Classic yachts visit Poulsbo this weekend

MV Olympus at the Port of Poulsbo this weekend. - Donna Etchey / Herald
MV Olympus at the Port of Poulsbo this weekend.
— image credit: Donna Etchey / Herald

POULSBO — See some floating beauties this weekend at the Port of Poulsbo — more than 30 classic yachts are in town.

The Pacific Fleet of classics has docked for the 16th annual Poulsbo Classic Yacht Rendezvous, Friday through Sunday. Boats will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Featured is the MV Olympus, launched in 1929. President Harry Truman, actor Al Pacino and comedian Robin Williams are among the notables who have been guests aboard the Olympus (according to the Olympus website, the president signed the log, "Harry Truman, Independence, MO, Temporary Address 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.")

The Olympus was launched on May 14, 1929 at the New York Yacht, Launch and Engine Company yard in Morris Heights, N.Y. At the time of her launching, her name was "Junaluska" in honor of a beautiful lake in North Carolina contained within the vast land holdings where her first owner, George Callendine Heck, spent his childhood summers.

The yacht was purchased by George Converse and his wife, former silent film star Mary Stuart, in the 1930s. "Both experienced and able yachters, they bring the yacht on her own hull from the east coast, through the Panama Canal to her new home in Southern California," according to the Olympus website.

The yacht was used as a prop in the Shirley Temple movie "Captain January" and the Claudette Colbert/Rudy Vallee movie "The Palm Beach Story." The yacht was conscripted into service as a Navy Patrol vessel in the 1940s, then after the war was purchased by the State of Washington for use as the Governor's Yacht.

From the 1950s on, the yacht has been privately owned, first as a corporate yacht. The current owners, the VanDerbeeks, have restored and refurbished the yacht and her systems, including a new stem, replanking, re-wiring, re-roofing, and rebuilding and modernizing the galley.

Today, M.V. Olympus is used frequently by her owner to support charitable and environmental causes.

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