Coronado Skipper Robert ‘Baines' Haines Dead at 92

Robert Haines, who dedicated a majority of his life to the sea, including 35 years with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, died last month, it was reported today. He was 92.

During his career with the institution, Haines rose from deckhand to captain and witnessed an atomic bomb blast, charted through the eye of a hurricane and encountered an underwater volcano, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

His last request, jotted on a sticky note, was that his ashes be spread in the Pacific Ocean, at a specific longitude and latitude midway between Coronado and the Coronado islands, according to the Union-Tribune. He died on Jan. 26.

Robert Bentley Haines, also known as "Baines'' to family and friends, was born on Aug. 31, 1926, in Vallejo. His father was a submarine officer and frequently moved the family.

Haines spent time in Coronado as a boy and learned to sail on Glorietta Bay.

During World War II, he dropped out of school to enlist in the Navy. Serving on the battleship Iowa, he fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in Tokyo Bay witnessed Japan's surrender.

After returning to Coronado, he finished his high school studies, worked odd jobs and joined the Coronado Yacht Club. In 1950, he took a job at Scripps as a deckhand and, besides a yearlong interruption, he worked there in various sea-going capacities until 1985.

In 1952, while aboard the research vessel Spencer F. Baird, he witnessed the detonation of the hydrogen bomb above Eniwetok, a Pacific island.

On passage through the Panama Canal, the skipper used his spare time to craft an 8-foot Sabot-class sailboat. On his return to San Diego, he gave it to his son, Robbie.

The present helped launch a great sailing career -- in the 1984 Olympics, Robbie Haines and two others would sail a Soling-class vessel to a gold medal.

Back in Coronado, Robert Haines married Barbara Reynolds in 1953 and had four children.

"He was just a wonderful man,'' Robbie's wife Amy Haines told the Union-Tribune. "He was very humble -- he didn't think of any of what he had done was important or interesting. We did.''

After retiring from Scripps in 1985, Haines devoted himself to sailing -- he was a Coronado Yacht Club member -- as well as spending time playing golf and with his family.

The family will hold a private memorial ceremony. In lieu of flowers, they have requested donations to the Coronado Maritime Foundation Junior Program, "In Memory of Bob 'Baines' Haines,'' 1631 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118.

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