“Blown Off Course”

10 Sep

Legend has it Errol was “blown off course” by a hurricane in 1946, causing him to dock The Zaca in Jamaica, leading him to discover and soon move to Port Antonio. If this is true, which hurricane was it? Officially, per the charts below, there were seven Atlantic Ocean hurricanes in ’46. By my calculations, it appears No. 7 would have been most likely. Earlier that year, during all the other official hurricanes that could have forced Errol into Jamaica (except possibly “extratropical” No. 6), it appears to me that Zaca was exclusively in the Pacific – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexican islands & waters (filming Cruise of The Zaca), Acapulco (filming Lady from Shanghai), et al. Anyone out there know for sure? If any of this is not accurate, please let us all know!

Here’s a Jamaican-written history:

“1946: Actor Errol Flynn’s schooner Zaca docks in Kingston for repairs, Flynn discovers Port Antonio and then sails there, beginning his lifelong love affair with the area and reviving Porty as a secluded destination for the rich and famous.

Christopher Columbus arrived in Jamaica in 1494 and claimed it for Spain. He liked the island so much he returned four times. In 1655 the British took control, turning it into a colony. It was Errol Flynn, however, who really turned the international spotlight toward Port Antonio. The swashbuckling actor was a social swashbuckler in real life, and to this day the people of Porty love to tell tales about Flynn – many of them taller than the Blue Mountains.

No doubt, the hard-living, high-sporting Flynn enjoyed women, drinking, gambling, sailing, fishing and being a prankster. He was dead serious, however, about his love of Port Antonio and its prospects. Flynn’s very presence in Port Antonio in the 1950s helped attract celebrities and international attention.”

— Tim


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  1. twinarchers

    September 10, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    What a fantastic and timely post. Thanks sport!

  2. Ada Klock

    September 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Your assumption that the Zaca was in Pacific waters up to and including December is correct. Flynn and company sailed through the Panama Canal on December 9th of ’46. This would rule out the seven tropical storms, etc. up through November as you have displayed. After the ship made a couple of coastal stops, up past mid-month, the yacht headed for it’s original destination of Bermuda. Unfortunately, the boat ran into rough weather around Dec. 19th/20th, not necessarily demanding a tropical rating, but winds up to 39mph, plus stronger gusts, can do a lot of damage…including the loss of two sails. They then headed for Port-au-Prince, Haiti to put in for repairs, but ended up in Jamaica on January 1, 1947.

    zaca chartroom

    • Gentleman Tim

      September 18, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Superb research and info, Topper! Thank you so much!

      Here’s Captain Flynn down below with Carl Hubbs(?) during the Pacific portion of that Zacaventure of ’46(?) Or is another time and person with Flynn?


      • Ada Klock

        September 18, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        Just a note. The previous photo and your response photo were for a publicity shoot, prmarily just Flynn, in early-July of 1946. I believe that the back of the man, wearing a beanie (seaman’s cap), may be the photographer Morgan. Carl Hubbs was not present then, but was there for the big media publicity shoot on August 8th.

        Glad to help!