Following in John Wayne’s Footsteps

“So what made you buy her?”, my friend asks the man relaxing with a cigarette on the aft deck. “Philosophically or practically?”, he replies. We both sit down, mesmerized by the storyteller before us.



Norwester – photo credit Voyages Northwest

During the next 20 minutes, the owner of the Northwester revealed , a great story of how he came to be the owner of John Wayne’s 76′ boat. He had been receiving emails from a search he created on A boat built between 1920 – 1950 was the main criteria of his search. When he received a notice that the Northwester, built in 1932 was for sale, he asked a yacht broker-friend to check out her specifications.

But the pieces of synchronicity were already shifting, aligning themselves into perfect order so that he would become the new owner of this boat even though he lived in Pennsylvania and she resided on the other side of the country in Washington state.

During the time that her current owner has cared for her, Norwester has been restored to her former glory by peeling off layers of superfluous decorating by previous owners more enamoured with her pedigree then by the lady herself.

Inside Norwester

Norwester’s current owner has become a history buff trying to gather information about her past. He has captured this information in several binders which were on display at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival last weekend. Unpretentious, strong bones with walls that could tell stories – Northwester is a classic, wooden beauty well -suited to her current owner.

Look for her in the southern Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands where she spends her summers. If all goes as planned, you may see her on her way to Alaska next summer with charter guests on board in her elegant embrace.

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