Weird and wacky Washington has a little secret that you probably don’t know. And that is that it is home to The Norwester, a wooden yacht formerly owned by film icon John Wayne. However, it is sadly sinking into Puget Sound after a tragic accident in April 2021.

The Norwester has a long history, it was built in 1932 and used as a patrol boat during World War II before being sold to John Wayne.

In 2020 Rick and Jackie Rutherford decided to purchase the boat and restore it not realizing what an expense the purchase would be. So they decided to use it as a luxury charter experience to help fund the John Wayne Foundation for cancer treatment.

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john wayne

Photo via The Norwester Foundation

The Norwester had just finished being restored when the Rutherfords took it out for a final test spin. Sadly on this voyage, they hit a cropping of unmarked rocks which sank the ship, leaving no one physically hurt. This has left the future of the boat unclear as it’s continued to sink further and further during the three-plus weeks it’s been submerged. And as you might imagine, removing the boat and its second restoration will cost a lot, we’re talking in the millions.

So we have to say we’ll be intrigued to see what happens because if this were any other boat it would already be destined for scrap. And we’re sure John Wayne isn’t too happy about this if he’s looking down on his old boat. If you’d like to learn more about The Norwester you can click here.