Monday, July 20, 2009

'Uncle Walter' was a fan of Wrightsville

The late, great Walter Cronkite became quite the fan of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington through the years, thanks to twice-a-year sailing trips along the Eastern Seaboard, according to the Star-News.

Cronkite, who died Friday at age 92, docked his sailboat at Seapath Yacht Club in Wrightsville Beach while sailing south in the fall to Florida or the Virgin Islands and while returning north to his summer home at Martha’s Vineyard, said Maria Mann, a captain and friend of Cronkite’s.

“He just liked Wrightsville Beach,” Mann said. “In Martha’s Vineyard, he could walk around and people wouldn’t bother him. In Wrightsville Beach, it was sort of the same way. He could be like a regular person, and he enjoyed that aspect of it very much.”

Mann, 64, of Wilmington, was captain of Cronkite’s boat from 1980 to 1981, and she continued sailing with Cronkite and his family each year until 1999. She attended Cronkite’s wife’s funeral in 2005 and said she last spoke with him on the phone about two years ago.

His boat would sometimes stay docked at Seapath for weeks while Cronkite traveled or worked, but he would often fly in to stay on the boat even when he wasn’t sailing on it, Mann said.

He enjoyed walking the Seapath docks and talking to people about boats, she said. “He loved talking to other fellow sailors.”

Cronkite’s connections to Wrightsville Beach didn’t just involve docking at the marina. Several of his captains, mostly referred by Mann, were from the area, and Cronkite also bought a yacht from local builder Sunward Yachts.


James C. said...

I thought this was in reference to a Ben Folds Five song when I saw the title.

M. Lail said...

My bad. I can see how that could confuse you. Of course, you're easily confused.