The Zaca

Zaca at Nunes Bros Sausalito

Among my father’s nasty habits there’s one particular thing he does that really makes me angry. Whenever Dad gets his hands on anything that belongs to my mother’s side of the family he snags it for himself. Doesn’t matter if it’s antique furniture, books, photos, or whatever. If he doesn’t personally care for an item he’ll ditch it either by giving it away to someone he knows or selling it for practically nothing. He never asks my Aunt if that’s okay with her nor does he offer the stuff to my sister or myself. Thanks to him we’ve lost a large amount of family belongings. Other times he uses family heirlooms like they are bait. Stuff that Mom wanted my sister and I to have when she’s no longer with us are being confiscated by Dad. He’s been making recent claims that Mom has changed her mind about leaving us some specific things. I suspect Dad is either making that shit up or he’s manipulated Mom to it. Makes me crazy just thinking about it.

My Grandfather Hugo had a rather large collection of books many of which date back to the early 1700s. There’s some impressive stuff in his library which Mom inherited and then Dad quickly appropriated. One of the more unusual items was a seven volume photo history of a black sailing ship called The Zaca. Hugo had a close friend named Garland Rotch and for some reason unknown to us Hugo ended up with most of Garland’s personal belongings. This included those seven books, a Zaca crew ring, and dozens of tribal artifacts from the South Pacific like daggers and wooden clubs. Nobody in the family knew anything about Garland or this ship and as the years slipped by it’s mysterious past became more intriguing to Mom. I enjoy history and I like a good mystery so I decided to take The Zaca on as a project and do some research for her.

At the time I had a good friend who was a manager and captain working for the Maritime Museum in San Francisco. After talking with him about the ship and mentioning Garland’s books he invited me to spend some time in the Museum’s research library at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Fort Mason is located right next door to the St. Francis Yacht Club in the city’s Marina district. I knew exactly where it was and drove there after making an appointment with the Museum’s library staff. Once I arrived the librarians were very helpful with locating any information concerning The Zaca. What I learned that day really surprised me.

In the late 1920s one of San Francisco’s wealthiest men desired to have a custom built racing yacht. His name was Templeton Crocker. Mr. Crocker employed Garland Rotch to design and build a schooner worthy of round-the-world sailing and endurance racing. Garland chose the Nunes Bros. shipyard in Sausalito to construct the ship. At a total cost of $200,000 and christened “Zaca” (a Native American word which means “Peace”) the ship was completed and passing it’s first sea trials along the California coast by 1930. Mr. Crocker chose to have The Zaca painted black above the water line which gave his made to order yacht a sleek yet ominous appearance. Garland Rotch was The Zaca’s first captain.

Zaca at Morea

During the summer of 1930 Mr. Crocker made a historic journey with The Zaca. It was the first time a private yacht circumnavigated the globe from the West Coast. The crew included about a dozen professional sailors as well as a photographer and of course, Garland. It was a good thing Mr. Crocker invited Garland along for their year long trip around the world because while they were in the South Pacific Templeton Crocker fired Zaca’s captain. Garland resumed those duties immediately afterward and remained as captain for the rest of their cruise. Upon returning to San Francisco Mr. Crocker published a book about his adventure simply titled, “The Cruise of the Zaca” which was published in 1933. As I turned through that book’s pages in the Maritime Museum’s library a chill went up my spine. All of the photos in “The Cruise of the Zaca” were in Garland’s seven volumes of books at home. I instantly recognized them.

Zaca at Papeete

Templeton Crocker continued to sail The Zaca until World War Two broke out. Because of fear that the Japanese might attack California and due to a lack of available patrol ships the US Navy seized all privately owned ships over 70 feet in length. The Zaca was 118 feet long. Rapidly converted for military use ships like Zaca were outfitted with anti aircraft machine guns and stationed off the California coast to patrol for enemy ships and rescue downed pilots. When the war ended Zaca was in poor shape and auctioned off for a mere $14,350. In most cases the US Navy did not return private ships back to their original owners. Star actor Errol Flynn, known for his roles as a swashbuckling hero later purchased The Zaca (while drunk as usual) and had a complete restoration of the ship completed. By the time of his death in 1959 Zaca was once again in bad shape and left to rot somewhere along the coast of Spain.


~ by factorypeasant on September 8, 2006.

60 Responses to “The Zaca”

  1. Wow, fascinating story. Crocker Banks were subsumed by Wells Fargo in the mid-80s, any relationship?

  2. yeah. Crocker bank was founded by his family.

  3. Hmm… no entry on Templeton Crocker at wikipedia.

  4. there are some california history websites that have some pretty good info on him. also if you search for Zaca you’ll get a few relevant hits. most of them grabbed content i wrote for the first Zaca website. Luther Greene has grabbed a bunch of stuff since then but i haven’t dealt with him much as he seems fixated on $. kinda bunk.

    i have a bunch more info on the ship but this was strictly a condensed version. would have made for too long a post. so waddya wanna knoe?

  5. Hard to say. The un-abridged version?

  6. try charles templeton crocker

  7. Wad- here is a news article John Skoriak and myself contributed to for the San Mateo County times. their reporter asked both John and i for some additional info and photos of the zaca. just dug this up from my filing cabinet. i’m still looking around for some of the first articles i wrote from way back when. if i find ’em i’ll post them here for ya.

    The San Mateo County Times November 6,1998.

    “Reality of Crocker Travels Takes On Legendary Color”
    By June Morrall

    Hillsborough millionaire Templeton Crocker did things ordinary men could only dream about. By the time he reached his mid-40s in the 1930s, the bespectacled Crocker had seen an opera he composed performed on stage at Monte Carlo, amassed a one-of-a-kind collection of California history and supervised construction of his lavish, 37-room Peninsula palace the “Uplands,” modeled after an Italian villa. Everything he undertook, the discerning Crocker did stylishly, without sparing expense.

    To Crocker, most gratifying was the respect he earned sponsoring scientific expeditions to the little researched exotic South Seas aboard his black hulled 118-foot schooner, the famous “Zaca”.

    Templeton Crocker’s private life, however, was not as successful. On social and financial grounds, his marriage to Helene Irwin seemed well matched. He was the grandson of titan Charles Crocker, one of California’s “Big Four,” a man who spearheaded construction of the Central Pacific Railroad; her father’s riches came from a Hawaiian sugar fortune. The wedding ceremony uniting the couple, whose combined wealth approached a staggering $28 million, was witnessed by the city’s elite at the San Francisco home of the bride’s parents in 1911.

    Rumors circulated that Templeton spent too much time on his creative interests, neglecting his marriage, leading to a divorce in 1927. Two years later, film actor Larry Kent, a bond broker and friend Dr. Max Rothschild accompanied the 47-year-old sun-tanned and physically fit Crocker on a fishing cruise to Baja California.

    Perhaps Templeton was at a loss when the American consul instructed his party to cancel its trip “as there was a revolution going on.” Leaving his magnificent yacht, the Zaca, behind at La Paz, the Crocker party headed for San Jose del Cabo, where they turned home aboard the Panama City mail liner “City of San Francisco.”

    As was his style, Crocker totally focused on his fishing trip, paying little notice to the revolution in Mexico. “After we got back to Los Angeles,” said Templeton, “we learned from the newspapers Mazatlan had been captured the day before we arrived there.” He noted that “it was odd picking up a revolution while aboard the Zaca, for Zaca, you know, is an Indian word meaning peace.”

    It is said Templeton Crocker owned three yachts called the Zaca. The last Zaca, accommodating a crew of 10 officers and several passengers, was built at the Nunes Brothers Sausalito shipyard, in consultation with Captain Garland Rotch. Rotch was well known as a “personality of the South Seas,” probably influencing Crocker’s future interest in thoe southern waters.

    The millionaire Templeton Crocker was also a sportsman who intended to enter the Zaca in a summer race from the West Coast to Tahiti. Built at a cost of $200,000 the Zaca was rated as one of the finest crafts in its class. But the race was hardly sufficient challenge, and he considered cruising around the world instead.

    For the technically literate, the Zaca’s power “propulsion plant consisted of two six-cylinder, six-inch bore, 10-inch stroke Hill Diesel engines, each developing 125 horsepower at 800 revolutions per minute. Both engines were connected to a propeller shaft through a reverse gear and a hydraulic clutch fitted with remote control for operation from the deck.”

    Tall ship

    The Zaca had a “considerable spread of canvas,” and her galley and interior furnishings were the finest in pleasure craft equipment.

    A shake-out cruise to Mexico was planned for May 1930, but at the christening of the third Zaca in Sausalito’s Hurricane Gulch, observers had some moments of fear that the expensive yacht was jinxed. The champagne bottle refused to shatter, then the big black hull got stuck in the mud. The day ended when the Zaca was towed out to her mooring. When the yacht was taken around the harbor to set her compasses, the port engine stopped, the cause said to be a “frozen” shaft thrust bearing.

    Crocker was prepared to sail to Mexico with one engine, but the skipper said no and the Zaca was towed for repairs to the Alameda dry dock. Even after mechanics worked tirelessly on the yacht, more problems arose as a “stuffing box” gave way, allowing water to gush in so fast only hand pumps kept the Zaca afloat until safe in the dry dock again.

    Circumnavigates globe

    According to Sausalito yacht broker and free-lance marine photographer John Skoriak, the Zaca’s cruise in the summer of 1930, under the command of Captain George Goldrainer, was historic. It was the “first private yacht to circumnavigate the globe from the West Coast,” notes Skoriak. Newspapers reported Crocker’s arrival at Pago Pago in Samoa. While at Papeete in Tahiti, Templeton reportedly decorated the Zaca in bright, colored lights to celebrate the French Revolution and the fall of the Bastille on July 14. An island chief entertained Crocker and his guests with native dances.

    Collector of batiks

    During this world cruise, Templeton Crocker began to collect batiks and textiles from Java and Bali, known as “the Pearl of the East,” and “the last Paradise.” On the island of Java, batiks were considered a highly perfected art, a laborious process of dying cloth by applying designs in beeswax.

    To Crocker’s delight, most families in Java performed in their homemade theaters, using as actors carved wooden dolls with elaborate gem-studded headdresses and shadow puppets whose silhouettes were cast against a light colored screen. Other artifacts, including tapas, musical instruments and boat models were among the treasures making up the collection later loaned by Templeton Crocker to the M.H. deYoung Memorial Museum.

    Rare finds

    Crocker’s voyages began to take a more serious nature, and one of the early scientific expeditions was to Baja California in 1931. Dr. J.T. Howell, a botanist from the California Academy of Sciences, reported obtaining many rare specimens of plant life on Guadalupe Island, but Crocker the sportsman was ever-present. Templeton hauled in a 300-pound marlin swordfish after a long battle off Cape San Lucas. Reportedly, Crocker brought the “monster” back home on the yacht, frozen in a cake of ice, promising to present the fish to the California Academy of Sciences and Steinhart Aquarium so that the large fish and other “curious trophies” of the expedition could be viewed.

    The Zaca was gaining a reputation as a scientist’s floating laboratory, this time sailing under Captain Garland Rotch, on the first of two expeditions to the Galapagos Islands, off the Ecuadorian coast. Made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands were home to the iguana, frigate birds and elephant seals. Templeton Crocker involved himself in the serious work of the scientific team composed of a highly esteemed botanist, aquatic zoologist, ornithologist and ichthyologist from the California Academy of Sciences and Steinhart Aquarium. Also on board was artist Toshio Asaeda, the Zaca’s official photographer.

    Golden grouper

    During the several months-long expedition, the scientists planned to capture specimens of fish from as deep as 250 fathoms, rare birds, plants, sea shells, termites, beetles, and butterflies. Four temperature-controlled tanks with running sea water were placed on the deck to bring back alive 21 varieties of 154 fish such as the “golden grouper,” a species not seen in aquariums before.

    In May 1932, a radiogram announced that Crocker, Captain Rotch and other members of the Zaca’s scientific expedition climbed a 2,690 foot-high mountain on Indefatigable Island in the Galapagos. It was a feat never before accomplished, and the mountain was named “Mount Crocker” in Templeton’s honor.

    The ‘Crusoes’

    In the natural surroundings of the Galapagos, the scientists encountered Dr. Frederick Ritter and his common-law wife, voluntary castaways living “a Robinson Crusoe existence in a state of almost complete nudity.” Crocker said he and his guests found Dr. Ritter, who had left his native Germany two years earlier, “hard at work rearranging the geography of their garden home by diverting a stream to clear the site for a new house.” Dr. Ritter’s principal difficulty, added Crocker, was to keep the wild pigs and insects out of his cultivated land.

    On the return trip home, the Zaca crew and scientists stopped at Acapulco where they brought aboard an ocelot named “Castina,” which quickly became the ship’s pet. (Castina later bit a guest at the Sausalito harbor, causing great embarrassment for Crocker).
    Easter Island

    Templeton Crocker wrote a book called “The Cruise of the Zaca” and made other scientific expeditions to the South Seas in the 1930s. There was a voyage to Eater Island, off the coast of Chile, a mysterious place that baffled ethnologists and archaeologists unable to identify the origin of the carved stone remains of houses, towers and 60-foot statues.

    In part to study the unusual version of spoken English, the Crocker expedition visited Pitcarin Island, famed as a final refuge of the English ship “Bounty’s” mutineers.

    On the sixth expedition, a leisurely cruise down the California coast to Mexico and central America in the late 1930s, Templeton was accompanied by author Dr. William Beebe from the New York Zoological Society. Known for his under water research in a “bathysphere,” Dr. Beebe intended to collect and observe marine life. A rare find was a tiny sailfish 1 and 1/4 inches long and a slightly larger “rooster fish.”

    Zaca’s bounty

    At Culebra Bay, Costa Rica, the Zaca’s seines drew from a tide pool 6,832 fish from 27 species in a single day. The hauls were so great, more collection bottles, vials and vats were requested. Until World War II, the Zaca was owned by Templeton Crocker, according to Jason Grainger, who became fascinated with the history of the yacht when he inherited Captian Garland Rotch’s seven volumes of photos from the early scientific cruises.
    Commissioned in ’42

    Grainger, a 27-year-old Hewlett Packard employee, says the U.S. Navy acquired the Zaca in 1942, assigning the yacht to the western sea frontier. “The ship was used by the U.S. Navy for patrol and rescue,” explains Grainger, noting that the Zaca’s wooden hull meant she was not easily detected by radar. Two years later, the Zaca was turned over to the War Shipping Administration and auctioned for $14,350 to a San Francisco man.

    Flamboyant actor Errol Flynn purchased the Zaca in 1946. No scientific expeditions this time as the old ship was the centerpiece for a sensational sex scandal involving the controversial Hollywood star with underaged girls. Templeton Crocker passed away at age 64 in 1948, and was spared witnessing the disgrace focused on the Zaca.

    The movies

    The Zaca provided the backdrop for several movies, notably “The Lady From Shanghai” (1948), starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. After Flynn’s death, the old craft was abandoned, left to rot in the South of France where it was purchased by art patron Robert Memmo, who fully repaired and restored it. He now keeps the Zaca in the port of Fontveille at Monte Carlo, where Templeton Crocker’s opera performed decades earlier.

  8. Awesome! Thanks for posting that.

  9. Wad- np. here’s part of an article i wrote for the first zaca website. i noticed today a couple of navy sites snagged this. heh.

    The second Zaca—a wooden-hulled, schooner-rigged yacht with an auxiliary engine—was designed by Garland Rotch and completed in 1930 at Sausalito, Calif., by Nunes Bros. Due to the need for local patrol and rescue craft in the busy waters in the San Francisco area during World War II, the schooner was acquired by the Navy from Templeton Crocker on 12 June 1942. Placed in service on 19 June 1942 and assigned to the Western Sea Frontier, Zaca—classified a miscellaneous auxiliary and designated IX 73—operated as a planeguard ship, standing ready to rescue the crews of any planes downed nearby.

    Eventually relieved by the frigates (PF’s) of Escort Squadron 41, Zaca was placed out of service at Treasure Island, Calif., on 6 October 1944, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 13 November 1944. Turned over to the War Shipping Administration on 21 May 1945, Zaca was acquired in 1946 by Errol Flynn, an actor famed for his “swash buckling” roles in numerous movies. Flynn owned the yacht until his death in 1959.

  10. thanks for the info on the Zaca. It was useful to me as I am researching a copy of the book which I own.

    I am enjoying your blog…I have a used & rare bookshop in Seattle and would be interested if any of those family books you mention ever come up for sale. Feel free to email me any time!


  11. hi john.

    garland rotch’s seven volumes of photos from the 1931 round the world zaca cruise will more than likely stay in the family. if you have obtained a copy of Templeton Crocker’s “Cruise Of The Zaca” many of the private collection photographs are included in it’s pages. i think that if we do ever give up Garland’s books they should probably go to a museum. thanks for the comment and interest though. i hope you enjoy reading the zaca book. it’s a good story.

  12. What a marvellous treat to have found this website after so much time having been spent search for information.

    I would very much like an opportunity to communicte with you one-on-one regarding Zaca.

    She has a marvellous history. My interest is in the Flynn years, but I have started an entire section on yachts because once you get into it you realize that they are their own story.


  13. Sorry, re-read a post and realized that there is some misinformation regarding Errol Flynn and the reported indignities that he subjected poor Zaca too.

    There is reference made to a ‘sensational sex scandal …” regarding the Zaca whilst Flnn was her skipper relating to ‘underage girls’. In reality the Flynn statutory rape trial was well before he owned Zaca. The charges were brought in 1942 when he owned Sirocco. What’s more, based on inaccuracies of the young ladies stories, their descriptions of the yacht, conflicting details and eye-witnesses reports etc, he was acquitted of all charges – basically, it broke his spirit and he was never the same again, delving head long into self distruction after the humiliation of the charges and trial.

    Damning stories about Flynn surfaced after his death when the poor rogue couldn’t defend his name or his reputation. While many who knew him, and others who have conducted years of research on the allegations, people would still rather believe ‘those’ stories than the reality. After all, we live in a world the loves sensationalism and appears to thrive on scandal and titillation.

    If anyone is interested there is a website that is quite interesting and does a fine job of portraying Flynn as a real person –

  14. Andrea,

    thanks for the comments. i admit i have not looked further into that particular rape case involving Errol Flynn and the Zaca so my information regarding it has always come from sources i thought reliable. it probably wouldn’t hurt to double check the facts. however i am not a fan of Errol Flynn or a Flynn apologist. in my opinion he was a fairly rotten guy and a notoriously bad drunk. sure his swashbuckling films are entertaining to watch i’ve just never thought of him as a great guy in real life.

    one of my favorite stories about Errol Flynn comes from members of the St. Francis Yacht club in San Francisco who personally observed Mr. Flynn drunk out of his mind when he came to the Yacht Club to inspect the Zaca. Members of the club that i spoke with told me they observed Flynn staggering down the pier toward the Zaca completely polluted with booze. he proceeded to get further tanked at the Yacht Club’s bar then came back outside where the Zaca was moored and proceeded to fall into the bay. St. Francis club members had to fish him out of the water before he drowned.

    Herb Caen got wind of the incident shortly afterward and wrote a ridiculous column in the newspaper about Flynn going to see the Zaca heroically diving into the bay and swimming the length of the ship to see if the Zaca was worthy of purchase. it was pure bullshit of course like most of Herb Caen’s writing…

    at the time of Flynn’s death the Zaca was a wreck. he neglected the ship for many years. shortly afterward it sank in shallow water off the coast of Spain if i remember correctly. what a waste. the good news though is a man by the name of Roberto Memmo bought the Zaca and had her completely restored and now is kept in Monaco. in the mid-1990s sailing magazine Latitude 38 did a series of articles on the Zaca some of which included the restoration effort. you may be interested in those articles because it goes into the backstory detailing how much damage was done to the ship.

    hope that helps you out. stay cool.

    • factorypeasant!
      You certainly do not need to be an Errol Flynn fan or an apologist as you put it, but you certainly will have to be much more deeply acquainted with the life of Mr. Flynn.
      You write that in your opinion he was a very rotten guy and a notoriously bad drunk. My questions to you – what do you personally know about Mr. Flynn? Did you personally see anything of what you are writing about him? Did you ever meet him? Did you personally know him? If so, than you could say what you are implying in your wondrous reportage. However, if by any chance you are just speaking of hearsay, which at the best times is only misguided human fantasy or a need to feel important, then you should think twice before putting something in writing of which you obviously have no proof of what you are describing.

      Your words can be compared with those few slanderous tabloid writers (the word “author” would be an insult to every legitimate author) who make a living of maligning famous dead people simply due to the fact that they cannot be sued or held responsible for their slanderous creations. You see – “Dead people have no rights!” The law in this case is very faulty it states that only the person themselves is able to proceed with a lawsuit for deformation of name and character. In cases like this, it is very sad that we have not come that far in our evolution to be able to wake up dead people! Yet how convenient for the SNAKES as such to be able to hide behind this very faulty law and the Snakes know this very well and maybe you do too? However, in your case I think it is a lack of knowledge or a folly of youth without investigating the real essence of what sometimes life may have in store for all of us. Throwing stones is such an easy task in particular when one is not on the receiving end. In closing, I would like to quote to you a very famous passage by which Mr. Flynn lived and often recited, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

      By the way one more important issue, I would like to make you aware when one uses inappropriate language, which you seem to have a knack and state so freely in your articles, it boils down to a simple fact – a considerable lack of vocabulary, which is the actual cause of swearing! Dignity – dignity my friend always fairs better – yet honey might do it too!

      • Tina,

        I stand by my comments concerning Mr. Flynn. I think he was a deadbeat, and somewhat of a corny actor. In addition the demise of the Zaca under Errol Flynn’s ownership is pretty well documented. Yes, he restored it after WWII. Yes, he made a copycat effort of Templeton Crocker’s scientific sea cruises. In the aftermath of his ownership the ship was discarded and a wreck. Latitude 38 has some good articles on that you may want to check them out.

        It’s interesting you brought up the whole issue of tabloid writing especially when the subject is someone famous. In Flynn’s case I think he sometimes had an opposite outcome- writers like Herb Caen would bolster Flynn’s swashbuckling image in real life when the guy actually was being a giant sweaty retard in public. Instead of exposing him for the dunce that he was they lied shamelessly to the public and created a flawless image of him- he was Robin Hood in real life! Gullible people usually fall prey to that sort of nonsense easily.

        To be honest I really don’t care about Errol Flynn. The Zaca and it’s early years under the ownership of Tempelton Crocker is what captures my interest.

        Anyway thanks for reading, your opinions, and the compliment on my continued use of swear words. Remember if you find that sort of thing offensive you can always sit down with a nice clean copy of Reader’s Digest instead and catch up on the latest hipster diet fads while droppin’ a deuce in the bowl…

  15. Hi there, I can not argue with the first hand stories you got from the Yacht Club, but I can tell you that the stories of Errol Flynn neglecting his beloved Zaca are not true.

    In fact, Zaca was his home for many years and he put tons of money into keeping her seaworthy and a comfortable home.

    After Flynn’s death Zaca sat for years, caught in the middle of estate battle and yes, deteriorated somewhat from neglect during that time. What’s more, I have heard stories that during this time, Flynn’s wife arranged to have the crew sail Zaca back to Jamaica where she should be cared for and believe it or not, according to sources his lawyers who he owned money to pulled a modern day piracy and absconded with the ship.

    Zaca sat in limbo for much longer than is good and healthy for a ship because of all this, and it is true that the Zaca became a wreck. Patrice Wymore,Flynn’s wife finally got ownership of Zaca and sold her to a fellow by the name of Tinsley who said that he would take care of her. He proceeded to strip her bare of absolutely everything of any value aned abandoned her in the south of France.

    The shipyard owner finally took over Zaca for non-payment where she sat some more until Roberto Memmo bought her, hired the best of the best and resurected her to her former glory.

    Flynn loved that ship. Apparently Flynn’s apparition was seen on the Zaca for decades after his death. Many different people reported seeing Flynn, lights on the ship and could hear wild parties.

    She was finally given an Anglican and Protestant exorcism. If anyone on this blog knows about such things, it is an incredibly difficult thing to arrange and requires a great many first hand, eye witness reports, phsyical proof (whatever that may be) to get the church do participate in such a thing.

    Anyways, you are right. Flynn was an all too human, human being, with many faults as well as virtues. He was certainly a tortured soul.

    Hope you find some interest in this.


    • Hello Andrea;
      Thank you so much for your article and quoting the truth to “factorypeasant”. In my reply to him I did not want to go into the real story about Errol’s beloved ZACA, I thought if he is a real ZACA fan he should find out the true stories about the ZACA including Errol Flynn’s time with the ZACA. The ZACA was his life, his only real love SHE was his soul!
      What is “factorypeasant” name? Why is he hiding his identity?
      Again, thank you very much!

      • Tina,

        Errol Flynn’s only real love was gettin’ it on with underage girls, y0. If he was around today we could probably find his mug shot on the California state sex offender web page.

        It’s common sense to not write online under one’s real name when bashing your employer, and exposing the stupidity of your coworkers daily. I’m sure you have heard of a thing called “lawsuit.” Those are good to avoid if you can. You probably don’t understand the legal implications of exposing your employer when they have been actively breaking federal law with regard to manufacturing government rated orders for military customers, selling commercial customers known defective instruments, etc. If you’d been paying attention around here for a while in old Bill and Dave land you might have caught some of that. So that’s what all the down low secrecy is about.

        A good example of what not to do when blogging about your employer was Ellen Simonetti’s web page. Ever heard of her? She was a Delta Airlines flight attendant “Queen Of The Sky” that decided to drop the dime on her daily work life and they shit-canned her with a vengeance. She wasn’t necessarily whistle blowing or writing about misconduct at her job.

        When I started this project I used Ellen’s blog as an example of what not to do. Things been going pretty swell thanks to her major fuckup. One of these days I’ll have to thank her for taking a hit for the blogging team personally. Also I spoke with an employee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation a few years ago. That person’s advice was to continue flying under the radar, so to speak. It makes things so much more pleasant.

  16. Hi I am trying to contact Jason, who uses to work for HP and had an email called “evilsizer” or something like that. I met you in Sausalito some years ago and saw all your memoraobilia from Garland Roch and your photos etc. I lost your email contact and haven’t been able to locate you. I am still keeping up with Zaca history and still writing a lot of articles for Latitude 38 sailing magazine and others. I hope you csn contact me and we can get together and share some more Zaca stories. John Skoriak

  17. Howdy John. reply email sent earlier… good to hear from you.

  18. Hello John

  19. I’m very late to this party, but my father was the last living member from Crocker’s crew so I grew up with endless tales from his time on the Zaca which started in 1931 and ended in 1939. The Zaca has been restored from the keel up and is now the personal yacht of Italian industrialist Roberto Memmo. Luther Green made a wonderful documentary called In the Wake of the Zaca which was completed in 2005. The film features my dad’s narration for the first third and brought all those years to life for me in a way I never thought possible. There are a lot of good stories in that DVD, but the really good ones are all in my dad’s journals.

  20. Flynn was not drunk the day Zaca purchased. Some interesting posts here.
    Some of you will recall who I am wb

  21. Pareidolius,

    I did not see the Luther Green short film so I am curious which one of the original crew was your dad? I’m indirectly related to Garland Rotch, Zaca’s designer and captain. I have all of Garland’s personal Zaca memorabilia including tons of photos from the 1931 world cruise. All of the crew are featured in those pictures so I would like to know which one he was…

    Thanks for your comment!


    With all due respect, the story concerning Errol Flynn disgracefully falling off the dock when viewing Zaca for purchase was related directly to me by St. Francis Yacht Club members. They were eye witnesses during the incident. I obviously can’t vouch for the authenticity of what they spoke about but due to their candor I felt what they were telling me was the truth. Perhaps you were also present that day and saw something entirely different?

    I hope you are well.


  22. Hello. A good friend of mine was Ray Wallace, who as a young man claimed to have been the first mate or Errol Flynn’s boat. Not sure if the “boat” was the Zaca, as he has a sailing life long before that (Beam’s End), any help would be appreciated.

  23. hello zaca fans my name is tim parks and I own the original launch I have it stored in sacramento ca I restored the vessel many years back when my father was the owner we had the launch at a viewing for greens movie when he was only half finished the showing was for the historical society of sausalito and I had a chance to talk with basil coleman at that time he tolds me that he was the oldest living member of the original crew I would love to talk to any one about the big boat and the little launch I have lots of info also I would like to see the launch bake with the big ship some day I can be reached at

  24. Still here. Waiting for L. Hurst book due Oct. Enjoyed post re
    launch. We had a Higgins17′ that was fun as well as our work boat. wb’46

  25. Hello, I am doing a bit of family research. My great grandfather was Manuel Nunes, owner and builder of the Zaca. Family lore tells me that we was also the designer of the ship. Could it be that he was joint designer with Rotch? I merely want to verify this information and be sure the record is correct. I hope you can help me with this. Regards Kelleen Doyle-Scott

    • Sorry I meant to say owner of Nunes Bros Boat and Ways Co. and builder of the Zaca.

    • Hello Kelleen.

      I am familiar with Nunes Bros. from doing research on The Zaca. Nunes Bros. built the ship no question about it. Templeton Crocker was the owner, Garland Rotch the designer, and Nunes Bros. shipyard the builders. From what I remember Garland got the basis design of the Zaca from another ship hailing from Nova Scotia called the “Blue Nose.” Templeton Crocker credited Garland as the designer of the Zaca and included a section at the end of his 1933 book about it (pages 311-319). I’d recommend you try to pick up a copy of his book “The Cruise of the Zaca” published by Harpers. It’s out of print, but a specialty book store could probably find you a copy if you can’t locate one online. It’s a great read if you are interested in the history of the ship.

      During the construction of the Zaca I’m certain there must have been collaboration between builder and designer. How much of that took place I have no idea.

      There’s a couple of other things you can do to find out a little more concerning your grandfather and Nunes Bros. Contact the St. Francis Yacht club in San Francisco. The last time I was there, a few fellows were still alive and active in the club that remembered the ship yard and the Zaca in particular. You might get some good stories out of those guys if they’re still around.

      The other place you may want to give a call to is the Maritime Museum in the Marina, also in San Francisco. They have a library that may be of some help to you while you’re doing some research. Lastly you may be able to get in touch with John Skoriak who was living in San Rafael and is somewhat of a Zaca historian. I’m not sure if I still have an email contact for him but I’ll do some digging…

      • Thanks for your answer and helpful leads to follow…. I will do just that! However I am suspecting that family lore was a bit off and that while I’d love to think that my great-grandfather designed The Zaca, now I think not…. but built it he did! I remember the Nunes Bros Boatworks from when I was a kid about 1960 ish and it was certainly a mere shadow of what it once was….. too bad. Your blog here was so helpful and great to find and clearly your research was top notch! My Mother has that book, but some how I don’t think she’s read it. I’ll have her send it to me. Thanks again!

  26. Hi,
    I am Giacomo Rogante, I am an Italian designer and I am a student of the master course in Naval & Nautical Design at the University of Genova, in Italy.
    I chose Zaca schooner for my master thesis like main reference for the hull; I aks information on Garland Rotch in particularly if is possible to contact our family or our studio for a request an information about the zaca construction ecc.
    If you have any information about this I’d be very grateful.

    Dr Giacomo Rogante

    • Hello Giacomo, if I may lead you to my Facebook group Page, Nunes Bros Boat and Means Co. I am the great granddaughter of Manuel Nunes who built the Zaca at the Nunes Bros Boatworks in Sausailto, California. I am excited about you choosing the Zaca as your thesis subject. It is known that the keel for the Zaca was laid on the main st. in Sausalito as it was so long. My facebook page may help you in your quest for more information about Garland Rotch. Here it is…..
      you are very welcome to join my group and you may ask questions of the members who include many of my relatives and others interested in the Nunes Bros boatyard and marine history. I also have some pics of the Zaca on there. Regards, Kelleen Doyle-Scott

      • I am very happy to accept your invitation to this group.
        take this opportunity to ask my questions inside

  27. the Zaca being built in Sausalito

  28. I am related to Manuel Nunes by his wife Anne who was my grandmother’s sister. I lived with my grand mother and visited with the Nunes very offen and staied in their home overlooking Hurricane Gulch.

    Regarding the design of the Zaca, I was told that uncle manuel designed based on the Schooner “Bluenose”. It could well be that the design was a joint effort. However, Manuel Ignacio Nunes was well known as a designer of boats including several Gaff Headed Schooners.

    • Hi Neal, I am Anna’s great grand-daughter, my Mother, Joanne is their son, Ernest’s daughter. I would like to invite you to the FB page for the Nunes Bros boatworks if you are not already a member. There are many relatives there. See the link above in Mike Moyle’s post.

    • Anna Nunes was my mother’s sister. This article was absolutely fascinating to me. Our families were close and my dad (Sam Lino) worked at the Nunes yard when the Zaca was being built.

  29. Quiero por favor saber an esta el zaca ahora mutchas gracias

  30. Sausalito and Zaca years were good ones and still remembered –
    including the men who put the ship back together after her time
    with the Navy. Noteworthy Pat Patterson was Bos’n on Navy
    Zaca and was our lead in Newport while getting the ship ready
    for forthcoming cruise. Still on deck — Wallace Berry

  31. this is a message for kellen doyle-scott. you will be happy to know that ZACA is a creation of the Nunes bros. not Garland Rotch no matter what books you read. In the 1980’s i went to villefranche and surveyed the Zaca. After that i went to Sausalito and met Bertha Nunes Basford among others and she confirmed my thoughts on the subject. if one compares the lines drawings of Bluenose and Zaca there is very few details in commmon. i hope this has been of some help to you.

    • Well Jonathan you are certainly entitled to your opinions. I disagree with you on a few of your statements but that’s alright. Glad people at least are still reading the Zaca post.

  32. Thanks for your comments, Jonathon. I invite you to post on the Nunes Facebook page if you don’t mind…… here it is :

  33. Peasant,
    I’m really late to the party, but I grew up with Zaca stories all my life. My father was Basil Coleman, the youngest member of Crocker’s original crew from 1931 to 1941. I’m not sure what you meant by your rather snotty comment about Luther Greene, a good family friend, but I’ll tell you that he did amazing research and included my dad in much of it. I can say that In The Wake of the Zaca left out all the really good stories about those years in the South Pacific due to time and a G rating.

    • Hi Kernan. Thanks for the comment. I spent some time this morning going over all of the volumes of photos from the 1931 Zaca cruise looking for a picture of Basil for you. My hope was I could find one and scan it in to post. Unfortunately I did not find one with his name on it. That doesn’t mean he isn’t there in the photo collection somewhere. I just don’t know what he looked like.

      As far as Luther Greene is concerned I had one personal interaction with him while he was still working on his film project that was negative. It was a long time ago but what I remember was, Luther was totally condescending, colossally rude, and I got the impression he was only working on the film to call attention to himself and make a personal profit. Had he been less of a punk I would have been more than happy to help him in any way I could. As a result I never spoke with him again. It was his loss entirely. So, I hope I am very clear here that is exactly what I meant by my previous comment.

      Anyway enough of that. If there is anything I can do to help you concerning Basil, let me know. I don’t check in here often anymore due to other activities but I’ll try to respond when I can. Take care.

    • My mother, (daughter of Ernest Nunes, son of Manual Nunes, bulider of the Zaca) tells me that her uncle Garth Basford was also on the Southseas voyage/s. If you have any pics you’ld like to share I’d love to compare. I do have quite a few of the old photos from these voyages. I’ve scanned the pages from the original photo album. I have many of the crew members but no one is identified. I’d post some of them here but can’t see how to do it. You can email me too.

      • I just added the scanned images in an album on my Facebook group, Nunes Bros Boat and Ways Co. Here’s the link

      • Thanks and also to you a good 2017.
        Kelleen very much appreciate your Nunes photo series
        My time aboard is a treasured memory now Wallace

      • Kelleen,

        I just dropped by your scanned images at the Facebook link. Thanks for that. It looks like there is some overlap in what you and I both have as well as some very different shots which is nice. In the 7 volumes of photos I have Garth is in the 1st volume a few times. The pictures are large, 6in x 9in.

        Probably close to 20 years ago I was working with a freelance graphic designer after hours at a college newsroom creating a Zaca repository of all those photos in high resolution. Unfortunately the designer pal of mine was a bit of a flake and the web site we chose to host the pictures is long gone. That was the early days of Al Gore’s internets and the flat bed scanner we had was slow as hell. It’s always been in the back of my mind to get back to that project but do it even better next time around and make the whole thing public domain so anyone can access and use those photos for whatever they wish to do- as long as it does not involve personal profit or other shenanigans.

        I will give that project some more consideration. In the meantime I’ll do a little digging via the Internet Archive and see if I can stumble across the original web site we set up. I doubt I can find it, but what the hell might as well try…

        Update- I posted some pictures of Garth on board the Zaca to the main page here. Enjoy. The scanner I currently have isn’t that great, sorry. I did not find the old Zaca website in the Internet Archive as I expected. Dammit.

      • I thank you factorypeasant for your help and for trying. The other album that my mother had, she donated to the Sausalito Historical Society. There were many duplicates but perhaps you can find some unique ones there. I don’t know if they are posted online or not, I haven’t checked. Thanks again.

    • Hi Kernan, I’d love to communicate with you about your father’s stories. I am doing some writing about the Zaca.

  34. After a long absence – still on deck
    My interest is the period from 1941 to 1945
    Pat Paterson was (I think) a Bos’n aboard during her
    Navy time and was my source that led to the EF call
    later in ’45 Would like more USN crew info

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: