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USS Zaca (IX-73)

Errol Flynn's Zaca.jpg
United States
Name: Zaca
Builder: Nunes Brothers
Launched: 1930
Acquired: 12 June 1942
In service: 19 June 1942
Out of service: 6 October 1944
Struck: 13 November 1944
Fate: Sold
General characteristics
Displacement: 122 tons
Length: 118 ft (36 m)
Beam: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
Draft: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Speed: 9 knots
Complement: 10

The second USS Zaca is a wooden-hulled, schooner-rigged yacht with an auxiliary engine. She was commissioned by the self proclaimed explorer, Charles Templeton Crocker, to designer Garland Rotch, and built by Nunes Brothers Boat and Ways Co. as a vessel for sailing around the world with all the modern conveniences of the time. Completed in 1930 at Sausalito, California, Crocker wasted no time in making full use of his new boat, spending the 1930's sailing the Zaca around the world on various expeditions, primarily in the name of scientific discovery and on behalf of the California Academy of Sciences, where many of his records sit now. From the Palmyra Atoll to the Galapagos, Crocker collected and documented plant and animal life with a small crew of scientists and artists, including noted photographer and Japanese artist, Toshio Asaeda.[1][2]

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 plane-guard 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, California 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 "swashbuckling" roles in numerous movies. Zaca is featured prominently in the 1947 Orson Welles film The Lady from Shanghai. A documentary short film "Cruise Of The Zaca" which features Errol Flynn aboard his vessel was made in 1952 and has been shown on the Turner Classic Movies TV channel. Flynn owned the yacht until his death in 1959.

As of 2008, Zaca is privately owned and berthed in Monaco. The owner is Roberto Memmo. The skipper is Bruno Dal Piaz. A crew of four regularly sail Zaca to ports such as Punta Ala, Gaeta, Capri, Cagliari, and throughout the Aegean Sea. The Zaca is frequently seen at prestigious sailing races in the Mediterranean. Her winter port is in Port de Fontvielle, Monaco. In 2009, the Sailing Channel (now the Nautical Channel) dedicated a program to the entire history of the Zaca from original construction to the present entitled "In the Wake of the Zaca".


According to Richard Winer, the Zaca is supposed to be haunted. Witnesses have reported seeing the visage of Errol Flynn's frustrated ghost pacing on board. Others have described the sounds of voices and laughter as if a wild party was happening on board.[3]


  1. ^ "1932 Templeton Crocker Expedition of the California Academy of Sciences to Mexico and the Galapagos". California Academy of Sciences.
  2. ^ "Excerpt from The Templeton Crocker Expedition to Western Polynesian and Melanesian Islands". Palmyra Atoll Digital Archive.
  3. ^ Richard Winer and Nancy Osborn-Ishmael, (1980), More Haunted Houses, Bantam Books, pp. 69-72

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links