History of the Electra

History of the Electra


The very moment we welcome you aboard the “Electra,” you will travel back in time and start to discover the vintage elegance of a bygone era.

Built in 1929, by A.W. Leonard, this classic fantail motor yacht is 96 feet of pure opulence and beauty, once reserved for just a few privileged people. Unlike many other yachts of her era, built mainly for coastal and inland work, ‘Electra’ was constructed for rugged cruising in the heavy seas of the Pacific Northwest coast. ‘Electra’ draws a seaworthy seven-and-a-half feet bow and stern and is surprisingly stable and surefooted for a yacht with only an 18-foot beam.

‘Electra’ was built in 1930 by the Lake Union Drydock Company in Seattle, Washington. She was built for A.W. Leonard, the owner and President of Puget Sound Power and Light, a Seattle-area power company who named his yacht, appropriately enough, after the Greek goddess of light. Electra in fact means, “shining one.” It was originally given to his wife for Valentine’s Day.

During World War II she was in the Navy’s employ chasing enemy submarines off Washington’s coast.

Her original owner kept ‘Electra’ for 30 years, housing her in a boathouse on Lake Union. This sheltered adolescence played a major role in its longevity, as well as in the success of her restoration.

Fred Ruffner and his wife then purchased the yacht, in search for a yacht bigger than the few they already owned. It is fair to say that Ruffner was fascinated, maybe even obsessed, with history which is what led him to moving the yacht to Fort Lauderdale Florida to be restored. His philosophy in restoring ‘Electra’ reflects a gentle view of life, a concern with people rather than things, with the spirit rather than the letter of history.

He was looking for historical accuracy, he said, but he was not bent on trying to make his yacht look precisely as she had on her maiden cruise in Lake Union. The historical objective was to make ‘Electra’ look as she might have looked in her youth, but equally as important was to make her comfortable and appealing to the modern folk who would be enjoying her.

As with all his yachts, he sought not to create an impersonal monument to a bygone day, but a unique environment in which people could enjoy a taste of the past. The historical aspect is not so much a fantasy but a preferred aesthetic.

In order to make it Coast Guard certified to carry passengers, ‘Electra’ had to be equipped with cargo doors, which means an opening large enough to accommodate a standard size shipping pallet. The most he had ever had onboard at one time was 60 passengers, so Ruffner was very excited to receive the certification that now allowed him to carry up to 99 passengers.

Some of ‘Electra’s’ most astonishing features include, luxuriously furnished interiors, full air conditioning, plenty of covered and on-deck seating, extensively stocked bar, modern commercial galley, crew accommodations, common rooms, and lower deck suites that have been transformed into bridal suites for your comfort and convenience.

Indulge in the opulence of ‘Electra’s’ rich, mahogany paneling, the exquisite fittings and her beautiful antique furnishings while reminiscing over cocktails about an almost forgotten period in marine-time history, where grace and style were once commonplace.

From the graceful sweep of her raised open fantail stern, to her polished brightwork, overhead stenciled beams and leaded glass skylights, the ‘Electra’ will surround you with a feeling of nostalgia.

Internally, ‘Electra’ boasts a modern, fully equipped galley which directly serves a beautiful dining salon, ideal for buffet style service or plated dinning services for weddings or other private events.

Amid’ships, you will find a fully stocked bar complementing her exquisite main salon, which directly adjoins her large, covered, aft deck area.

Now, in Newport Beach, California, when people talk about the “prettiest lady” in the harbor, they are not referring to one of Newport’s long limbed beach beauties, but rather to the ‘Electra.’ Current owner, Randy Goodman, grew up in Newport Beach and fell in love with the Electra when he first set eyes on her. Years later, he tracked her down in Antiqua and said her back to Newport Beach, nearly a 42 day voyage.

The ‘Electra’ has made it to the silver screen twice, once in the movie “Nixon” and once in a movie about the life of Elizabeth Taylor. During the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president, she was used as his official yacht in California and he commissioned her as a Coast Guard Vessel.

Now ‘Electra’ plies the West Coast waters and is a popular setting for yacht weddings, private events, and corporate parties.

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