No. 5 Elbe Refloated. - Old Salt Blog

Salvaging Pilot Schooner No. 5 Elbe

On June 8th, the restored 1883 built pilot schooner No.5 Elbe sank following a collision with the container ship Astrosprinter. Salvors have now refloated the historic schooner using airbags and pumps and will now assess the extent of the damage. Images from the Pressure Drop forum.

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deleted, see below

Sterling Hayden’s account of his ownership of the Elbe 5 (formerly Wanderer) is an interesting read.
The author, a former fisherman, sailor and captain, was at the peak of his career as a movie star when he sweet talked a studio into buying the schooner for him. Then he turned his back on Hollywood, thumbed his nose at the courts and the efforts of his ex-wife to stop him.
He defied them all, became a bankrupt outlaw and set sail for Tahiti with his four children.


Hayden is certainly quite the character. Do a google search and there are some interesting interviews with him, especially later in life.

Hayden was interesting guy and a good sailor. He would have fallen off down the starboard side of the freighter. That was the only move. The schooner was NEVER going to be able to cross in front.


Did a little research, No.5 Elbe and Wanderbird are the same vessel. Wanderer of Sterling Haden fame is a different vessel.

You’re right. Wanderer was launched as the Gracie S. in 1893, built at Union Iron Works in San Francisco Bay as a South Pacific trading schooner. Instead, she worked the harbor entrance as a pilot boat for 52 years.
Hayden bought her in 1946 for $7000 with a loan from a movie producer. She was 95’ on deck and 24’ beam.
The Elba no 5 (former Wander Bird) was launched in Germany in 1883 and served as pilot boat at the mouth of the Elbe river. After Warwick Thompson rounded the horn and brought her to San Francisco, Hayden contributed to the restoration. She was 85’ on deck and 18’ beam.
The similarity between the two, including the names, their service as pilot boats and the connection to San Francisco and Hayden led me to think they were the same.
Thanks for the correction.

Wanderer was wrecked off Tahiti in 1964. Lee is correct in his notation. Warwick Tompkins was the previous owner of Elba/ Wander Bird. Tompkins, not Thompson

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My apologies to Warwick Jr. for getting his last name wrong as he is still alive. He was born at sea on the Wander Bird. By the age of four, he had six Atlantic passages. Trailer of a short film made of Warwick Sr. and his family crossing the Horn with Jr. and his siblings romping on the decks: