Errol Flynn, the playboy with one great love. Sailing

There is a nice blog maintained by our reader Luisa Fezzardini that covers many topics in an interesting way (you can find it HERE): the section we are interested in, “Sailing & Sea,” contains a series of articles entitled “The Sailor You Don’t Expect.” Luisa tells the stories of movie stars, politicians and celebrities who have been “unsuspected” sailors. Like the great actor Errol Flynn. Happy reading!

THE SAILOR YOU DON’T EXPECT – ERROL FLYNN

errol flynnErrol Leslie Thomson Flynn (1909-1959) was an Australian film actor who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1942. He became known primarily for his roles as a romantic and adventurous hero, and for his personal lifestyle as a die-hard playboy. On screen his characters engaged in spectacular swashbuckling duels, conquered damsels, and defeated villains, always with a reckless and cheerful style that made Errol Flynn very popular especially among female audiences.

As a perfect Australian (indeed, Tasmanian) Flynn always loved the sea, and was the owner of more than one boat. It was in 1945 that Flynn purchased what would become his dream boat, the schooner Zaca. Launched on the eve of the Great Depression, the 118-foot schooner has sailed through seventy years of history going from one extraordinary adventure to another. Today, anchored in Monaco, Zaca remains a fascinating topic in nautical circles around the world.

Flynn completely renovated the yacht. In 1946, in the company of his crew, his marine biologist father Carl Hubbs, an assortment of actors, relatives, and a film crew, he sailed to Acapulco on a ‘scientific expedition’ that turned into a fiasco, but where everyone probably had enough fun.

After everyone abandoned ship in Acapulco, Flynn hired a Mexican crew and rented Zaca to Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth for the filming of “The Lady from Shanghai,” a film where he appears briefly precisely as skipper of his boat.

During the filming of “The Lady from Shanghai,” on Oct. 17, 1946, Flynn with second wife Norah Eddington and Orson Welles celebrated aboard the Zaca the 28th birthday of Rita Hayworth, then wife of the great director.

In 1947, Zaca reappeared in Port Antonio, Jamaica, which Flynn would call his home. Sailing the Mediterranean in 1950 with a Jamaican crew, Zaca later ended up at the Palma de Mallorca Sailing Club, where he and third wife Patrice Wymore lived aboard.

After Flynn’s death in 1959, Zaca remained in the Nautical Club’s berth in Mallorca. Eventually the boat was stripped of everything of value and, in 1965, abandoned at Bernard Voisin’s boatyard in Villefranche, where it was transformed into a ghost boat. Locals claimed there were emanations of Errol Flynn coming from the ship and the sound of wild parties every night….

After two years of total reconstruction in Toulon, the Zaca made her grand reappearance in 1993 at Regatta, a classic competition in Monaco, where she was voted one of the most beautiful boats in the world. Owner Roberto Memmo has once again made Zaca a major player in hosting world leaders, writers, film stars and documentary filmmakers.

During the summer, Zaca can be seen in person participating in the most important regattas in the Mediterranean. In winter it can be seen in Port de Fontvieille, Monte Carlo.

Luisa Fezzardini

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