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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.
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 email@example.com.