John Wayne’s First Yacht

Before heading home from some errands yesterday, I decided to swing by the Wooden Boat Festival.

I didn’t think I’d probably spend much time there, but I quickly and quite easily got distracted by all things nautical. I just love boats, and mix in a bit of history, and I am so into it.

Volunteers with the Center for Wooden Boats organize it every year. Vendors and boat enthusiasts converge on Lake Union Park near the center and the future home of the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI).

Several boats and yachts are moored on the docks. Most are open for public tours throughout the day. Many are privately owned.

One such boat, the Norwester, was owned for eight years by none other than John Wayne. It was his first yacht.

There is some Wayne memorabilia on board, including the log books from his time as the owner. Among Wayne’s guests onboard were Ray Milland and Bette Davis.

A few photos of Wayne captaining adorn the walls. A John Wayne version of the Monopoly board game was laying upside down in the pilothouse.

I spoke with the owner’s daughter, who was on hand with her husband and children to help with the tours. The current captain, and likely the owner, is King Graver. The boat is available for charter, so if you want to plan an excursion somewhere you can do it just as the Duke would have so many years ago.



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