.Anchor-out’s boat saved from destruction

A federal judge recently changed her ruling in a case, giving hope to a pregnant woman whose boat was scheduled to be destroyed by a local government agency.   

In a July hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Maxine Chesney, Kaitlin Allerton was denied a preliminary injunction, which cleared the way for the Richardson Bay Regional Agency (RBRA) to crush the 32-foot sailboat that she had lived aboard for the better part of the last four years. 

A series of events prompted Allerton, 28, to submit new evidence to the court in August. In a surprising move, Chesney reconsidered her previous decision in a hearing on Aug. 19 and granted the preliminary injunction, now preventing the RBRA from demolishing Allteron’s vessel, the Silver Bow.

Allerton initially filed the legal action after the RBRA, a joint powers authority of Mill Valley, Tiburon, Belvedere and Marin County, seized her boat from Richardson Bay on July 12 and towed it to the San Rafael Yacht Harbor. The RBRA harbormaster, Jim Malcolm, stated in an email that her boat would be destroyed the following week.

While the RBRA contended in court that the boat was marine debris, Allteron insisted the Kendall 32 was a rare boat in good condition, making it valuable. Furthermore, she said photos of the Silver Bow, submitted to the court by the RBRA, looked bad because she had failed to clean up the sea gull waste after she moved onto land for the last few months of her pregnancy.

Although the judge originally agreed with the RBRA, a few days after the hearing, Allteron’s friends, who also live aboard boats in Richardson Bay, went to the San Rafael Yacht Harbor and began scrubbing the Silver Bow. Michael Ortega led the group of people working on Allerton’s vessel, which included Arthur Bruce.

The San Rafael police were summoned to the yacht harbor to remove the folks working on the Silver Bow, according to Bruce.

“The registration has Katy [Allerton’s] and Michael [Ortega’s] names on it,” Bruce said. “An officer asked Malcolm if he could produce documentation that the RBRA owns the vessel and he couldn’t. The police let us stay.”

Louis Tenwinkel, a long-time mariner and shipwright, surveyed the Silver Bow at the yacht harbor and provided Allerton with a declaration that he found the boat to be valuable. That document and photos of the clean boat turned the tide for Allerton, despite objections from the RBRA’s attorney.

“It could go to a marina now the way it looks,” Chesney said.

Allerton received another gift last week—she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Nikki Silverstein
Nikki Silverstein is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Pacific Sun since 2005. She escaped Florida after college and now lives in Sausalito with her Chiweenie and an assortment of foster dogs. Send news tips to [email protected].


  1. I’ve been admiring your subjects and writing for years. No offense, but I have a quibble I very frequently find in your articles. A good example is near the end of this article: “’It could go to a marina now the way it looks,’ Chesney said.” I usually skim over the names the first time around, so when it pops up again some distance away, I gotta go back to find out, for example, who Chesney is. One of Allerton’s friends? Let’s see…………………………….oh, the judge.
    Suggestion: After the first time around, as with this example, please include a reference word, e.g., “Judge Chesney”, “Harbormaster Malcolm”, “evil ex-president Donald”, etc.
    Thanks for this feel-good story. As a result of some of your other stories, I’ve visited the last two homeless locations over the last few months. I used to know some of the harbor rats at Gate 5 in the 70s and 80s, so I have a sense of the history of the area, but hadn’t kept up.


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