The Thunderbird Yacht is Back…

  • July 13, 2016

…and it is just in time for its birthday. The drought that hit the sierras after the historic 2010-2011 ski season has been devastating to many parts of California and Nevada. Lakes and reservoirs dried up, thunderbird-tahoe-0_Cwildfires raged, and a number of other negative effects were caused by the extended drought. The 2015-2016 ski season was not a huge winter, historically, but it did work wonders in bringing Lake Tahoe back above its natural rim and beyond. Water is flowing into the Truckee River, the boat ramps around the lake are accessible, and the most beautiful and historic yacht on Lake Tahoe is back in the water.

In 2014, the Thunderbird Yacht had engine trouble in both of its engines. The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society’s Executive Director and Curator, Bill Watson, did what he does best. He raised enough money to rebuild the engines. Even before they were reinstalled in the yacht, they were on display at the Thunderbird Lodge and looked spectacular. Everyone was excited to get the yacht back into operation.

Unfortunately, the winter did not provide enough snowmelt in 2014-2015. This left the dock that houses the Thunderbird with insufficient water to store the infamous yacht. Again, Mr. Watson was able to make something good out of an otherwise unfortunate situation. Recently, the bottom of the yacht was replaced, some of which had not been replaced since 1939 (when the yacht was originally constructed), even though most wood bottoms only last 20-30 years.

The Thunderbird Yacht was recently relaunched and sent back to its boathouse. This is just in time for her 76th birthday in mid-July (July 14). If you have not been to the Thunderbird Lodge, you should definitely go take a tour. The Yacht itself is worth the trip. Add in all the history, the tunnels, and the ever-popular opium den and you have an experience to remember. Plus, your money goes toward a great cause: keeping the property maintained and open for us all to enjoy.