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Blog | A Classic Luxury Motor Yacht Sets Sail for New York

March 6, 2017

A Classic Luxury Motor Yacht Sets Sail for New York

The classic motor yacht Olympus, which has been docked near Seattle, Washington for over 70 years, was recently sold for an undisclosed price, and she departed out of Lake Union through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, bound for New York, on February 26.

According to local news reports, Diane Lander, the former owner, and well known member of the Seattle Yacht Club, was among the dignitaries and the general public who gathered at the locks to “wave goodbye” to the classic luxury motor yacht, as she left Morrison’s North Star Marine Fuel Dock in Lake Union, for the last time.

Olympus was originally built in 1929 by the New York Yacht, Launch & Engine Co. At that time, the 97-foot teak and mahogany yacht was named Junaluska and was built for George Heck, then president of the New York Stock Exchange.

Lander and her husband John VanDerbeek, bought the classic wooden yacht from Newport, Oregon owner, Norman Halliday in 1994, for a reported price of $500,000. Lander says they spent a fortune restoring it from stem to stern. “We put in several millions of dollars, and we loved her. We used her for our own personal use a lot, and we also chartered her out and we donated her for dinners and cruises to charities as well.” She adds, “For 24 years I’ve put my heart and soul into this boat, and it is very hard letting her go.”

Olympus has been a fixture in and around Puget Sound, and has captivated many thousands of people at wooden boat gatherings throughout the Salish Sea.

Historic Motor Yacht Returns to Her Roots

Lander would not disclose who bought Olympus, nor the price. All she would say is that “he is a New Yorker,” and that “he loves history and has restored a 1700s house on the Hudson River.” So, in a very real way, Olympus will be returning to her roots.  She was originally built on the Hudson River and, now almost 90 years later, she is “going home.”

The unique motor yacht, built during the halcyon days of American yacht building, was owned by several upscale East Coast residents before she was bought by George Converse, commodore of the Newport Beach Yacht Club and husband to silent movie star Anita Stewart. He took the boat through the Panama Canal and brought it to Newport Beach in 1938. Lander says that in the 1940s, she was conscripted by the Navy during WWII to search for enemy submarines in the waters between Prince Rupert, B.C., and Ketchikan, Alaska.

MV Olympus 3

After the war, she was sold at auction to then Governor of Washington, Monrad Wallgren, and she has been in the Pacific Northwest ever since, passing through the hands of several well-known owners.

The venerable yacht can cruise 3,000 miles on 1,600 gallons of fuel at a speed of 10 knots, says Lander. The yacht can accommodate eight guests in four cabins: a master suite, VIP suite, a double and a twin, all with bathroom facilities, and all located in the aft portion of the yacht.

Olympus 2

Motor Yachts From the Classics to the Ultra Modern

If you are in the market for a classic motor yacht, such as Olympus, why not take a look at Checkmate, a fabulous Burger Yacht. If you prefer something a bit more contemporary, take a look at Big E, our current Yacht of the Week, reduced for sale!

Whatever kind of motor yacht you are looking for, from the old world craftsmanship of the wooden classics, to the ultra-modern, you can find your literal “dreamboat” among our broker listings, and, for a unique “try it before you but it” experience, check out our yacht charter fleet!

Checkmate - A Classic Motor Yacht of Our Own for Sale!

Checkmate – A Classic Motor Yacht of Our Own for Sale!


It’s not always easy to stay on top of what’s new in motor yachts. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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