Welcome To My Book Blog

A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dinghy Bumpers

Floating here in the water are the dinghy bumpers Dennis described to me. They would flush against the swim step to prevent a "banging dinghy." They were used when being down for the night when it was windy or the water was choppy. Although there was a persistent drizzling the night of Natalie Wood's death, the ocean was rather calm. The currents were strong as the currents usually become at night when they turn, but the surface of the ocean in the cove areas was smooth. Dennis did not use the dinghy bumpers the night of Nov. 28, 1981 when the group returned from dinner at Doug's Harbor Reef.  The dinghy was secured, flush horizontally at the rear of the Splendour with two lines about 12 ft. apart AT CLEATS AT THE TOP OF THE BOAT'S BACK WALL. The lame theory that Natalie was out on a wet deck in her socks securing a banging dinghy disturbing her sleep is a flat out fabrication.

1) She wouldn't have gone out to a wet deck wearing only socks.
2) The dinghy couldn't have floated away on its own because she would've been able to work only one line at a time.
3) She had never gone to sleep that fateful night. She was angry because her husband had just smashed a wine bottle in every one's face in the main salon and she was arguing with her husband over it.
4) The dinghy rarely banged against the Splendour. This is something both Dennis Davern and Robert Wagner both know.
5) Natalie would've called upon Dennis to secure the dinghy if there had been a problem.
6) Natalie never did boat chores of this nature.


  1. I thought the whole banging dingy theory was nonsense and I first thought this 29 years ago! I wondered about the story for years until I read Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour and the tragedy finally made sense. I still would be trying to figure it out on my own if you had not written your book Marti.

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  3. Anon, 12:24, Yes, it's the reason GNGS was written, and the mission is in the works.

  4. Interesting photo Marti...notice all the places that someone could grab onto? Ropes almost everywhere, lots of hand holds. Just makes me think.
    IF she actually boarded Valiant on her own she would not need to worry about hand holds or ropes-she would have been safely in the dingy. This would back up, to some degree Wagner's statement that she took the digny out on her own to stargaze or partyhop.

    However, she didn't know how to start the dinghy. You tell in the book the process that is required to get it started: Pump~Prime~Turn fuel on etc...That's a alot of steps that have to be done in precise order ...otherwise all you have is a flotation device. Now we know the dingy was found with the ignition key in the off position. This absolutley proves she didn't start the dinghy so why would she get into it? This just blows Wagner's assertions that she was out partying all to hell.

    So who let the dinghy loose from Splendour? It certainly wasn't Natalie, it would take one person two trips across the width of Splendour to intentionally untie the thing. Why would ANYONE not planning to actually use it do that?
    This fact makes Wagner's statement that Natalie was trying to secure the dinghy equally preposterous.

    Let's pretend for the sake of this argument that she did want to re-tie the dinghy. She could only have touched one line at a time. And any child could figure out that if you untie a dinghy to secure it you don't walk away from an untied line to attend to the other line that was 12 feet away. Thus, making Wagner's claims just moronic on their face.

    If Natalie could have had access to the dingy she could have hung on for dear life for a very long time...hours...and in fact it's quite likely that she did-right after Wagner introduced her to the water and untied Valiant so that he could concoct his veil-thin bullshit story that she fell or went boat hopping.

    I mean, c'mon! Which story does he want us to believe???

    Marti this whole thing is really starting to piss me off! Why are we the ones doing all the police work here?????
    Someone seriously needs to get up off their ass and do some official detective work.

  5. I agree, but I'm being told they will never do it unless pressured. They will not open the flood gates and let all the embarrassment gush over them like a tidal wave.

    I'm trying. I'm really trying. But, they need to be pressured. Hopefully, they will be forced into a corner and have no choice.

  6. I'm trying too Marti, in my own small way. Here is my post for November 29th:


  7. Please don't let yourself feel pressured by everyone's anxiousness to get things started. This campaign has to be well crafted and patience (on all of our parts)is an integral part of that. It would be horrible to get so close and then lose the chance for justice over some overlooked detail. It is fantastic that you now have people in your corner who will guide you through the process. You have the facts and they have the expertise. Natalie has waited a long time for justice, a little longer won't hurt when it means the difference between success and failure. We all support you and look forward to the time when it all comes together.

  8. Is there anyone we could contact to let them know that we still want answers?

  9. Anonymous 1:55 pm -- I agree 100%.

  10. StephanieB, I only wish there was a "Natalie Wood hotline" but unfortunately there is no specific number to call. There are about 20 different numbers for the LACSD, and there is a district attorney's number but it would prove fruitless to call those. The best way to help is to sign the petition and to tell the story wherever you can and maybe others will help by signing the petition, too. If I get hold of a viable number to use to be able to call and sound off, I will definitely post it. Someone suggested to me in an email that we all should start bugging one of the morning shows....put pressure on them to air a segment about Natalie...they said that when 10 people from different areas call about a same topic that they usually listen. I don't know how true that is or if something like that would work, but we do have someone who will work media for us very soon.

    Sky Princess: Thank you for all that you do.

  11. I'm a boater who has boated to two harbors for over 12 years. I also have a swim-step and a dingy similar to their boat . i just read GNGS. Amazing book!! Let me start with that i believe RJ did push her in. With that being said... i have some thoughts/questions about the way the dingy was tied to the boat that night. traditionally I/most boaters would never tie the dingy to the back of the boat against the swim step especially overnight in 2 places. As the main boat rocks and rolls with the swell action the rhythm of the 2 boats are never in sync no matter how tight you tie them. Inevitably the dingy always gets sucked under the swimstep and damages/ pops the rubber tubes or the upward pressure of the dingy damages the swimstep. At night most boaters would either tie 1 line from the stern of the main boat and let the dingy float back behind the boat or tie it along side the main boat with the bow line midship and stern line on the stern cleat of the main boat. Even on a "calm night" you would never do that, because weather changes all the time with the wind and swell. I don't also understand if there were gail force wind warnings before they left Marina del Rey how it could have been that calm less than 48 hours later. There is always residual wind and swell for several days after a gale force conditions. If the dingy was tied in two places across the back, I have a theory about how/why it got untied. First theory is that Natalie wanted off the boat in a bad way just like the night before. RJ wasn't going to let that happened a 2nd night and untied the dingy to ensure she didn't leave. He had to untie it before he threw her in or she would have fallen into the dingy that was tied up. I believe he untied it at least a minute or two before she went in. If the dingy was any where near her she would have found a way to get into.The dingy sides are difficult to climb over but the back where the motor is almost like a foot hold. She would have figured it out even in a panic. The dingy was not there when she went in. Marti what do you think?


  12. Marti,
    To add to my last post. All this happened around 11p.m. in the winter. I believe that the last shore boat stops running at 11 pm which they both would have know that. Rj untying the dingy at that time and no other boats available to take her to shore would ensure she didn't get off the boat. I don't think he initially meant for her to go into the water but she probably went nuts on him for releasing the dingy, then he snapped and she went in.


  13. Interesting point of view. It is perhaps no other has come. But ..... plausible throughout.

  14. He didn't object to her leaving the first time, why would he care if she left again? Isn't the objective to keep her and Walken apart? When you say she probably went "nuts" on him it makes it seem as if Natalie was the catalyst for her death instead of the victim of horrific, narcisstic, rage.

  15. well the dinghy bumpers are there to protect the dinghy from a boat dock mainly, so you can tie it up tighter to the dock without fear of a splinter or something puncturing the rubber. Just makes it more stable.
    But tied up to the boat they wouldn't have been used because the bumpers would have made noise, not the dinghy.
    Not to mention usually a dinghy like that is tied by one line off the stern and allowed to float back a few feet from the boat never touching it. It would never be tied up tight to the swim step because it would wind up under it most likely.
    I could very well have been tied up to the port side depending on which way the boat was facing but either tied up to the side or tied up with one line and floating away from the stern but I seriously doubt tied up tight to the swim step.

    As far as the wind, it was rather calm that night because where they were is on the Lee side of the Island.
    I was there in a much smaller boat at Fishermans Cove and it was quite calm where we were even though you could look out and see white caps out well past Bird Rock.

  16. I too was intrigued by the detail of the dinghy being tied with two lines at the stern. I have worked in the past on commercial fishing boats, off the shores of Western Australia. This area has been nicknamed "the shipwreck coast", there is little protection from friendly bays and coves, and many fishing boats are anchored off beaches of the open ocean. Point is, there is often chop and rough weather, in winter and summer alike, and dinghies are always tied "loose" - trailing the boat by a line, not tied up too close.

    But that is kind of irrelevant. A skipper can tie a dinghy however he best sees fit. My query about the dinghy is this - how does a dinghy "come loose" ? Dinghies do not come loose. Any deckhand or skipper uses the appropriate knot, and knows them pretty darn well. I can tie a cleat hitch or a bowline in my sleep, drunk, sober, or standing on my head. These knots DO NOT COME LOOSE.

    So if the dinghy came loose, it was let loose. My scenario? She went into the water. She grabbed a trailing line on the dinghy. Then the dinghy was let loose, with her clinging to it. Just my two cents.

  17. Just a comment about Natalie having socks and no other footwear:
    If she had some kind of slip-ons for shuffling/walking around on deck these would slip off in the water. In the day you would wear these without socks and in the evening with socks.
    I'll research some pics of Natalie on the bought and see if they reveal her footwear.
    I definitely think RWagner knows exactly how and when she ended up in the water. But the socks "clue" isn't really foolproof.

  18. More on socks and footwear....
    I am sure Dennis would know exactly what kind of footwear Natalie would wear on the back deck and elsewhere on the boat.. I would guess that a woman on a boat who had a range of occasions: shopping, dining, partying, playing with kids, lounging... would have an array of different shoes and not just stick to deck shoes that lace up. 
    So if footwear is a relevant issue for discussion about whether Natalie was pushed or forced into the water, maybe we should be asking more probing questions.
    So rather than asking what might she wear if she was forced on deck in her nightgown, emotionally assuming several things, thus limiting the possibilities, start by asking what would she normally wear on her feet if she wanted to go on the back deck.
    Maybe she kept a pair of slip-ons actually on the deck. Were they missing? (... would have been one of the zillions of questions I would of asked as an investigator!)
    I know, we want the scenario to be that she would not go on the deck just in her socks therefore she was forced. Though this is very likely, we must still be open to alternative scenarios and possibilities because that's how revelations surface.
    A good detective while understanding and empathizing with emotional aspects of an investigation does not get emotionally blindsided to solving one possibility but looks at many angles and asks many questions.
    I loved GNGS for the unhurried investigative care it took to get this far and it has invited passionate readers like myself to take a "fresh" look and ask more questions.
    Brilliant work, Marti!!!!

  19. Typo on my 2.16am comment:
    Please read on the boat (not bought).