The Triton


Compass Rose videographer dies


Ted Ritter, founder of Compass Rose Productions that made videos for charter yachts and sales, passed away peacefully on Nov. 8 aboard his beloved 42-foot trawler Compass Rose in Ft. Lauderdale. He was 72.

Mr. Ritter, along with his younger brothers, James and David, was born into a Navy family that moved frequently, especially during his early, formative years. After living in Norfolk, Va., and around Southern California, Preston Raymond Ritter and Vivian Carmean Ritter, who preceded him in death, settled the family in Coronado, Calif., from 1955 to 1964 where he graduated from high school in 1961 at age 17.

It was in Coronado, beginning at age 12, that Mr. Ritter was introduced to what would become his lifelong love of boats, sailing, and all things nautical. Sabot racing success was soon followed by a move to Penguin class where he became national junior champion at age 14. From there he joined a cadre of Olympic contenders in Finn class, and then on to Laser class where, in the late 1970s, he eventually served as director of North American operations, coordinating Laser class championship competitions and regattas.


Ted Ritter, founder of Compass Rose Productions that made videos for charter yachts and sales, passed away peacefully on Nov. 8.

Mr. Ritter joined the U.S. Coast Guard immediately after high school graduation. Upon completion of a rigorous 36-week Sonar ‘A‘ school at Naval Training Center in San Diego, he served aboard 95-foot USCG cutters in San Francisco and Bodega Bay from 1962-65.

His release from active duty and his love of boats and sailing drew him to San Francisco where he served as assistant harbor master for San Francisco Bay. Also, while in the Bay Area, he attended Heald School of Architecture and Engineering in a five-year architectural master’s degree program.

After years of working for boating magazines, including Yachting, Wooden Boat and Cruising World and living aboard his original Compass Rose, a 40-foot cruising tugboat in Newport Beach, Calif., Mr. Ritter moved to Montreal for work. A few years in Montreal’s freezing weather was all he could take, so he moved to Ft. Lauderdale where he launched his career as a marine videographer and formed his own company.

Mr. Ritter resided and worked, most recently as a Las Olas bridge tender, in Ft. Lauderdale for the remainder of his days.

Capt. David Hendry first met Ted Ritter in the early 1970s. Comments are welcome at

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4 thoughts on “Compass Rose videographer dies

  1. James "Jim" Ritter

    My sincerest heartfelt thanks to David Hendry and The Triton for the timely publishing this tribute obituary to my brother, Ted Ritter.
    Thank you,
    Jim Ritter
    Fort Bragg, CA

  2. George Monteiro

    Ted was a good friend and business associate. We shared a love for the sea and boats. We helped each other out on many marine productions. We always touched based every week or two to share thoughts and to see how each other was doing. I hadn’t heard from him in a few weeks and started leaving messages on his email and phone with no reply. I was doing that tonight when I decided to do a Google search and found his obituary in your journal. I was so sad to read the news. He was a kind and gentle man without a mean bone in his body. Now I wish I had stayed in closer touch. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. God bless you my friend you will be deeply missed. George

  3. Morgan Thompson

    I am an actress and TV host that worked with Ted on several projects including “Sailboat Showcase” on the Water Channel TV Network. The Water Channel was, unfortunately, short lived but Ted’s influence, friendship, and support will last forever.

  4. Pamela McClendon

    Jim, so sorry to learn of your brother’s passing. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

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