The Wild Goose by dfgh4bnmu


									     One of 481 vessels in her class, the Motor       She was renamed Wild Goose II by her second                Minshall had this to say about the experience: “The
Minesweeper, designated Yard Mine Sweeper YMS    owner, lumber tycoon May Wyman of Seattle,                      great, aging yacht was the actor’s proudest posses-
328, began with the laying of her keel on July 6,Washington. In 1962 Wyman sold the Wild Goose II                sion as well as a much cherished floating retreat and
                                                                           to a good friend, movie               playground. She was the sort of ship you’d expect
                                                                           legend John Wayne, for                John Wayne to own... big, rugged, comfortable, and
                                                                           the sum of $110,000.                  impressive. Few stars would have had the money or
                                                                           Wayne shortened the                   grit to take on such a formidable pain in the pock-
                                                                           name to simply Wild                   etbook. But for the Duke, owning the Wild Goose
                                                                           Goose.                                capped a life that had been lived to the hilt. She was
                                                                                 Wayne was a big                 more than a status symbol ... she was an extension
                                                                           man and needed exten-                 of himself.”
                                                                           sive changes made to the                     Obviously anyone as famous as John Wayne
                                                                           Wild Goose, which in-                 needed a way to get away from fans and the curi-
                                                                           cluded raising the over-              ous. Wild Goose was a perfect getaway. Wayne
                                                                           head six to eight inches              loved to fish and is reputed to have paid fishing
                                                                           to accommodate his 6’4”               guides as much as $3,000 to guide him to the best
                                                                           height. Wayne added a                 fishing. Bert Minshall was quoted by Ross Ander-
                                                                           wood-burning fireplace,               son as saying, “Wayne was never happier than when
                                                                           a wet bar and a poker                 he was cruising Northwest waters.” Occasionally,
   The YMS 328 which became the luxury yacht, “La Beverie,”                table. The main salon                 he hosted movie stars such as Bob Hope and Julie
                      and later the “Wild Goose”.                          was made larger as were               Andrews. But Minshall was convinced Wayne liked
                                                                           guest cabins and the                  getting away from Hollywood. He said of the Duke,
                                                                           master stateroom. Modi-               “He was a true sportsman who loved to fish and he
1942 at Ballard Marine Railway Company in Seat- fications were made to the heads and children’s cab-             became quite a good fisherman.”
tle, Washington. She was launched in December of ins were added. Remnants of her days on active                        While the Duke enjoyed his family, his son
that year and completed on May 26, 1943. During duty as YMS 328 remained - the original ship’s bell,             Ethan spent much of his early life aboard, and de-

                                          The “Wild Goose”
                                                                                  by Bob Cerullo

World War II she saw service in the Aleutian Islands    old swivel fans, engine telegraph, gyro compass,
sweeping enemy mine fields at Attu and US mine          navigation aids and the ship’s original helm.
fields at Kiska. She patrolled out of Adak. She was           Wayne had a special interest in the ship’s brass
on the way to Dutch Harbor in preparation for the       helm. No one, including the captain, was allowed
invasion of Paramishiru Island in Japan when the        to touch the brass outer rim of the wheel except
atomic bomb ended the war. In October of 1946           John Wayne. It was highly polished and tarnished
YMS 328 was struck from the Naval Vessel Regis-         easily. Captains to this day steer using the spokes
ter and sent to a mothball fleet.                       of the helm without touching the brass.
       Two years later she was sold to Hal Jones of           Wayne is reputed to have once said, “I don’t
Vancouver Tugs and Barge Company in British Co-         trust a man who doesn’t drink”. Fortunately for one
lumbia. Jones converted her to a private yacht. Her     of his captains, Pete Stein, the Duke was willing to
three-inch Douglas fir hull was stripped of her Navy    overlook his drinking problem even when he ran the
gray paint and repainted in gleaming white. The ac-     Wild Goose onto the submerged Zuniga jetty in San
coutrements of a luxury yacht were installed, and       Diego, CA. The damage included tearing off a large
the rough and tumble Y328 became a luxury yacht.        section of the bow, several holes in the hull, a dam-
Cruising through mine-infested water was not the        aged shaft, destruction of both propellers and a
safest job in the world for any vessel. She had no      smashed rudder post. The total cost of repairs came
name since the Navy never bothered to name boats        to $70,000.
of this class of expendable mine sweepers. Then,              The Coast Guard was not as forgiving as the
for the first time in her life, the YMS-328 was given   Duke. Pete was called before a U.S. Coast Guard
a name: La Beverie.                                     Board of Inquiry after which he returned home,
                                                                        poured himself a drink and died of a
                                                                        fatal heart attack. Hearing the news,           Painting of John Wayne aboard
                                                                        the Duke is reputed to have re-
                                                                        marked, “Wouldn’t ya know it that                      the “Wild Goose.”
                                                                        old Peter would beat the rap by
                                                                              Beginning in the late sixties,
                                                                        the Wild Goose, with the Duke            spite the solitude of shipboard life, Wayne did not
                                                                        aboard, became a regular summer-         hesitate to meet with local people and give auto-
                                                                        time fixture in the waters from Seat-    graphs. Ross H. Anderson reporting on his RossInk
                                                                        tle, Washington to the Strait of Juan    blog tells the story of Pete and Sun Hanke and their
                                                                        de Fuca and northward to British         friendship with John Wayne. It seems Pete Hank
                                                                        Columbia and Alaska. One of his          and the Duke met by chance at a dock in Roche
                                                                        captains, Bert Minshall, wrote a         Harbor. The next morning Wayne showed up at the
                                                                        book titled On Board with the Duke.      Roche’s wood-hulled schooner, Alcyone. Wayne
                                                                        In it he recalls how he worked for       asked for the skipper and was soon onboard sipping
                                                                        John Wayne during the last sixteen       coffee in the cabin. A year later they met again at a
          Continued on page 6                                           years of the Duke’s life. Captain

February 2011                                                                                                                  Page 5
                                 The “Wild Goose”                   by Bob Cerullo
Continued from page 5                               ally did not know how to run the
                                                    boat. He did like to run the ski boat
friend’s home. From then on they were fast friends, at full throttle. Minshall recalls his
meeting each summer to talk about wooden boats, only problem was bringing it back
their families and their boating adventures.        alongside the Wild Goose.
      Bert Minshall recalled “Duke always looked              The vessel was slow under-
forward to when we’d pull up alongside the Alycone way with an 11-knot cruising speed.
and catch up with the Hankes. He valued their “Her narrow beam made her an un-
friendship”.                                        comfortable ride while underway,”
      Sue Hanke said of John Wayne: “He was truly Captain Minshall says. She had been
a sweet gentle man and I don’t think he liked pre- built hastily just after Pearl Harbor
tentious people.” He loved to spend time in the probably using green wood, which
wheelhouse. According to Captain Minshall, he re- left her prone to rot and warping.
                                                                        Her crew learned
                                                                        not to shift to re-
                                                                        verse too quickly.
                                                                        Peter Hankes, Jr,         Highly varnished wood adorns the “Wild Goose.”
                                                                        the      son      of             Photos courtesy
                                                                        Wayne’s friend
                                                                        Pete Hankes, spent
                                                                        a year crewing on the Wild Goose. slow death from wood rot. Then in 1991 Newport
                                                                        He says there were overheating Beach resident Deil Gustafson bought the vessel
                                                                        problems with the engines. “Turns and began a major restoration. His goal was to make
                                                                        out, the boat was so limber that she it more luxurious than it was during its previous
                                                                        would twist and turn underway lifetime as a yacht and a kind of tribute to the years
                                                                        and the propeller shaft was bind- she was owned and enjoyed by John Wayne.
                                                                        ing.”                                      Gustafson commissioned several paintings of
                                                                              After John Wayne’s death        John Wayne, including some by his widow, Pilar.
                                                                        and for the next twelve years, the John Wayne memorabilia can be found throughout
 After John Wayne died the “Wild Goose” was restored as Wild Goose humbly swung from the vessel. The Wild Goose is available for charter.
    a cruise ship. Photos courtesy           a mooring at Long Beach Har- For information contact: Urban Desire Cruises, at
                                                                        bor, seemingly destined for a 1-800-922-4813.

Page 6                                                                                                          February 2011

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