Northwest Nautical History – M/V Westward

Thanks to ThreeSheets NW and John Sabella for this post on a ship with close ties to Port Townsend.

The Ted Geary-designed M/V Westward is arguably the most famous motor yacht ever launched on Puget Sound.

Built by Campbell Church, Sr. in 1924, the vessel pioneered the Alaska excursion trade from the 1920s to the 1950s as she ferried early 20th-century business leaders and celebrities as far as the Pribilof Islands to hunt bear, mountain goat, even whales. Impressed into military duty during World War II, she languished in the Sacramento River Delta throughout the 1940s. After being purchased by radio pioneer Don Gumpertz in the 1970s, she made a five-year circumnavigation around the world, still powered by her original Atlas Imperial engine.

Hugh Reilly, owner of a fleet of Alaska fishing vessels, bought her in the early 1990s and put her back in the Alaska excursion trade before embarking on a circumnavigation of the Pacific in 2009. Today, she is in pristine condition as she steams toward her second century.

The video above is an excerpt from John Sabella’s documentary “Throwbacks to a Golden Age of Northwest Boats.” A more detailed portrait of the boat can be seen in Sabella’s documentary “Westward in the 21st Century.”

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