April 17, 2021

Classic Yacht Sinking in San Juan

A 1932 wooden build 22 meter Explorer went aground in San Juan, near Stuart Island, on the West side of Prevost Harbour on April 17. The traditional explorer yacht was carrying eight passengers and a dog, when a MayDay was called. An eight meter Lifeproof Patrol Vessel was immediately on the scene rescuing the eight persons and a dog ten minutes after the call. The 22 meter yacht had a gash of about one foot in the lower part of the hull.
Titled Norwester this classic 76 feet explorer yacht was build by Willis J. Read in 1932 to a design of Frank Mudro. This yacht has a colourful history from being commissioned by New York millionaire Charles Gilbert during the Great Depression, to later serving as a Patrol Boat for US Navy during World War II in the forties, to then being owned in the fifties and sixties by John Wayne.  The current owners have owned the yacht for the last three years.
UPDATE: Current owners Rick and Jackie Rutherford have opened the Norwester Foundation to rescue the yacht with $250000 needed to salvage from sinking and $1500000 for repairs.  M/Y Norwester was still adrift as on May 10 in the Salish Sea.  According to reports the keel of the yacht is not intact anymore and rescue operation is now deemed hard if not impossible.  

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