Westward exterior picture of starboard side with green pine tree forest in background
Captain bill and guests gather around table aboard westward yacht and look at map of inside passage Alaska to plan their route
interior living room area aboard historic yacht westward green and wooden couch in front of black iron fireplace
Travelers relaxing on the back deck of the westward in wicker chairs and american flag.
Westward cabin 1 with one large bed and twin bunk bed, couch and closet.
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year built
86 feet
18.8 feet
9.5 feet
cruising speed
8 knots

Westward is a historic 8-guest yacht that is “arguably Seattle’s most famous motor yacht,” yet off the radar of most travelers making her a unique gem. She is listed with the US National Register of Historic Places and remains dependably powered by her original Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine. Westward’s historical and adventurous spirit enriches the voyages of those who are lucky enough to cruise the waters of Alaska and Baja California with her.

Westward Review 

AdventureSmith Explorations’ Westward review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Our small ship experts have been aboard the Westward firsthand. Please read our Westward review below then contact our small ship cruise experts to compare the Westward with other expedition ships and yachts offering Baja cruises, and small ship Alaska cruises.

Choose this small ship for a quiet, nature-based refuge from the world while experiencing in-depth exploration of Baja, or Alaska. Several factors make a voyage aboard the Westward unique including the historic nature of the yacht itself, the remarkably talented crew, the pace and depth of exploration, and the quiet calm of the yacht at anchor. Another key feature is the opening windows and portholes that allow guests to hear the sounds of leaping rays, breathing whales and bird song from the dawning shore. This connection with the natural world is a hallmark of cruising aboard the Westward, and what ranks among our luxury Alaska cruises and top Alaska yacht charters.

Note that the Westward’s four cabins accommodate 8 guests, but that the yacht can accommodate more passengers (up to 11) for private charter cruises or families who want to share a cabin.

Common Areas Aboard Westward 

Westward is a classic yacht that feels cozy with her wood paneling and intimate dining and lounge area. With wicker chairs, a large table and hot and cold beverage service station, the large covered back deck becomes a comfortable second, al fresco salon. The main Salon features a fireplace from where Captain Bill is known to offer fireside chats and readings. Canopies can be hung to provide additional shade. In addition to the back deck’s hard cover, the Westward has a shade cloth over the foredeck and the side decks are also covered, keeping the vessel cool.

The Westward operates without air conditioning but she features opening portholes in each cabin. Her Baja season is scheduled during the coolest part of the year when the below deck cabins are cooled by the surrounding water. Without the constant hum of a generator running 24 hours a day, no air conditioning allows for guests to better take in the natural environment around them.

Westward History 

Westward’s history is part of what makes this ship so intriguing. The renowned Northwest naval architect L.E “Ted” Geary designed Westward. This small ship was built at the J.A. Martinolich Shipyard in Dockton, Washington and was modeled after a salmon cannery tender. She was launched in 1924 as the flagship of the Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Co. and pioneered hunting, fishing and adventure travel in the remote regions of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. Westward served a noteworthy clientele of hunters and fishermen for nearly 20 years as well as distinguished guests such as Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, John Wayne, George Eastman, A.C. Gilbert, E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, Paul Mellon, Richard K. Mellon, Hal Roach, Rudolph Schilling, Dean Witter and numerous other VIP’s of the era.

During World War II, Westward served as a patrol boat off the California coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest where she operated another 20 years, as both private yacht and charter vessel. She even sailed 47,000 miles, circumnavigating the globe from 1970 to 1976.

Pacific Catalyst II Inc purchased Westward for use in their adventure travel business. She is now ported in Friday Harbor, Washington, alongside the M/V Catalyst. Westward remains dependably powered by her original Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine and has benefited from continuous upgrades to her engine, systems, structure and accommodations. She is listed with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Dining Aboard Westward 

The philosophy on board the Westward is that delicious cuisine enables the sense of community on the boat, nourishing the guests (and crew) along with the beauty of the landscape, the activities of the day and the pleasure of one another’s company and life stories. Meals are prepared from fresh, natural ingredients, including produce that is purchased from local Baja, Pacific Northwest and Alaska vendors and fishermen. The chef avoids processed foods when possible, substituting with organic, fresh ingredients. In this way the Westward supports local communities, embracing the idea of eating locally and using green practices whenever possible. An added bonus is a rooftop garden providing fresh greens for meals aboard the Westward.

Activities Aboard Westward 

The Westward is a perfect base for exploration with daily off-vessel activities offered. Six double sea kayaks and three single sea kayaks are enough for the entire complement of passengers. The Westward carries an aluminum skiff and an inflatable utility boat to explore glaciers and islands up close and to ferry guests ashore. The Westward also holds necessary permits to visit marine sanctuaries and parks in Alaska and the Sea of Cortez.  

Crew & Guides Aboard the Westward

The goal of Westward’s knowledgeable and experienced crew is to create a safe, reliable and marvelous trip for their wide-range of guests. The diversely talented crew all come from rich and various life experiences and work hard to create a comfortable, fun and warm atmosphere.

Cabins & Deck Plan Aboard Westward 

All cabins are outfitted with one double bunk (4’6″ wide x 6’8″ long) and one single bunk (2’6″ wide x 6’6″ long), a settee, sink, toilet and shower. Each cabin has three portholes that may be opened by hand and a portable, battery-powered fan.

Cabin 1 with a hanging locker and built-in seating aboard the Westward
Cabin 1

Cabin 1 is located on the forward port side at 7’10” x 12’0″ with a hanging locker and built-in seating.

Cabin 2 with a hanging locker and built-in seating aboard the Westward.
Cabin 2

Cabin 2 is located on the forward starboard side at 7’10” x 9’10” with a hanging locker and built-in seating.

Cabin 3 with hanging locker and 10 built-in drawers aboard the westward.
Cabin 3

Cabin 3 is located on the aft port side at 9’0″ x 9’1″ with hanging locker and 10 built-in drawers.

Cabin 4 with a desk with drawers and storage under the bunk aboard the westward.
Cabin 4

Cabin 4 is located on the aft starboard side at 7’6″ x 9’0″ with a desk with drawers and storage under the bunk.

Deck plan sketch showing the two decks of the Westward and an exterior side view.
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