A local, turn-of-the-century vessel is on the hard at the Army Corps of Engineers ramp in Sausalito and is likely beyond salvation, despite a long campaign from her owner to save her, as well as an outpouring of concern from the Latitude community.
Pronto II was “built by legendary Bay Area yacht builder Lester Stone as his personal yacht in 1914, and is one of only two surviving yachts in the Bay from the era; she is now the only N-Class yacht left in existence,” wrote owner Alden Bevington on a GoFundMe page from November 2018 looking to raise funds for the sloop’s restoration.
Pronto II sank at anchor in mid-September in Marin waters, according to Curtis Havel, the acting harbormaster for the Richardson Bay Regional Agency, or RBRA. The boat was underwater for almost a month before finally being floated again, and ultimately dragged onto the Army Corps ramp in Sausalito.
Havel said that other agencies — such as the Sausalito Police Department and the Coast Guard — told him that “Pronto II had sunk at least two other times prior to this.” Some of our readers have confirmed that last month was not the first time Pronto II has gone under. Lon Woodrum, who volunteers as a docent on the Matthew Turner, snapped a few photos Wednesday of the boat on the hard. “It sank a year ago,” Lon said, adding that the boat is, not surprisingly, in very poor condition.
“I saw it being towed with only the mast above water just before dusk,” said Garrett Ruhland on our Instagram account. “It was pretty cool and really creepy.”
Spaulding Marine Center said they were approached several times to take on the vessel. “Unfortunately, restoration of a boat of that vintage would cost over half a million dollars, and we just don’t have the resources to take on a project of that scope,” said Spaulding’s Clark Beek.
On his 2018 GoFundMe page, Bevington said, “An irreplaceable piece of maritime history, and one of San Francisco’s finest historical wooden vessels, needs immediate financial and logistical assistance to save her, bring her to safe harbor and berthage, to then begin the funding of a complete restoration.”
On our Facebook page, a few readers expressed interest in trying to help restore Pronto II. “After reading more about her, I’m even more motivated to see her fully restored,” said Thom Maslow. “I have the means and network to bring her back. I’m a member of StFYC and believe a number of folks would be interested. She represents our history and could serve as an inspiration to adults and kids.” We appreciate the spirit, Thom.
Pronto II is not immediately scheduled to be crushed, according to Havel.
We’ll have more history about Pronto in the coming weeks. If you have any information on the vessel, please comment below, or write us here.