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The Rock-itt : September 2009
Master of Errol Flynn's Yacht Zaca A Review by Karl Holmber It has indeed been a GREAT couple of years or so for the release of books on Flynn. Two EXCELLENT books in particular have come out more recently, which are RARE glimpses into, literally, the "interiors" of Flynn's two most beloved possessions: the Mulholland Drive home (Errol Flynn Slept Here by Robert Matzen and Mike Mazzone) and his equally beloved boat (Master of Errol Flynn's Yacht Zaca Captain Patrick C. Cother by Bonny Cother). As Bonny's book has been less spoken about I will say a few words here. First of all, it is interesting to note, there have been only two other books that I know of ever published about the Zaca and its doings and that was back in 1933 and 1938: Cruise of the Zaca by Templeton Crocker, and Zaca Venture by William Bebe, respectively. And now we finally (and happily) now have a third. So with that said, we pick up with some more of that story ... and join Bonny as she opens up a chest of her late father's most precious items- in particular, the photographic as well as paper records of her father's 18 month tenure as Captain of the Zaca (1956-7). As is CLEARLY evidenced, Captain Cother was a PROFESSIONAL ship's master, and he brought with him the full breadth of his lifetime of experience. I speculate that he may well have been Zaca's FINEST captain. We look at the day to day experience, through the ship's log, letters to various suppliers, his own personal memoirs, and ESPECIALLY his letters to (and from) the owner: Errol Flynn. Flynn, at the time, was engaged in chartering (rental) of the Zaca, and in fact, Captain Cother's first assignment was just that, and his clients: the Queen of the silents, Mary Pickford, and her husband Buddy Rogers and their family. Captain Cother's conscientiousness to ALL details is mind boggling- from the proper maintenance of sails right way down to the literally, the "nuts and bolts" that held it all together. It even went to below decks and his problems with hot water, refrigeration, carpentry, and the motors. As Captain Cother was responsible for EVERYTHING, you begin to appreciate the "behind the scenes" of keeping the boat afloat, the challenges of sailing, and the interpersonal relations of crew, suppliers, repair people, charter clients, and finally, the owners (Flynn and Patrice Wymore) as well. This book is the full and complete record (or as near as we could come) to just what life aboard Zaca was ALL about in the time period late in the life of Flynn. To give something more of an idea of what Captain Cother "signed on for"- Flynn had first overhauled the interior when he bought Zaca, but apparently little had been tended to above decks ever since. And there was MUCH in need of repair. He advised Flynn as such, and convinced him that it had to be done. And one has got to realize money was in short supply for Flynn at this time, and while at first somewhat skeptical, Flynn clearly came to TRUST him. I dare say Flynn RECOGNIZED what he had in such a man as Captain Cother. Beyond the practical matters discussed, there are the various "other" stories that are reflected in the both the correspondence and the photographs contained in the book. In short, it is the other side of the story, beyond the viewing of a beautiful photograph or footage of Zaca sailing that is told here. And Bonny has lovingly put this book together, as best she could (given a certain amount of deterioration of the original records, etc), and supplementing these documents with her own transcriptions (of the same) and her commentary, so you do follow all that is going on, even if you can't always "make something out" on the original document. WHAT AN EFFORT THIS MUST HAVE TAKEN TO PUT IT TOGETHER- especially given that she WASN'T there to witness the various events spoken of first hand. She had to make sense of it all, and THEN communicate that to the reader. No small feat! And if all that weren't already enough, she had to choose a book cover that might even remotely begin to reflect its contents. What to do about that? For me, all I can say is ... just looking at the book cover (both sides) transported me almost immediately out to sea- which is what Zaca was ALL ABOUT. Karl Holmberg. For MORE information on the fascinating life of Patrick Cother, go to: http://www.royalnavyresearcharc hive.org.uk/People_Cother.htm And, for the ordering particulars: Any person ordering a book, must email Bonny at email@example.com, with their snail mailing address, and current email address. Paypal willl contact them, and send the transaction amount, which will include postage and packaging: $34.00 USD, USA - $44.00, USD - UK and Australia.... Paypal will convert the amount due to their currency . If they do not have paypal, they will be offered the opportunity to join. (Paypal Account is optional!) If a USA buyer would prefer to obtain a Post Office money order for the $34.00, make it out to Veronica Cother Bentley. Send to P. O. Box 7621 Winter Haven, Florida 33883- 7621 Notify Bonny via email your preference of payment. Once payment has been received it will take 6-10 days for the book to arrive depending on where in the world it is shipped to.