Alaska Yacht Charters
The MV Discovery

If her walls could talk! The story of a wooden boat.

History & Restoration of the 1931 fantail yacht MV Discovery

Classic yachts survive in today’s world because of the people who love them and ‘Discovery’ is no exception. Owning a wooden boat requires a commitment of time and money, a lot of hard work and the passion to preserve something extraordinary from a bygone era.

Built as the “Holiday”
A Ship is Born

In 1931 an elegant 87ft motor yacht was designed by Callis and built as the ‘Holiday’ for Mr William Morris Jr. of the William Morris Talent Agency in San Pedro, California.

Morris hosted dockside events in southern California and cruised aboard the ‘Holiday’ from Mexico to Alaska. If her walls could talk they would tell stories of hosting the who’s who of times past. Actors, Actresses, Singers and Stars alike enjoyed the same salon walls that we have the opportunity to enjoy today. From her teak decks and deckhouse to her fine mahogany interior she reflects an era long past when craftsmanship meant pride in artistry.

First Purchase

In 1939 the yacht ‘Holiday’ was purchased by the Reed family in Seattle, Washington.

U.S. Navy picket ship “Q-136”
Acquired by the Government

In 1941 the yacht was commandeered for WWII, painted totally grey and converted to U.S. Navy Picket Ship “Q-136” to patrol along the Pacific and Alaskan coast.

After the war she was acquired by the Federal Government and put into service at the Mc Neil Island Federal Penitentiary transporting staff, prisoners and supplies. She was renamed the ‘James V Bennett’ after James Van Benschoten Bennett who served as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons from 1937 to 1964.

Renamed "Discovery"

In 1980, with the prison scheduled to be closed, the boat was donated to the Bellingham Sea Scouts. They named her ‘Discovery’ and used her as a Sea Scout exploration ship.


In 1998 ‘Discovery’ was again up for sale. Desperately in need of attention she caught the eye of Captain Ben Swanson. With his father and another partner they purchased the boat. This team of talented craftsmen was just what ‘Discovery’ needed and over the next 12 months she underwent a total restoration.

Knowledge gained from 17 years of chartering in Alaska and having owned and maintained three previous wooden boats paid off. With a perfect blend of old world charm and modern conveniences ‘Discovery’ has been restored to her former glory and is today a well appointed charter yacht with 6 comfortable Staterooms, a fully equipped Galley and a Forward, Main and formal Dining Salon for entertaining.

Recent Projects
Engine Replacement

In 2010 the 1950’s caterpillar engine (replacement parts were getting scarce) was replaced with a new John Deere.

Improvement Project
Forward Salon Added

In 2013 Ben’s dreams were realized with the construction of a Forward Salon providing guests with another comfortable lounge that has forward facing views. This involved relocating the wheelhouse to the bridge deck and included the addition of a Captains cabin. This new salon is easily the most popular place on the boat. Ben continues to make improvements to the boat to maximize guest comfort and ensure that she remains a reliable and seaworthy Alaska charter yacht.

Present Day

With pride we are constantly maintaining and upgrading ‘Discovery’ in an attempt to preserve a beautiful classic fantail yacht for future generations in a world where, in the race for monetary rewards, we sometimes forget to appreciate the wonders of nature and the worth of sleek lines and a little (lot) of elbow grease.

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United States of America



Travel Agency +1 473 483 384

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