John Steinbeck's boat to return home

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John Steinbeck's famed boat, Western Flyer, has been to the Sea of Cortez and, in the last quarter century, used as a commercial fishing boat in the state of Washington.

Soon, the historic 76-foot-long vessel will set sail back to Salinas, Calif.

"I think the boat belongs to the community," said developer Gerry Kehoe, who made the purchase. "And I hope it will generate success for all the merchants."

Rick Phinny, of Affinity Properties, announced Monday that after two years, Kehoe and his family successfully bought the boat despite stiff competition from other Monterey County-area groups that had sought possession of "Steinbeck's largest artifact."

Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed "Doc" Ricketts used the boat in their voyage to the Sea of Cortez in 1940. Steinbeck's 1951 book "Sea of Cortez" detailed that journey.

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