Tatoosh: Peter Fonda’s Legacy Yacht Sets Sail in San Diego

The bronze plaque at the entrance of Hotel Del Coronado states, "…the hotel is one of America's largest wooden buildings.” Today, across from the hotel at Glorietta Bay Marina, the last great wooden ship is moored. Her name is Tatoosh.

While Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon filmed "Some like it Hot" (1959) at the Hotel Del, architects in Seattle drew plans for Tatoosh, an 80' ketch with architecture and beauty like no other.

The Wild Beauty of the 60’s

The 60’s was a creative era. President John F Kennedy visited Seattle for the World's Fair (1962). John Steinbeck published Travels With Charley (1962). "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" (1961) was a hit sung by The Shirelles. And in April of 1961, Tatoosh’s 93’ tall spruce mast was stepped and her storied life began.

She is a piece of Americana, right down to the smells.

Tatoosh’s Story

Tatoosh is an 80-foot ketch with a rich history of sailing across the West Coast, from British Colombia to Hawaii, and as far south as Tahiti with previous owner, American actor Peter Fonda.

She was built in 1961 by Cranston ‘Boo’ Paschall, the chairman of the board at Boeing Aircraft, alongside respected naval architect Ben Seaborn with Sparkman & Stephens.

No expense was spared when Tatoosh was built. The magnitude of the purchases and the variety of geographic areas from which the wood was sourced is a story in itself. She melds the top technology of the time with all-natural wood.

Her Interior

Tatoosh features custom machine fittings, in addition to a B29 bomber hoist from World War II, to house the bronze centerboard. She has aircraft windows to withstand any sea and a continuous cast frame of Everdure/Monel/Bronze to which the wood hull and masts are bolted.

According to Greg V. Cole, a Systems Engineer with over twenty years of experience with US Navy ship systems, “Tatoosh is more seaworthy, ready for an around-the-world cruise or TransPaac 2019 than any new construction of similar size coming off the ways anywhere in the world today.”

Tatoosh’s spacious galley has 2 sinks, 3 refrigerators, 2 freezers, washer and dryer, counter top with wet bar divider, and a gimballed teak dining table that can easily seat 12.

She is equipped with a 7.5 KW Yanmar generator and is powered by a Caterpillar D333 diesel engine, a 300-gallon holding tank for wash water and 2 holding tanks for gray water (sinks), making her environmentally compliant.

She also has 4 private state rooms with double berths, two showers, and a private owner’s suite, all equipped with custom mattresses. All rooms are outfitted with new blue and white upholstery throughout and surrounded by completely varnished, natural teak.

To see all photos, click here.

Tatoosh’s Rich History

Tatoosh sailed the world with Peter Fonda for fifteen years. His memoir, Don’t Tell Dad, released in 1998, reads as an affectionate and beautiful log of his ‘100,000 mile’ journey of sailing her across the seas with his family and friends.

Jim Jacobson is the current owner as of summer 2018. His appreciation for the beauty and history of boats began in his youth, growing up on the beaches of Puget Sound in Seattle. He has fond memories of serving as first mate aboard John Wayne’s 136’ wooden yacht, Wild Goose, during his pre-college years, 1975-1977.

For Jacbson, Tatoosh represents what he dubs ‘a technicolor life’—witnessing her art, beauty, and history each day on the water. Onboard Tatoosh one feels rooted—an important, and perhaps least recognized need of the human soul.

For more information about Tatoosh or to book her for a local San Diego events or tours, click here.

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