Baby Zaca

03 Jun

cheerio 2

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

here is flynnfinite more info on one of Errol s lesser known yachts. A topic that has been targeted terrificly by Tugboat Tim here:…

Cheerio II, the 46-foot yawl owned by 1992 Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club’s Members of the Year Juanita and Dick McNish has been designated as the State of California’s 66th historic vessel and landmark. The distinction is only bestowed upon those boats that were built before 1940, are of wooden construction and demonstrate significant historical connections with state history.

The functionally elegant classic sailboat was once owned by silver screen idol, swashbuckler and rogue, Errol Flynn. The McNish’s bought the boat in 1980. Patriarch McNish is also affectionately known as the Admiral of the “McNish Navy” due to the family’s commendable devotion to the restoration and maintenance of traditional sailing vessels.

In 1988, Cheerio II was treated to a complete restoration. The effort helped to capture the Corinthian Classic Yacht Race’s “Bristol Boat Award” in 1989. More kudos followed with a “Best Restored Sailboat” honor at the Victoria Wooden Boat Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It should be noted this last award came while Cheerio II was in the midst of a 120-day cruise of Desolation Sound, the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Any old salt knows a boat at sea is anything but bristol.

More than 60 years old, the vessel is a yar example of maritime heritage. Designed by Edson B. Shock, Cheerio II was built in 1931 by Fellows & Stewart in San Pedro, California.

The vessel is renown among the wooden boat crowd and is one of the oldest sailboats in the Channel Islands Harbor. Unlike yachts bought for status, Cheerio II is meant for slicing through the sea with great agility.

For 15 years Dick and Juanita did a crack job of organizing the annual Classic Corinthian Yacht Race, an event that brings together sailors and landlubbers alike from all over the west coast. Through their company, Strathmore Homes, the McNishes donated the Strathmore Cup, a silver bowl given to the winner. For years, McNish has tried to win the cup back. He came close at the 1991 event when Cheerio II was first to finish. However, since McNish had given such generous handicaps, Cheerio II ended up third.

Cheerio’s restoration included replacement of its decks, deck beams, cockpit and transom, replanking the aft one-third and selected forward planking. New water and fuel tanks were installed along with a pressurized water system with “on-demand” hot water in hopes that Juanita, would come aboard more often. New countertops, cabin sole and engine stringers also appeared. McNish dismisses the monetary aspect of the restoration, thinking of the effort in terms of preservation duty.

Sail No:7465
Rig: Yawl
Material: LOA: 46′
Displacement: Builder: Fellows & Stewart

A model of some kind had been auctioned of some time back: Sea for yourselves:…

Furthermore Errol used a vintage style wooden handle flare gun whenever on a voyage with the Cheerio II as remembered by Life Magazine photographer Alan Grant, since he ended up with it as a gift from our Hollywood hero.


— shangheinz


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  1. timerider

    June 4, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    A sea worthy craft! Just my size, close to 50 ft. I would live on it! LOL! The photo by Tim is very impressive and the Genowow is out there in full sail on this racing craft! Beautiful!

  2. Sergio

    June 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Her ShangHound, could this be really real? I am not saying that this couldn’t be, because as we all know we are still finding skeletons in EF’s closet(s)…
    Yet I have never heard of any such ownership of any Cheerio II of which he Himself has never made claim and/or in any mentions.
    In his MWWW for instance he mentions; “instead of killing myself, I bought a new boat”… he continues further.. “without a boat I felt like a bachelor”. I got a craving for another. I said to myself, If I get another it will be smaller than the Sirocco. But then I came across a picture in some yachting magazine showing a dream boat called the Zaca”…..and so forth.
    In so it seems by his telling that he went from the Sirocco straight to the Zaca…
    Just saying…

    • Gentleman Tim

      June 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      It’s twue, it’s twue, Serge. Before he bought the Sirocco, this was Errol’s. Master and Commander Flynn Scholar Karl Holmberg provided me proof positive. It makes sense, too, of course, that Flynn would have had a boat in LA prior to his purchase of the Sirocco in ’38.

  3. Gentleman Tim

    June 5, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    ahoy and cheerio, midshipmanheinz. As always, marvelous work. Sounds like you interviewed Dick & Juanita live, dockside in SoCal. Superb history of Errol’s pre-Siroccon 46-footer. And so great of the McNish’s to do such a premier restoration.

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