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Boeing’s big boat and the photo of it seen ’round the nation

The 130-ft. Daedalus cruises into the dock at April Point Resort & Spa on Quadra Island in British Columbia in 2008 Credit: Sue Frause

A boat, not a plane, is the big news being generated by Boeing this week. It turns out that The Boeing Company’s 130-ft. yacht Daedalus is too big to make an appearance at the RBC Heritage, a PGA Tour golf tournament at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina that runs April 9-15. Boeing South Carolina is the presenting sponsor of the RBC Heritage.

According to an article in The Island Packet, a McClatchy newspaper in Blufton, South Carolina, Boeing South Carolina officials “considered wining and dining guests aboard the company’s corporate yacht” for the tournament. But it turns out that Daedalus is just too darn big, with the Harbour Town Yacht Basin too shallow — a depth of only 4.5 to 5 feet — to accommodate yachts as large as Daedalus.

I don’t dabble all that much in golf or yachting, but was impressed when I saw the Daedalus at April Point Resort & Spa on Quadra Island while on a trip to British Columbia in 2008, and took a picture of the luxury yacht. I asked somebody at the resort who the boat belonged to — I knew it wasn’t Paul Allen’s, as his boat is named Octopus, which has also been in the news lately for being part of a search for a downed plane off Palau in the Pacific Ocean. But back to the Boeing boat. The 130-ft. Daedalus is Boeing’s corporate yacht, built in 1997 by Delta Marine Industries of Seattle. In Greek mythology, Daedalus (meaning “cunning worker”) was a skillful craftsman and artisan, and the father of Icarus and Lapyx.

I uploaded my photo of Daedalus to Flickr, and since then, it’s been featured in Crosscut’s photo gallery and was used in a mathematical textbook. I’m not sure in what context, but possibly something to do with draft. Which brings it around to the silty situation in South Carolina. Several days ago I received a call from Drew Martin, Graphics and Photo Editor of The Island Packet and The Beauffort Gazette. He was in search of a photo of the Daedalus to accompany a weekend story about Boeing’s boat being a no-show at the golf tournament, and spotted mine on Flickr. Like most newspapers, he said they didn’t have a budget for compensation (the publishing company of the math textbook did pay me), but I agreed that he could run it with the story. Early this morning, Seattle’s KIRO-TV contacted me about using it with a piece they were planning to run on Tuesday during the noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. Finally, a quick Google news search shows both the Bellingham Herald and a News Tribune blog, also owned by McClatchy, picked up the photo.

Maybe, with all the press I’ve given their boat, Boeing will invite me aboard one of these days. Then again, maybe not.

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