John Wayne

John Wayne’s Wild Goose: What to Know About the Duke’s Yacht

Nearly 60 years after John Wayne purchased the Wild Goose, we’re taking a look at all the details about the Duke’s 136-foot Navy minesweeper converted yacht.

According to a Vanity Fair article about the Wild Goose in 2017, John Wayne would travel to sea with various celebrities on the yacht. This includes Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. While speaking to the media outlet about his adventures on the yacht, Ethan Wayne discussed his father’s interest in being on the water with some rare snapshots. “Where he really lived his life was on boats. Or on the beach.”

John Wayne’s son also observed that while his movie icon father was on the boat, he would take a break from the “unique pressures” he expected as a working actor. “When he got on the boat, he could let all that go.”

When asked who would be a guest on the Wild Goose, the son of John Wayne recalled “Frank Sinatra would come around. Sammy Davis Jr. would charter the boat. Tom Jones would charter the boat, America the band. Or Dennis Wilson [from The Beach Boys]. He was around everyone. He was a huge, huge star. My dad went to the beach with the father of surfing. It doesn’t get any more legitimate than that.”

John Wayne’s Son Shares More Details About His Family’s Adventures on the Wild Goose 

As he continued to recall the adventures he and his other family members experienced on the Wild Goose, Wayne’s son Ethan said, He took me with him because he knew once I become a teenager, I’d kind of leave him for a while. He said, ‘Boys leave when they’re teenagers. They don’t come back until they’re in their 30s. And I won’t be there for Ethan when he comes back. So I’m gonna take him with me now.”

According to the Orange Country Register, Wayne purchased The Wild Goose in 1965 and sold the yacht before his death in 1979 to a Los Angeles attorney. Decades later, the boat, which anchored in Newport Beach, was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 2011. The boat has had more than $3 million in renovations done to it since John Wayne’s ownership. Hornblower Cruises, an owner of the boat, purchased it in 1997. The company says it has since tried to maintain its “historic integrity.” 

Chandler Bell, Director of Marine Operations at Hornblower said, “We wanted to preserve the history of the vessel. We felt the boat deserved it.”

Bert Minshall, who was a deckhand for the ship in 1963 and became the ship’s captain in the 70s, spoke about the ship’s changes and renovations. This includes the decor. “Mr. Wayne would never have had that stuff on board.”

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