Tairona Rebuild 1996 – 2006

Copyright © 2006 Scott Elkington & Linda Munoz

Scott and I met a little over 10 years ago and one of the first questions he asked was, “Could you ever live on a boat?” Being a little rusty on the dating scene (we’d both been married and had 2 children a piece) I knew enough to not say “what are you crazy…of course, I’d never live on a boat…they’re so small, so cramped and don’t they smell?” Instead, I responded, like any girl/woman trying to get asked out on a second date, “Yeah, sure, why not?” This was said, of course, with no idea, whatsoever, of what living on a boat even meant. But this guy was telling me that he had lived on a boat and he looked relatively normal (actually I thought he looked like Cliff Robertson…you know the actor that played JFK in PT-109) and I figured if he could do it why couldn’t I. I’m also a bit of an adventurer and willing to try pretty much anything, at least once.

One date turned into many and we were living together within 6 weeks, after which we started hunting for the one, right boat that we could live on together, along with my 2 children. Our search took us all over the Bay Area, down to San Diego, up to Seattle and Vancouver and then one day a friend of Scott’s mentioned that the government was selling a tug at auction and that it was located in nearby Benicia, where the Navy’s “mothball” fleet is located. We went and took a look. This is after also seeing other ‘discarded’ tugs the government was trying to sell off which were in less than ideal shape. Some were so broken up, dirty or in such disrepair that Scott and I would look at each other and I would, in my heart, hope that he would think it was as awful as I thought. Remember, I had told him I could do this. Now the reality of what I had promised was starting to sink in. The boat in Benicia, however, had been actively used by the Navy to move other boats around so they had kept it up. In fact they had only recently overhauled the entire engine, spending some $100,000 of our taxpayer dollars to only decide that they wanted a newer boat that San Diego’s fleet was getting rid of.

Both Scott and I knew immediately that this boat was in better shape and had more potential than any others we had seen. The auction was conducted by the GSA and the bids were sealed. All bidders showed up at the GSA office in San Francisco on the designated date and waited while the director opened all the bids…in front of us. It was a little like finding out whether you had won the lottery, only it had the added tension of everyone watching everyone else as the bids were read one by one. Ours was the second to last bid and when the last one was read we realized that we had the winning bid. We were ecstatic. Of course the real work to be done was really unknown, but we were thrilled to have finally come to the end of our search.

Our first job was moving the boat from Benicia to somewhere closer to home, in our case, Sausalito, CA.


The original Army issue galley

The original Army issue galley, complete with parts from the disassembled main engine

The new refrigerator

The new refrigerator



The Galley after the rebuild


The aft salon

The aft salon

The Engine room


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