Richard E. (Rick) Wood 1948 - 2013
Rick Wood, age 65; accidently drowned on March 23 near his houseboat in Point Richmond, CA. Rick was born in Ottawa, Canada and was raised and educated in Boston. After graduating from Boston University, he pursued his love of sailing by moving to Nantucket Island. In 1981, he arrived in San Francisco Bay settling in Point Richmond where he and his business partner Alfie Sanford founded Sanford-Wood Marine, a Bay Area institution. Rick was the proud owner of many classic yachts and recently restored the classic 70-ft Philip Rhodes motorsailor Kanaloa in the Seattle area, before bringing her to San Pablo last year.
Rick was an active member of several yacht clubs including the Tahoe Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club and was a Lifetime Member of Point San Pablo Yacht Club. He joined the Cruising Club of America in 1997 and served as Membership Chair for three years. Recently, he had been working as interim boatyard manager for the Spaulding Boat Works in Sausalito.
Rick had many blue water sea miles under his belt. In 1973 he joined Alfie Sanford on the 56 foot Alden ketch Aspara. They left Essex a little after Thanksgiving, breaking ice on the Connecticut River on a voyage to the West Indies via Bermuda. On this voyage Rick learned and perfected his celestial navigation skills. His long cruising record is highlighted by his three-year trip around South America (Cape Horn — East to West) and cruising the Patagonian Channels, French Polynesia and Hawaii on his 57-ft ketch Sea Lion with his partner, John Edwards. During that Cape Horn rounding on Sea Lion in 1977, the crew battled 60-knot winds and suffered two major broaches while "sliding down the face of giant breaking waves on beam ends with their mast 'below the horizon'.
In 1981, with Rick as skipper, he was joined by Alfie Sanford and they delivered Tiare, a steel 75 foot fish boat to Maui, Hawaii. About that time Rick took over an abandoned boat yard in Richmond and with Sanford’s financial backing created Sanford-Wood Boatyard which Rick ran for 20 years. At that yard Rick and Alfie built several yachts including an Alerion class sloop, the cold molded Fancy and Bernard Moitiessier’s steel yacht, Tomate. In 1983, Sanford purchased Impala which Rick helped restore in Virginia and sail to New England. On Impala, Rick sailed with Sanford in gale force winds to the West Indies and in the 1988 Bermuda Race. On that race he caught a 10 lb blue fish a half-hour after the start and startled the New York crew members. When the spinnaker collapsed due to the crew lollygagging at the spectacle, a small fight ensued on Impala when one of the crew tried to use Rick’s gin to kill the fish. In 2003 Rick and John Edwards joined Sanford in Arnis Germany and sailed to Gdansk, Poland via Copenhagen as part of a summer cruise on Impala. In 2006 Rick came back to Europe to join Sanford on Impala on a five week cruise to Antigua. Tacking down wind, the top half of the mizzen staysail gave a sudden “crack” and started trailing in the water. After two days as a sloop, Rick and Alfie had the mast glued back together. They then hove to, restepped it and made their way to English Harbor as a yawl. Alfie Sanford’s last offshore passage with Rick was aboard Sanford’s new 40 foot yawl, Starry Night, from Marsh Harbor, Bahamas to New Bern, NC. Rick was at ease in the ocean regardless of the size of the boat or the state of the sea.
Fifteen years ago Rick was blessed with the birth of his beautiful daughter Arabella. Rick is also survived by his sisters Wendy and Robin and his brother Michael.