Was Eric Clapton’s Yacht Docked in Marion This Past Weekend?
There was a buzz crackling across Marion this past weekend like the hum of an electric guitar vibrating through an amp, with the rumor that legendary rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton was in town.
A yacht called Blue Guitar was spotted in the harbor over the weekend; for years, online reports wherever it shows up suggest that this yacht is owned by Clapton. It would make sense, after all, that a man with the love of both the blues and the guitar would name his yacht Blue Guitar. It also has a British Union Jack flag flying and is home ported in London, England.
It all adds up, right?
The Marion and Tri-Town Facebook groups had multiple posts pop up of people sharing photos of the yacht, and attempting to figure out if indeed "Slowhand" himself was on board and why he may be in town. Someone claimed he came to Marion for a wedding (surely, he would have had to perform "Wonderful Tonight" for the lucky bride and groom); others stated that his daughter, 17-year-old Sophie Belle Clapton, is a student at Tabor Academy.
However, there is no definitive proof, at least anything found online, that proves that Clapton is the owner of the 103-foot yacht that was built in 1967. Almost all of the connections between the rock god and the yacht are anecdotal, as any stories about the Blue Guitar spotted in a particular port are followed in the comments sections with people claiming to moor their own yachts near it and seeing Clapton on the deck, strumming a guitar.
Even this 2013 YouTube video of the Blue Guitar sailing through the Cape Cod Canal suggests it belongs to Clapton:
We can prove, however, that Clapton does own at least one yacht, one far larger and more luxurious than the Blue Guitar – not that the Blue Guitar is anything to shake a Strat at.
According to BoatInternational.com, Clapton owns a superyacht, the Va Bene. Reportedly, Clapton purchased the superyacht in 2005, and now has it listed for sale for $7.5 million. He reportedly auctioned it off in November of 2020 with an expected bid of $10 million, but it’s not clear if anyone bid and took it off his hands. The site also says that Clapton "reportedly" owns the Blue Guitar.
It may be likely that Clapton did at one time own the Blue Guitar, and maybe he sold it to someone else. Since it was built in 1967, he could have purchased it just as he started to hit it big with the Yardbirds or later on with Cream. A listing on the photo website Alamy suggests that Blue Guitar is owned by James Benenson and Lawrence Small, so perhaps Clapton sold it to them when he purchased the bigger, better Va Bene?
Whether he was in Marion or not, Clapton has been a controversial figure in recent years. First, he had to fight off claims that he was an anti-vax conspiracy theorist over his outspoken comments about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine. Then, a racist rant from a 1976 concert resurfaced, in which he lamented Jamaican immigrants coming to the UK and declared, “Keep Britain White!”