In Memoriam: Stan Miller

Founder of Stan Miller Yachts passes away at 91.

LONG BEACH — Stan Miller, the founder of Stan Miller Yachts, has reportedly passed away. Miller died Nov. 17 at Palm Desert, California. He was 91.

The boating industry executive forayed into the world of maritime in the mid-1930s, when he sailed his 8-foot dinghy in Newport Beach Harbor. He actively participated in racing events, rigging and sailboat repair.

Miller, who also served in the U.S. Navy, eventually founded Stan Miller Sailboats with his brother in 1955. Construction began in Seal Beach, where masts, rudders and leeboards were built. This two-level building would later become the Stan Miller Sailboats & Hardware store. Close friend and sail maker Lowell North, who was in the process of developing and growing North Sails, was located upstairs.

The Millers love of sailboat racing continued, and in the early 1970s, Miller and his partners bought a New Zealand-built sailboat Ragtime. Miller would captain Ragtime to racing victories, with two wins of the Transpacific Yacht Race, racing from Los Angeles to Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu. Additional trophies were earned at the Mallory Cup, the California Cup, and other regional sailboat races.

Stan Miller Sailboats later branched into motoryacht sales, with the company being re-named Stan Miller Yachts to reflect their growing market. In 1976, John Buettner joined Stan Miller Yachts as a Licensed and Bonded broker. He and his brother, Brad Buettner, met Stan in 1965, when their family moved to Huntington Beach and purchased their first sailboat from Miller. John Buettner remained a broker at Stan Miller Yachts until 1983, at which time Brad Buettner joined him and the two became partners with Stan Miller until Miller’s retirement in 1989. After his retirement, the Buettners took full control of Stan Miller Yachts and grew the company to be an industry leader for new and brokerage yachts.

Reflecting upon the beginning of their business partnership, Brad Buettner stated, “It was an opportunity to join an industry leader that could not be refused. Over the years, both Stan and Carolyn Miller demonstrated virtues such as kindness, friendship, and enthusiasm for the marine industry that have been instrumental in my development and will have a lifelong impact on me. I will be forever grateful to them for their graciousness and willingness to allow me to be a part of the Stan Miller Yachts legacy.”

Miller is remembered by the entire team at Stan Miller Yachts, his family, friends and the sailing and boating communities of Long Beach, Calif. and Astoria, Ore., as well as the many lives he touched.

Stan Miller Yachts is the West Coast dealer for Hatteras, Mag Bay Yachts, Sanlorenzo and Viking, as well as the California dealer for Back Cove Yachts and Sabre Yachts. Their extensive brokerage sales in cruising yachts, sportfishers, trawlers, express cruisers and sailboats are handled through four offices in Long Beach, Newport Beach, San Diego and Seattle.


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