The Yacht Paullu 1977 to 1983

Yacht Curlew

The Paullu as the Curlew pre 1940

 

The Paullu was built in England in 1927, as the Curlew for the Molson’s of Montreal. It was traded to the US navy in 1942. it served at the sonar school in La Jolla Ca. for the duration, as the USS leader Pyc 42. In 1949 after the war it was purchased at a surplus sale by Kenneth E. Wilson the Chris Craft dealer in Longbeach Ca. the chain of owners includes Jack Hyde, Assel Offe. It has hosted many celebrities. it was once charted, in 1959, by Mike Todd for the express purpose of stealing Elizabeth Taylor from Kevin Mclory.
It was purchased by Warren St Thomas, a somewhat successful movie producer, in Acapulco in the early 60’s That’s when Sausalito became its home port.

hyding1978

The Paullu as the Hyding Sausalito 1978, Note the boarding ladder is a rope hanging off a davit

 

Along the way to Sausalito it had acquired the name Hyding (when it was owned by Jack Hyde). Warren St Thomas ran into some difficulties with the IRS and somehow the boat transferred hands to Jack Ford. Warren in his later years was an artist and you can still see his murals at the Bay Model visitors center, In Sausalito Jack met with some success making charter trips to Alaska, but on is last trip in 1968 they lost both engines off cape Mendocino, and had to be towed back to Sausalito by the Coast Guard. So the boat sat for several years.

hyding1978a

After Jack Fords rein the boat passed into the hands of John Mullen, A raconteur from Watsonville, Ca. who knew more about movie theaters and race horses than yachts. His son’s moved aboard in the mid 70’s and they all worked at the Chevron station on Johnson Street, I became good friends with a son Greg, and another crew member Bob Carson. When Greg showed up, the three of us started working on the main engines and spent countless hours scraping and painting the old girl. Our motto was putty and paint will make her what she ain’t. This is when we hit a major problem. One day while scraping the bilge, water, that was supposed to be outside, started shooting inside. Well a quick dive and some under water epoxy fixed it temporally. But we knew or thought the old girl was done. One day soon after that event I arrived at the dock to find the boat was gone.  My first thought was she had sunk. But logic told me the water at Sausalito Yacht harbor was too shallow, for her to be swallowed up lock stock and barrel. Besides some idiot had chopped the power cable instead of unplugging it. Turned out the boat had been towed to Pacific Drydock for a survey. A new owner was on the way.

Greg, with the hard hat and I. At the Fulton Shipyard 1979, onboard the Paullu

Greg, with the hard hat and I. At the Fulton Shipyard 1979, on-board the Paullu

Paul Whittier and his wife Lucy bought the Paullu in 1979. meeting them for the first time. I was on board one day when this older couple is walking down the dock, The Gentleman was wearing a bow tie. I helped them on board. made them comfortable on the back deck. Paul introduced himself and his wife. and then he explained the plans for his new boat. Nothing less than a total refit. He wanted Greg and I to stay on as crew, and yes now we were to be paid, previously we had been volunteering. The next week a new skipper showed up, Ken Reynard, former curator of the San Deago maritime museum. He was a crusty old salt, lots of sea stories, and tales of the restoration of the sailing ship Star of India.

Ken Reynard and me 1978. towing the Paullu to the Fulton Shipyard.

Ken Reynard and me 1978. towing the Paullu to the Fulton Shipyard.

We towed the Paullu to the Fulton Shipyard for a full overhaul during the summer of 1979. The two Cooper Bessemer direct revrsing main engines were removed and replaced with Caterpillar 343 turbocharged engines. The fuel tanks were removed and replace, and the paper thin hull was replated.

The Paullu in drydock at the Fulton Shipyard 1979

The Paullu in drydock at the Fulton Shipyard 1979

In the fall of ’79. I was promoted to chief engineer and the Paullu was ready to sail to Goudge island, British Columbia , Paul Whittiers  private island. A pretty uneventful trip except for the mandatory Pacific storm. 70 MPH winds and 30 foot seas, but just like a destroyer the Paullu went through 2 waves and over one, a cycle repeated for the 2 day storm.

The Paullu arriving at Goudge island.

The Paullu arriving at Goudge island.

Once at Goudge island we proceed to completely overhaul the boat. Ken Renard described it as jacking up the whistle and sliding a new boat in underneath.

Work progresses on the Paullu overhaul

Work progresses on the Paullu overhaul

Me and my machinist mentor Jack Alexander he was 92 in this photo. I want to be like him when I'm that age

Me and my machinist mentor Jack Alexander he was 92 in this photo. I want to be like him when I’m that age, not sure who that is trying to hold up the cylinder head.

The Goudge island boat shed

The Goudge island boat shed

Our compressor. We would wrap ,a rope around the that wheel rim, and attache one end to my jeep pop the clutch and drive like hell to get it started.

Our compressor. We would wrap ,a rope around the that wheel rim, and attache one end to my jeep pop the clutch and drive like hell to get it started.

The house I shared with Greg, on the island.

The house I shared with Greg, on the island.