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Credit: Bonnie Schiffman

Charlie Munger: Owner of the former world’s largest catamaran dies at 99

4 December 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

American billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger has died aged 99. According to a statement released by the conglomerate, he passed peacefully at a hospital in California (28 November). 

In the same statement, CEO Warren Buffett commented: "Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation."

Charlie Munger (right) pictured with Warren Buffett
Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Munger was the owner of the 25.9-metre Channel Cat, which he built alongside Captain King Williams in the late 90s. The two met by chance in Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara and became "unlikely all[ies]", as the story is told in Janet Lowe's biography on the billionaire. The three-year project sprang from a conversation between the pair: "Charlie once asked me, 'King, if you could do anything in the world, what would it be?' I said I'd build the biggest catamaran I could and sail off across that ocean and you'd never see me again." 

Credit: Channel Cat Charters

Williams succeeded: Channel Cat was, however briefly, the world's largest catamaran upon her delivery in early 1999. She then embarked on her maiden voyage –  7,300 miles in the middle of hurricane season – before landing safely at Santa Barbara Harbor, where she still lies available for charter. While Munger never admitted how much Channel Cat cost, total expenditures were estimated at $6 million.

Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011. He was also chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation. He is survived by his six children.

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