Historical yacht towed to save haven after dragging anchor, running aground

PORT HADLOCK — A historical vessel built in 1909 was towed to the Port Townsend Boat Haven on Thursday morning after running aground in Port Hadlock on Wednesday.

About 60 volunteers and three boats helped move the 92-foot Lotus after high winds caused it to dislodge from its mooring, said Capt. Roger Slade of Vessel Assist.

The wooden yacht, which has a design inspired by the double-deck steamships that frequented Puget Sound from the 1850s to the 1930s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It had broken its chain mooring near the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building and blown ashore southeast of the Alcohol Plant Lodge & Marina, said Michael Bosold of Port Townsend, who was aboard the Seawulff, one of three boats that helped moved the Lotus.

Christian Gruye owns the Lotus, she said Thursday by cellphone.

She planned to call back with more information, but no further word was heard that day.

The three vessels involved in the boat’s rescue were the Cascade and the Negotiator, owned by Vessel Assist of Port Hadlock, which supervised the action, and the Seawulff, under the control of Capt. Jack Peacock.

The plan was to wait until high tide, scheduled for 5:31 a.m. Thursday, to move the boat.

For this to occur, there was much preparation needed, Slade said.

About 60 volunteers from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, Sound Experience — which operates the schooner Adventuress — and other organizations gathered at about 10 p.m. Wednesday night and began preparing for the move.

This included clearing an egress for the vessel by digging a path and moving any obstructions, Slade said.

The vessel will be repaired at the Boat Haven before being towed back to its Hadlock mooring, Slade said.

A 2010 article in American Bungalow magazine gave this account of the history of the Lotus:

The Lotus was built in 1909 for Maurice McMicken, a prominent Seattle attorney, politician and newspaper publisher who wanted to travel the Inland Passage with his family and friends.

It is one of a kind, built the best it could be with the finest materials available, the magazine said.

The vessel was purchased by Curtiss Gruye, Christian’s father, in 1959, and the family spent summers living on the boat.

Once the three children were grown, the boat was sold to a Puget Sound historian, though Gruye had immediate seller’s remorse and asked for first refusal if the buyer ever wanted to sell, according to the magazine.

A few years later, the buyer called the family, and they bought the boat back with the sale money that had not been spent.

After displaying the vessel at festivals and exhibitions, including the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, the family again sold the boat in 1998 to a couple who wanted to operate it as a bed-and-breakfast.

The cost was prohibitive, so the purchaser returned the boat to the Gruye family, this time as a gift.

The vessel has many luxury features, including a chandelier in the main saloon and two fully appointed bathrooms with claw-foot tubs.

It also includes mahogany inlays, Douglas fir floors and exposed beams in the ceiling, according to the magazine.

The boat is now fragile, Slade said.

“We were very careful pulling it off the shore,” he said.

“We could have easily just yanked it out, but if we had done that, it could have come apart.”

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

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