Gitano – hull no 61 (UK)

Launched 1970
Owner BJ Caldwell
Purchased 2010
Configuration UK style
Colour White with blue stripe
Berthed San Francisco, California
Sail Number
Australian Registration
State Registration
Call Sign
Builder Aquafibre (UK)
Hull Number 61 (UK hull no on original papers from Aquafibre)
Fit Out
Previous Owners  Jim Depue, Howard Frye – see below
Previous Names  Nil known

The Yacht’s Story

From BJ Caldwell, Dec 2010:

I’m the new owner of the British Built S&S 34 Hull # 61 ‘Gitano’ (meaning ‘Gypsy’ in Portuguese) built by Aquafiber in 1970. She is currently in Seattle but I will be coming to
Australia with her next year for future Sydney Hobart races.

I raced the last one with Jon Sanders on ‘Perie Banou 2’ (David Dicks broke my record back in 1996). Keep in mind I’m from Hawaii so you’ll have to put up a new country in the owner’s list (not the US ). The flag I’ve included is the ‘original’ Hawaiian flag I will fly in the years ahead which is the ‘original’ flag of Hawaii pre-colonialism which I’ve include in attached photos and I’ll try to email some more better photos of ‘Gitano’ later.

About the Owners

From Bruce (owner prior to BJ), Dec 2010 – Here’s what I know about previous owners:

1970 – bought as Palmer Johnson 34, Gitano lived in Chicago and original owner raced on Lake Michigan.

1978 – Jim Depue bought the boat and had it trucked to Seattle – Jim and Gitano were local legends, the Pt Madison Yacht Club now has an annual Jim Depue Memorial Race

1990 (???) Jim died, Howard Frye, also of Pt Madison, bought the boat. I understand Howard had only one arm but was an active racer and solo sailor. He removed the lifelines to make tacking easier (I guess) and had those rubber self tailers on all the
winches. Then Howard died.

1998 – I bought the boat, moored it on Lake Washington for 6 or 7 years, then moved it to Elliott Bay Marina. Raced (casually) and sailed up and down Puget Sound until 2010. Unlike previous two owners, I am still kicking.

I am going to try and contact Jim Depue’s wife if she is still around. I stayed in touch with her for several years, and she might know more about original owner and I know she would be interested in pictures of the boat and your plans.


In Seattle November 2010. Photographs: BJ Caldwell (click to enlarge).



2 thoughts on “Gitano – hull no 61 (UK)

  1. I know Gitano very well. In the 1970’s it was kept at Palmer Johnson’s Racine WI boat yard and owned by Domonic (Can’t remember his last name). PJ has a yard in Sturgeon Bay and up until sometime in the early 2000’s had a yard in Racine WI. Domonic owned a road construction company in the Chicago area. It was a racer/cruiser at the time (mostly cruiser). It had the smaller of the two mast rigs offered. The black leather interior was in like new condition at the time. It was very well maintained at that time and from the photos I can see it still get the same great care. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  2. Hello Bruce,

    I am Howard Frey’s son Dean, I believe I sold Gitano to you. I owned Frey Yachts on Bainbridge Island. I knew Jim Depue and his family my whole life as I grew up sailing in port madison with my Father, Howard Lewis Frey, related to Lewis of Lewis and Clarke.

    Jim was a good sailor, but my dad was far better. He lost his left arm to polio when he was 12 yrs old. He and his two brothers with my uncle built a boat in San Fransico named “Whitecap”. My father was the one armed helmsman with his brothers. He won so many races on San Francisco bay. The St Francis Yacht club asked my father to helm their yacht in the San Fran to hawaii race in the early 20’s/ With one arm!!!.

    He won almost every major race on the west coast. On Puget sound, their was a local handicap if he was on the boat because he most always won.

    I built a new design sailboat in NZ, called a Silver Phantom 44. On;y boat to be sponsored ny Guiness Beer, we has a Guiness chute and sailed during the 2000 Americasa Cup races as a spectator yacht.

    One of my dads nicknames was wizard of the west, coming from Bainbridge, west of Seattle.
    Most everyone knew him, including Joe Goldberg, who owned North Sails in Seattle.

    I was looking for the boat. I am now up on Lopez Island roasting coffee.

    Drop me a line.

    PS. My dad bought the boat with the self tailing rubber attachments on the winches.
    He removed the lifelines to reduce windage. He did that on all his boats.

    Dean Frey

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