Have been out of commission since breaking an ankle on Aug. 7, have had surgery; then in a skilled nursing facility for a couple of weeks. Am non-weight bearing for a couple of more weeks.
So, I've not been able to communicate with those of you still following our plight on this site.
First of all we want to thank you, our many friends who have been so giving in so many ways. We have come to the point where, financial restraints and our age, we must give up the hope we had to save her and sail her again. It has taken most of our savings to go as far as we have.
We hope we can find someone with a love for boats and the ability to restore her, to take her and give her a good home. For Hayden, who has spent over 40 years designing, building her and sharing her this is a heart breaking time. He has taken many people out in the San Francisco Bay over the years. So the time has come for us to say goodbye. Our greatest desire at this time is to sell her - best offer - along with the many thousands of dollars of boat parts (including 13 sails) that have been taken off, washed and safely stored by Hayden.
We hope someone out there will want this beautiful 70' Schooner Aldebaran.
Thank you again, to the boating community, and for the many others for your kindness and financial help.
Hayden and Fern
We may have some good news! A couple of groups are interested in towing her to a boat repair yard, hauling her out and restoring her.
Wouldn't that be wonderful?
Hayden and I are still busy cleaning the things that have been brought off the boat as much is salvageable. Surprising how much is salvageable after all the mud is hosed off!
So the Schooner Aldebaran will sail again if some group or person comes forward with the resources to make it happen.
To all of our Go Fund Me and Facebook friends: Our Schooner Aldebaran is sitting in a mud pocket in back of Brooks Island, held by two buoyed anchors, fore and aft, and we are prepaed to sign the pink over to anyone who will take responsibility for her restoration. She is floating.
The boat can be pumped out in two hours using two of the three pumps and maintained afloat with just one pump and can be towed at that point. We will not officially abandon Aldebaran until pressed by the Coast Guard. Thus we hope to give time for a potential new owner to step forward.
You donors and others who have followed us on these sites have our great appreciation. We have put up a good fight and your donations have helped a lot. But we cannot go any further with her repair.
Been on the boat washing and pumping out water all week. We have three pumps and it's taking only one to keep the water out. We've continued to patch her - big, big, thank you's again to Matt Allen, Joan Wildasin, Jennifer Thornton and John Cooney!! We've had friends helping us by removing "stuff" from the Zodiak and spending hours hosing those items while still on the dock. We try to move the hosed-off things quickly before they are eyesores on our dock. Our machine and dryer are getting real work outs! So on it goes.
It's been a couple of days since I've had the energy and time to sit down and thank all of you again. These donations mean so much to us. We're retired and facing more and more expense to bring the Aldebaran back!
We've been working hard, patching scraping off hardened patching jobs, putting on new patches as we find the need, and of course washing her off some.
We've retrieved quite a few items we want - none of our treasured books we'd placed on the boat in the preparation of moving aboard. But they can be replaced. Most of what we bring up is muddy, "yukky" stuff but amazing what washing each item at the dockside as we unload our Zodiak after a day of retrieving. Then up goes all the items that need to be washed in the washing machine - some loads washed twice.
Hayden and I cannot thank our old friends and now our new friends for helping us SO much in SO many ways. Thank you, you are wonderful.
Today was a day of contradictions! Highs and lows not just from day to day but from hour to hour, it seems.
The highs: We started off at 6 a.m. with five volunteers and we seven accomplished a lot; scrubbing the decks and everything else, patching the holes, pumping out the water and gathering up and hauling both "keepers" and "trash."
We are exhausted from rushing out at low tide in the morning and working through the day and then returning at high tide to see how she's doing; washing the things we bring back with us first with hose on our dock and then usually in the laundry machines.
The lows: When we returned to the Aldebaran at high tide to see how she was sitting in the water, we had a real disappointment. Since the boat was no longer sitting in the mud, some holes we hadn't responded to that had been blocked by the mud were now profusely leaking so the boat was flooded again! One of the new pumps we bought had stopped working so Hayden had to take it back to the store and exchange it. Wish us luck when we try the new pump tomorrow morning.
We are looking at further expenses so appreciate so much any and all donations.
Thanks again to all who are so kind in so many ways.
Good news! She's up and we'll be on her working, patching a couple of more holes, retrieving some things down below - mainly Hayden's tools - and starting the almost daunting task of taking off some of that DIRT! I can hardly wait. But she is up!!!
Hand-crafted blocks made by Hayden.
KTVU - Fox News ran two video stories yesterday, July 23, showing the raising of the Aldebaran, and the subsequent placing her in the mud off Brooks Island. Both videos well done but sad. And we've run out of money!
THE LIFT. Early this morning Parker Diving Service, with two boats and a team of five, hooked the bow of their landing craft under the bobstay and commenced pumping at about 4,000 gallons per minute using many pumps. By late morning the boat was floating in the hole she had dug in the mud. When the rising tide was high enough, Parker's crew pulled her out around the end of the jetty and towed her stately down Potrero Reach. They had discovered that the leakage was still so great that it could not be controlled with anything but their pumps so they pulled her around the back of Brooks Island, and stuffed her in the mud in a protected place on the lea side. During part of this time the KTVU crew were with us and this interview was shown on the noon news on Fox News, Channel 2, KTVU.
The next time we saw her was when we took a different KTVU crew out to see her. Hayden and Bob McNeece, a friend, were able to climb aboard the Aldebaran and look around some.
On last Friday late afternoon when we were called by KKMI to tell us they had changed their mind at the last minute to not allow us to lift our boat out of the water, we turned to Bay Marine who, this morning, also denied us. Thus, as our boat was ready to be raised out of the water and taken to a boat repair yard, we had no immediate place to go other than putting her in the mud as an interim fix until we can conjure up the next move.
After paying out almost $40,000.00 over a period of 3 weeks to raise our Schooner Aldebaran, we must re-think going any further. Meanwhile, Hayden's immediate plans are to go there every day with buckets and scrubbers and try to restore her beauty and to entice people who are interested in her.
Hayden has set up our 8" telescope on the roof where we can see our schooner sitting on the lea side of the breakwater with her beautiful masts standing proud. He was up there most of the night, off and on, watching Parker Diving Service working on the Aldebaran. (My body and mind gave out somewhere along the way and I didn't last the whole night!!)
We're coming so close to raising her and the tension is running high in this household. Will the patches hold? Are all the holes really plugged? Will we be able to tow her to a boat yard or will it be okay to bring her to our dock?
This is Hayden's baby: Started building her in Alviso in 1971 - put her in the water in 1981 and rigged her with those gorgeous tan bark Pineapple Sails in 1991. Been sailing her ever since, and has taken thousands of people out. He says it's just to put smiles on people's faces.
He told me when we first married that building this boat has been "a path with heart."
We should know by tomorrow morning as we sit out there at 4 a.m. watching Parker's raise her (we're hoping a crane will not be necessary after all).
Hayden just re-read my last entry to me and to my dismay it sounds like I was saying that Parker's Diving was the culprit of the theft! NO! I left out a little word: "not." Sorry Tim Parker, you are very honest and have been wonderful throughout this dilemma.
On another note, since KKMI is not going to take our Aldebaran, we are scrambling to find another solution. But the Schooner Aldebaran is ready to be raised - and we will raise it! Probably Tuesday though, not Monday.
Thank you each and everyone of you for your support.
Grrr! Someone has gotten on the Aldebaran and stolen some things!
Hayden assembled his 8" telescope up on our roof a couple of days ago so he could see what was going on as Parker's Diving worked in the wee hours of the morning. Instead of seeing Parker's he saw lights that belonged to another boat and wondered who was out there. Found out the next morning that it was the salvage company but a thief. Hmm!
Parker's Diving finished the patching and it's holding well. It's ready to be pumped out and lifted in Monday.
After 5 pm last night, came the bombshell! KKMI that was going to receive the boat for hauling on Monday morning called us to say that their lawyers had conferred and had decided to disallow us to bring the boat out of the water at KKMI. This will postpone our taking the boat ashore for another day while we find a place that will take us. We think we will be able to resolve this problem.
Stay tuned! And keep the good thoughts coming
Parker's Diving out at midnight last night and shot the cement/epoxy-like mixture on the holes. Thankfully the aperture is still intact. They came out again around noon to check on the work done during the night hours and it seems the holes have been filled. Whew! Now for the next chapter. They'll be out again at low tide (wee hours of the morning) and try to get inside the boat and patch more.
We'll keep you posted!
Lura, our daughter-in-law patiently spending two days with bronze wool in her fingers bringing ever so many little bitty tools Hayden and Joan got off the Aldebaran the other day. They were already rusting. She was able to get them looking a great deal better! Thank you Lura!
Hayden in 2012 winning the San Francisco Yacht Club Schooner Race. A happy man and a very happy crew. Thanks to all for a great day and race.
Today, Parker's Diving team went out to continue with the patch work; however the tide was too high to work on the coach roof of the Aldebaran and had to be done fron Parker's boat and the patching product had to be run over to the Aldebaran, a slow and tedious process but a large void and a smaller hole were filled. Tonight at midnight with a better low tide, the divers will work to fill the rest of the holes they can find using flood lights and generator will be on the top of the cabin. This is all in preparation for Monday, July 22's lift when they will try to raise our schooner.
Tuesday found Hayden cutting 4 pieces of fin birch plywood, to temporarily cover the holes.
Monday, July 15, Hayden went out with Parker's Salvage Company in the borrowed boat from Russ Taft. He rafted up to Tim Parker's boat and worked his anchor while he maneuvered in to the top of the Aldebaran's coach roof where a special epoxy was being mixed and handed to a diver. They patched some stuff and did some measuring on the holes. We worked on this until stopped by the wind and the height of the tide.
Our daughter-in-law Lura Anderson spent Saturday and Sunday washing and cleaning so many small tools that Hayden was able to get off the Aldebaran last week. She worked tirelessly at this tiresome task!
Photo at left: Hayden at the San Francisco Yacht Club calling me at the end of the SF Schooner Race to say he had not won this year and, in fact, had to disqualify himself. He did get an award however - award for "Spirit."
Our neighbor and friend Ron White and son Ryan in their boat Striper were invaluable to us in their assistance since the Schooner Aldebaran sank. Ron has taken Hayden out to our boat several times making it possible for us to retrieve the things we have. Thank you Ron and Ryan for everything.
Our long time friend, Russ Taft, has lent Hayden his Bayliner to get around in so Hayden will be able to motor out and watch Parker's Diving patch the holes in the Aldebaran.
We now have a better understanding of how Parker Diving is going to go about raising the Aldebaran: They're going to try something different on this coming Monday, July 15, (at high tide), to patch the holes and leaks. They'll be using a type of quick setting cement.
When they first came out last week to see how bad the leaks were, they had three large pumps pumping a total of almost 800 gallons of water per minute! But it didn't lower the level of the water inside. If they are able to seal the leaks Monday, the 15th, they will return on Monday, the 22nd, when there will be a minus 1.4 foot tide, and should be able to float the Aldebaran.
The boat is sitting in about two feet of mud, locked in, so in order to break the suction, they are going to try to pull the boat forward as they pump it, and turn it away from the rocks.
If this is successful we will tow the boat into a boat repair yard which is about two miles away. They have told us that if we realize we are being successful, we will call them and they'll be ready to receive us when we get there.
Well, good news! Parker Diving Service is going to try something different on this coming Monday, July 15. They're going to use a different product to seal the leaks and pump it out again. Last time they had 3 large pumps pumping a total of almost 800 gallons per minute but it didn't lower the level of water. If this doesn't work, they'll come on the previously scheduled day, Monday, July 22, when there's a minus 1.4 foot tide.
We're pleased with the donations that are so generously coming in.
Shipwrecked on the rocks
It's time to take a breath and to thank the many people who have been helping us in one way or another. Food has been brought in, daily calls of encouragement, of course the wonderful donations that have been coming in, and our hearts are truly full of gratitude to all of you. Can I menton you all by name? Umm, no probably not. But do want to add Hayden's sister Sherring who suggested setting up a fund like this and has been with us every day from her home in Wyoming, to give love and encouragement.
This is our "earth-angel," friend, Joan Wildasin who who has accomplished so much in our behalf. This is her picture getting ready for the second time to go aboard the Aldebaran and salvage what she can aboard the boat. Thank you again and again, Joan.
Some good news yesterday; Parker Drilling will be back out on Monday, June 22, to try again to raise her. This is a minus 1.4 foot tide which should enable the divers to patch her enough to fill her with a foam material and get her up. Keep your fingers crossed!
A beautiful article has been written by Donna Beth in the Benicia Herald. It hits the nail on the head as far as telling the story of our shipwreck. Check it out. http://beniciaherald.me.com
Hayden washing off each and every item taken off the Aldebaran and either wringing items out so I can wash them; hanging them out to dry, scrubbing each and every little bitty tool that was rescued and needing to be scrubbed with bronze wool to remove the corrosion and rust that has already settled in. Our many books of course are gone but that's a small thing. The most important thing of all of this is that none of the 19 people were injured in the least when the boat ran aground. Thankfully it wasn't taking on any water at that point. Only after a night on the rocks was there water damage.
We have been able to save 12 of the 13 sails on Aldebaran. Thank you Joan Wildasin, our angel in all of this, Ron White without whose help and his wondeful fishing boat, his most efficient son Ryan White and of course my determined and courageous husband Hayden, now 77 years old, who have been responsible for the salvaging of many things. The beautiful wheels (one on deck and the other below) have been saved. Every item will need lots of loving care to restore but Hayden will do it. To my horror, he climed the ratlins and went up on the spreader to release a halyard that allowed those heavy sails to be taken up a hatch and on deck. Joan Wildasin, all suited up, was the one below in chest high water - securing the sails with the terrific guys up above bringing them up.
Today's low-tide foray into the sunken Schooner Aldebaran was successful in that all 13 sails, except the Mainsail, have been saved thanks for a few people who went below deck, sloshing in hip high water and with the help of some halyards was able to bring these sails up through a hatch. In addition to the sails, I got back a couple of coats, foul weather gear; Hayden retrieved some tools, rusted and corroded but maybe fixable.
This morning, at low tide, a thoughtful neighbor took us out in his fishing boat which allowed Hayden, friends Joan and Ryan the opportunity to board the the Aldebaran and remove some sails, and many other items while our wonderful neighbor Ron manuevered his boat and Zodiak so that things could be off loaded on to them. Words cannot express our appreciation for the outpouring of concern from people for the Raising/Saving of our beautiful schooner which Hayden spent years (read since 1971) to build.
Last Thursday, Fourth of July, while returning from viewing the fireworks on the San Francisco Bay, we hit the submerged breakwater at high tide. We ran the Aldebaran up hard on the rocks. The Coast Guard, gratefully, rescued all aboard safely.
We are now trying various salvage and dive services to raise her, get the ship to dry dock, and save her.
We need your help to defray the immense costs of this operation.
With love and luck we will save this beautiful handmade craft to grace the Bay again.
Letter from Hayden's sister:
July 7, 2013
From the desk of Sherring Brown Burke, Powell, Wyoming
Dear Aldebaran friends,
The Schooner Aldebaran desperately needs your help.
On the night of
July 4, Captain Hayden Brown and his wife Fern along with a party of 17 others
were motoring home from watching the Independence Day Fireworks in San
Francisco Bay, when the unimaginable happened...Aldebaran ran hard aground on
the Richmond Jetty.
Right now, she is still upright, but completely awash and bashing
continuously into the jetty, and sustaining further damage. It is unclear as to
whether or not she can be salvaged and restored to full function, but by law,
at the very least, she must be raised and towed to shore and dry-docked.
Just this process alone will cost many thousands and may bankrupt
Hayden and Fern. Then, when she is up on land they will be able to determine
whether or not she can be saved. There is, apparently, extensive hull damage,
and that is just for starters. I am sure that sea water sitting inside the
vessel will take a heavy toll, too, in damage to internal systems and the
interior in general.
I am Hayden's younger sister, and I want to do all I can to help
Hayden and Fern get through this catastrophe. Hayden has spent the better part
of his adult life building this boat, just about every inch of her, and he has
sailed her and shared her and celebrated her with honor and dignity.
Aldebaran sailed to victory last year in the Great San FranciscoYacht
Club Schooner Race. You may know her as
the official pirate boat of the Vallejo Pirate Festival.
She is a truly beautiful craft, a work of art and a labor of love.
Few men have proven such dedication to excellence as has Hayden, over such a
span of years, and it would be a tragedy indeed if Aldebaran were lost to the
sailing community and to the community in general.
Please, I beg of
you, consider making a donation to gofundme.com
to help "SAVE the Schooner Aldebaran" using this link http://www.gofundme.com/3ifhhg
If you have
lived in the area and seen this beautiful boat; if you have been lucky enough
to have sailed on her with Hayden; if in his building of her he has supported
your business; if you are friend or family, neighbor or compatriot or crew, I
implore you to be as generous as possible. We owe it to this beautiful schooner
to do what we can. The donations will be made through WePay and no fees
If you can help in any way, please contact Hayden Brown
at (510) 685-9043 cell or (510) 236-3332 home, address 1302 Pelican Way, Point
Richmond, CA 94801.