The swashbuckling Aussie epitomized the yachting life—adventurer, playboy, sartorialist.
The second in a series where we unearth the story and style behind iconic photos.
Errol Flynn’s yacht, Zaca, is haunted. After sitting dormant for years, Zaca underwent eighteen months of renovation, including 200 tons of Alaskan cedar, truckloads of teak and bronze, and an original Picasso, now hung in her salon. She’s one of the finest yachts in the world, but she doesn't forget Flynn. At night, it’s reported his ghost walks the decks accompanied by sounds of a party—the clinking of glasses, uproars of laughter—a permanent imprint of the iconic Hollywood star.
Flynn had an infamous reputation. According to his own account, he was kicked out of grade school after a rendezvous with the laundress. At 20, he bought a tobacco plantation (it failed). In 1935, he became an overnight Hollywood sensation, and in 1940, he was ranked the fourth most popular star in the world.
Flynn has a treatise dedicated to his lifestyle (An Errolesque Philosophy on Life, Benjamin S. Johnson). He has a phrase that includes his namesake (in like Flynn). He suffered from chronic back pain, of which he self-medicated—with heroine. He was married three times, and held numerous love affairs. He considered Fidel Castro a friend and drinking partner (he narrated a movie about Castro). His memoir is titled: My Wicked, Wicked Ways.
Flynn embodied the debonair and adventurous attitude of Hollywood stardom. He lived fast and hard, and he was a real man who valued that title's worth. And while we don’t believe in ghosts, we do know that bold men and tastemakers never die. That said, we toast you, Captain Flynn, and enjoy the afterparty.
To equip your own swashbuckling, womanizing, yachting adventure, we provide the following Flynn-inspired guide:
For a video about the Zaca, see The Sailing Channel’s documentary.
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