SAVE the Schooner Aldebaran

$12,986 of $50k goal

Raised by 127 people in 40 months
Fern A. Brown  RICHMOND, CA

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.

Thank you,
Hayden Brown

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 to help "SAVE the Schooner Aldebaran" using this link

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 involved.

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.


Sherring Burke
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Update 33
38 months ago

Time to share some wonderful news ! We have sold the Schooner Aldebaran!!!!

We were hours away from having her towed out to the Bay for demolition and incurrring a lot more expense to do so.

The buyer saw our posting on Craigs List; did some research, visited us and fell in love with her. He plans on restoring her with Hayden's help. Hayden will be coming back to this area occasionally to offer his expertise.

So one of these days, many may see the Aldebaran plying the waters of San Francisco Bay once again.

We feel most of you will rejoice with us. We want to be sure that you know how each and every donation you have made counted toward the successful raising of our beloved boat. Because of your love and support, Aldebaran will enjoy a new life.

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Update 32
38 months ago

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

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Update 31
39 months ago

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.

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Update 30
39 months ago

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.

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$12,986 of $50k goal

Raised by 127 people in 40 months
Created July 7, 2013
36 months ago (Monthly Donation)
37 months ago (Monthly Donation)
38 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Sherri Betz
39 months ago

Best of luck with the restoration! I hope to get the chance to sail with you both aboard your pride and joy!

39 months ago
Dallas & Delane Allen
39 months ago

Hayden & Fern, Sorry about your loss.

Len Teasley
39 months ago

Hayden / Fern -- Words are inadequate at a time like this.....Len / Irene

Roger Hassler
39 months ago

Sorry to hear of your loss. We have always appreciated your work with Rotary's Exchange Students.

Capitan Seabone
39 months ago

We love Aldebaran and want her back up and running roaming free the seas and inspiring us in our beloved pirate events !

Sara & Robert Burger
39 months ago

Hope your beautiful boat can be recovered and repaired very soon.

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