Paz malecon was part of La Paz experience. I’ll always remember the night he called for “help” on the radio at 4 a.m. His cat was in distress, and his rowing dinghy was stolen (later recovered) so he was asking for help getting to shore to see a vet. My wife and I dinghied over. After waking him up, the emergency vet found that the cat was fine . . . it was just in heat!! The entire cruising fleet laughed about that one for weeks with jokes on the radio net.”

Bob Smith was a talented, gregarious and revered member of the Mexico cruising community who built his high-tech, super-fast cruising cat in Vancouver. He singlehanded from British Columbia to Mexico and back several times, sailed in the Baja Ha-Ha, and enjoyed over a decade of cruising Mexico and the Sea of Cortez.


  1. John Enders 5 years ago

    A few years ago Bob lost a cat overboard at La Cruz (Banderas Bay). He was bereft. More recently, he was helpful to me in offering advice on how to better insulate my refrigerator, always a challenge in warm waters. A sad, tragic loss. RIP Bob Smith, and condolences to his family and friends.

  2. Randy Hough 5 years ago

    I always looked forward to seeing Pantera and Bob. He was living a dream that many of us share. BBR was better when Bob and Pantera were spanking the fleet. Bob and Pantera were the embodiment of “Performance Cruising”.

  3. Bruce Campbell 5 years ago

    Pantera was not built in Vancouver but at Sidney on Vancouver Island.

  4. Bernard Slabeck 5 years ago

    Bernard Slabeck s/v Simple Pleasures

    I first met Bob back in the early 2000’s when I “boat-sat” Pantera while he was back in Canada for a couple weeks. We remained friends ever since.

    After I finally bought my boat we managed to cross paths for almost two decades all over the Sea of Cortez and up and down the Mainland.

    I still have fond memories of racing my monohull against his “Rocket Ship” Catamaran in the first Ziuatanejo Sailfest. In the typical light air, I actually beat him to the first weather mark (that had nothing to do with boat speed!). After we rounded that mark and turned off the wind… aside from seeing him wiz past me, I never saw him again!!!

    As Singlehanders we both could “talk a blue streak” given the chance! We spent many an afternoon together just blabbing endlessly…

    I’ll miss you Bob. My heart goes out to Bob’s Daughter and family.

    • Natalie Smith 5 years ago

      This is true. Thank you for clarifying 🙂

    • Mary Rich 4 years ago

      Bernard Slabeck, trying to reach you. Give me a call or email.

  5. Roger william Briggs 5 years ago

    Bob went on the HaHa XIII, as we did (Anum Cara). His hailing port was Victoria, B.C. After the HaHa, we went up to La Paz and spent a few days at the islands just north. We heard a forecast of some hefty Northers so we bee-lined back and felt lucky to get a slip in Mac’s La Paz Marina. That night, it did howl from the north and the word went out that a cruiser was in trouble out in the anchorage. We went out to the end of the dock to see what we could do and someone brought Bob in with a broken leg and some other injuries. I think it was a nasty compound fracture, as I recall. He had had a problem with his anchor rode in the high winds and his leg got snagged (again, this is what I recall). I think he was hauled off to a hospital for surgery and the rest of us cruisers took care of his boat for a while. My recollection is that we later heard that he received great medical treatment and was back to it pretty quickly. He was quite a guy.
    Roger Briggs

    • Natalie Smith 5 years ago

      I am Bob’s daughter Natalie. There is a Facebook group for those that knew him. Please pass the work if you know someone would like to join and share stories. Celebración de la vida for Bob Smith and Pantera

      Thank you,

  6. Jay Baugher 5 years ago

    When some old time friends from college were visiting in La Paz several years ago, Bob took us out on a day sail and whale shark viewing adventure. I admired the hell out of him for building that boat and sailing it down here single-handed. He treated me, my wife, and my friends very well and we had a great day thanks to Bob.
    We are all saddened to hear of his passing. RIP

  7. Steve Swann 2 years ago

    We just arrived back in La Paz sailing from a 10 year hiatus. I specifically asked at the Club and learned of Bob’s passing. He was doing what he loved until the end. And I remember how proud he was of his clever solar ice maker for Cokes all around. Bob represented the cruising dream at its best. Fair winds, my friend

  8. michael kehir 1 year ago

    We met Bob at the “Shack” years ago on the Malecon. We would tell outrageous sea stories while having a frosty on their front deck overlooking’s the yellow barco,
    Bob was a real piece of work. I found out 2 weeks later when I arrived in La Paz from Puerto Escondido on Merilon for TIP renewal..
    RIP Bob

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