Wings & Water: First Loves: Ferry Tale

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During its heyday in the early 20th century, a wooden runabout named Wild Goose did a bustling business ferrying passengers around Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. Wooden boats were a common sight on the lake then, and they still appear there every August, when the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation hosts its annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance and Wooden Boat Week. Last summer, about 120 antique craft made their way to the event.


The south shore of Lake Tahoe is a busy place, but the north shore remains a fairly pristine environment dominated by Mount Pluto (elevation 8,600 feet). Six years ago, a group called East West Partners began developing four properties there—a ski village, a residential ski community, and two golf communities—under the name Tahoe Mountain Resorts. In 2000, the group redesigned a restaurant on the lake, fashioning it with teak and mahogany after the runabouts that had cruised the area decades ago. They named the restaurant Wild Goose.


Greg Traxler, a vice president at East West, and his colleagues wanted to ferry people around the lake again, but Wild Goose had been scuttled long ago. “We looked for a boatbuilder that could make something close to Wild Goose,” Traxler says, “and discovered that Grand-Craft fit the bill. Even better, we learned that the company’s 36-foot Commuter has an enclosed cabin, just like Wild Goose. So we commissioned Grand-Craft to make the resemblance even stronger, mainly by enlarging the aft deck.” The boat, of course, was named Wild Goose II.

Last August, Wild Goose II was christened at the 34th annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance, in Carnelian Bay on the lake’s north side. The 11,000-pound Commuter, which reaches 50 mph and can carry as many as 20 people, flew the banner of Tahoe Mountain Resorts. “People kept asking us when the boat was made, expecting us to say the 1950s,” Traxler recalls. “When we told them it was three days old, they were surprised, to say the least.”

Tahoe Mountain Resorts



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