- Pacific Northwest
Yonder was laid up in 1928 at the Hoffar-Beeching Shipyards in Vancouver, BC. She has a deep entry forward and is a heavily built full-displacement cruiser which has served her well over the years.
According to legend, W.S. Day, who would later become the fourteenth Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, was touring the Hoffar Beeching yard when he saw a fishing boat under construction. He was in the market for a yacht and somehow a deal was struck to complete the vessel as a yacht. She was christened Northern Light and would years later be renamed Yonder. Day enjoyed his power yacht from 1928 to 1936.
It is told that at some point during construction Yonder was used to test Boeing engines. This could explain why there are so many through-hull fittings in the engine room. During the refit (in 1959?) she had twenty five fittings replaced or plugged. Today you can still see an indication of where engines were dropped in, from above, through the ceiling. Ultimately, Henry Hoffar would sell Hoffar-Beeching Shipyards to the Boeings of Seattle.
When W.S. Day purchased his yacht, she was fitted with a two hundred horsepower Hall-Scott engine. This was equivalent to a Rolls Royce engine and would propel the vessel in excess of twelve knots.
Day sold Yonder to C.P. Schwenger in 1936. There is a lapse in Yonder’s history until 1944 when the Sangster family purchased the vessel and installed a Buda diesel engine. These engines were being used in the buses that the Blue Line Bus Company operated. Since Mr. Sangster owned the company, certain economies for parts and maintenance suggest themselves. The Sangsters were avid yachters and used the vessel each summer to travel to their Twin Island retreat. Monty Love was an adopted son of the Sangsters and he passed along much of the early history that is known about Yonder.
Yonder’s history from 1948 to 1951 is again obscure except for the fact that her name was changed from Northern Light to Trasnagh II.
In 1951 a local barrister by the name of Claude Lionel Harrison purchased the vessel and renamed her Yonder. Claude was a bit of a local character – he often wore a full cape with a maroon lining. He enjoyed the boat to its fullest and many good tales from these years are still told. One alleged incident occurred while a group was en-route to Desolation Sound. The group left Victoria in the late afternoon, intending to travel all night with the aid of some liquid nourishment. As the evening drew on, the adventurers drifted off to sleep, leaving no one at the helm. As the light of day dawned, they were greeted by the sight of the south face of the cliffs off James Island. They had run aground on the previous night’s tide and sat there, the engine idling gently. Fortunately, the sloping sandy approach precluded any damage to the vessel. The only casualties were wounded pride and some aching heads.
In 1959 Yonder was re-powered again with a British-built diesel, a B&W Dawe. This engine was known as a Tunney “Empress” and one of a trio of engines named respectively as the “Empress,” the “Queen,” and the “Princess.”
Ted and Elsa Cox of Sidney became the owners of Yonder in 1969. During the next eighteen years they were seen cruising up and down the coast, utilizing the vessel as much as they possibly could. Yonder was sold to Ron van Stolk of Sidney, who quickly resold it to Joe Wood of Pacific Western Airlines. Captain Wood purchased the vessel with the intention of retiring on board and began an extensive refit of the boat. During the five years that Wood owned the vessel, most of the time was spent doing work to improve the on-board amenities. He practically rebuilt the entire interior.
Joe Wood regretfully sold Yonder to Terri and Rick Soley of Sidney, who continued the task of restoration. Yonder’s mechanical systems were redone, and additional hot water heaters for winter cruising were installed. The aft deck was fitted with a canopy that can be heated by her big Dickinson stove. Yonder also received a new mast and boom.
In 1999 Peter and Meredith Wagner of Port Ludlow, WA became the first U.S. owners of Yonder. Coincidentally, former owner Ron Van Stolk brokered the sale between the Wagners and the Soleys. Shortly after the purchase of Yonder, the Tunney Empress threw a rod and she needed to be re-powered once again. A Volvo 200 horsepower turbo engine was chosen with a nod to the original 200 horsepower Hall Scott engine. For the next several years work was done by the Wagners for a full overhaul of Yonder. With the help of a knowledgeable team of marine tradesmen in the Port Townsend area she has been refastened and re-caulked. In addition, all her handrails and decks have been replaced and several other systems have been upgraded. The Wagners cruise throughout the Puget Sound and the Gulf Islands and enjoy running into boaters who have known Yonder through the years. Today Yonder is a solid and seaworthy vessel ready for any destination.
Peter and Meredith Wagner