SoCal Classic Sobre Las Olas

SoCal Classic Sobre Las Olas

Boat Name: Sobre Las Olas  

Length: 105 ft.   Beam: 23 ft.

Draft: 8 ft.

Speed: 8 to 10 knots

Year Built: 1929.

The Back Story: Sobre Las Olas, meaning above or on top of the waves, has a highly decorated past, rich with a mishmash of Los Angeles and American history.

The yacht was constructed and designed in Wilmington, Calif. at Wilmington Boat works. Jeff Ganter and Sean Connolly have owned the vessel for more than 10 years.

“She is one of a kind and there’s not another one like her in the world,” Ganter said. “It’s truly a historical piece.”

The duo purchased the vessel from a woman who had inherited it from her father in San Francisco. Ganter and Connolly completed a large-scale restoration project in order to bring the hull to Marina del Rey.

What’s inside? Claimed by some to be the largest antique vessel on the West Coast, Sobre Las Olas is all wood. Ganter said they re-planked at least a third of the boat on the hull, which is Douglass fir. The decks are teak and the interior is Honduras mahogany. All the decks have been re-sanded and re-caulked. Prior to the boat being purchased in July 2003, it was scheduled to be sunk and sold for parts.

The duo have since added a superstructure on the back and installed new wiring and plumbing, while opting to keep the original engines. The boat houses a pair of 1929 Atlas Imperial diesel engines, for which, according to Ganter, there are only four or five left in the world. A similarly constructed engine from the same era currently sits in the Smithsonian Institute.

Ganter said they set out to keep the boat’s original design. However, a new galley was constructed, the longue area has been renovated, and cabinets, windows and lighting have all been refurbished.

“The dining salon is all original, which is all Honduras mahogany,” Ganter said. “All of the lighting fixtures in the dining room are all the originals that we’ve kept, rewired and re-chromed.”

The vessel sleeps a total of 12, which includes a master stateroom, a crew quarter for five, a guest cabin for two, a master cabin, an additional cabin in the back of the hull and the pilot cabin.

Notable Moments in Boat’s History: The boat was built around the same time Black Tuesday overwhelmed the country, and the original owners were forced to sell it to none other than J. Paul Getty, the famed industrialist. Getty owned the boat until 1932, where it began its journey through several owners.

Ganter said there have been several rumors of William Randolph Hearst, the heralded newspaper publisher, owning the hull, but he said he has yet to obtain documentation verifying ownership—unless the vessel was purchased under a corporate name.
A pair of movies was also filmed on the vessel, including the Frank Sinatra/Rita Hayworth musical drama “Pal Joey” and Lindsay Lohan’s portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor in “Liz and Dick.”

Ganter said he is unsure of the exact number of owners, but said the boat was owned in Seattle for 10 years and spent a substantial amount of time in San Francisco. He also said that he believes the boat chartered trips to the San Juan Islands at some point during its tenure in the Seattle area and was likely commissioned by the Navy for submarine chasers as well.

Recent Notes: Ganter claims to be “95 percent done” with the restoration process. Although, he was quick to say—with a laugh—that they are “constantly” putting in work.

“It’s never done,” he said. “There are still some things that we need to get done. The pilot house, we’re still in the process of adding all the navigational equipment.”

He said he hopes the community has embraced the historical appeal the boat offers as much as he has.

“Our goal is to make it a fully functional, usable boat that we can enjoy and start cruising in,” Ganter said. “It’s pretty incredible. It’s not something that we thought we would be doing in our lives. But now that we’ve gotten to the point where the boat is almost done, it is truly remarkable to sit up on the back deck and watch boats go by.”

Where Currently Berthed: Marina del Ray, Calif.

Have a favorite yacht in your harbor that should be covered as a SoCal Classic? Email suggestions and/or photos to or mail to: The Log, Editorial Dept., 17782 Cowan, Ste. C, Irvine, CA 92614.

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4 thoughts on “SoCal Classic Sobre Las Olas

  • October 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I know the family that owned the Sobre Los Olas those 10 years in Seattle, during the eighties. ( They used her for Seattle to Alaska, and San Juan Island cruises. This family is still running these cruises, but with the classic motor yacht Discovery.

  • February 1, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I have news clippings of Sobre Las Olas in Seattle when she was owned by Vern Cole 1958 to 1963., If you wish copies, I am willing to share them with you.

  • October 12, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    I had the privilege to live on this amazing vessel in the early 2000 before she was sold. I will never forget her, a true incredible piece of history.



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