‘This boat belongs in Canada’: Yacht nerds fret over sale of historic B.C. vessel
Gordie Levett’s first job was paperboy, dragging a canvas bag full of afternoon editions of the Vancouver Province around his West Vancouver neighbourhood. Levett had his regular customers, the tippers, the cheapskates and the in-betweens, but the most memorable was Perth McIntyre, a slim, slow-talking, white-haired sea captain. McIntyre’s home overlooked the water. The boat he captained was the Taconite, the finest private yacht in the Pacific Northwest, commissioned by William Boeing, the Seattle aviation pioneer whose company built seaplanes — and classic wooden yachts — in the old Boeing plant on Vancouver’s waterfront in the 1930s.
“When the Taconite was coming and going it would go right by the McIntyre house in West Vancouver,” Levett says. “Captain McIntyre would blow the boat’s horn, as if to say, ‘See you later.’ That memory always stuck with me. My family lived near the water, so I was always around boats, and one day I bought a boat and then I bought a bigger boat — and then a bigger boat.”
The former paperboy grew up to be president of Pacific Coach Lines, a bus service operating between Vancouver and Victoria, and in 1987 he bought the Taconite — for a sum he declines to disclose. Levett sold the boat in June to a mysterious foreign buyer for an equally mysterious sum (rumoured to be $1 million), triggering a panic among Taconite’s old deckhands and classic yacht-loving B.C. captains — including Levett himself — who fear that a West Coast jewel is poised to sail away for good.