Now there are two places in Newport Beach to see John Wayne’s yacht.
Wild Goose, the late actor’s 136-foot World War II minesweeper turned pleasure craft, now sits in miniature inside a case at the Lido House hotel. The roughly 5-foot-long illuminated model is a statement piece in the hotel’s lobby, showing the boat in fine detail down to the outboard motor of its tender, the stripes on its life rings, and a green card table, a nod to one of Wayne’s pastimes.
Lido House owner Bob Olson, who commissioned the model, celebrated its unveiling Wednesday evening with Wayne family members and the actor’s friend and boat captain, Bert Minshall, who told stories about the screen legend.
Wayne lived in Newport Beach from the early 1960s until his death in 1979, raising his younger children there. The real Wild Goose remains docked in Newport Harbor, less than a mile from Lido House, and is now owned and operated by Hornblower Cruises for private events.
Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s youngest son, said his father was grateful to his fans but cherished his quiet time aboard his boat.
“It gave my father, who was pretty high-profile, a place of respite,” he said.
Olson approached Newport Beach Mayor Marshall Duffield — who runs a side business building ship models and was a neighbor of John Wayne in the Bayshores neighborhood as a boy — with the idea of building the miniature Wild Goose for the recently opened Balboa Peninsula hotel.
The model took about four months to build, using original line drawings and family photos to re-create how it looked in the 1960s.
Ethan Wayne and his younger sister Marisa told of stubbing their toes on padeyes (line attachment points on the boat), leaping from the bow into the water, shadowing Minshall and playing cards with John Wayne and his friends.
“Every time I dream about my dad we’re on the boat,” Marisa Wayne said. “I love it, because those were some of the happiest times of my life, on that boat.”