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Log Entry

Final Voyage: Xanadu II

A moment to reflect on the passing of a yacht. Xanadu II has made her Final Voyage.

Above, Xanadu II is captured while participating in the Centenary series of regattas and festivities of the Royal Danish Yacht Club in Copenhagen. (photo above from Motor Boating, December 1966)

I got a call this past Friday morning from Holly on her way to the office. She shared that Xanadu II was gone from where she’d been stored along the south side of Route 50, just west of the Severn River Bridge, at Philip McKee’s storage yard for the past decade.

And she noticed two big roll-off dumpsters with what looked like pieces of a boat protruding out. Later that afternoon, I swung by to check it out for myself. The dumpsters weren't there, presumably taken away rather efficiently, but what I witnessed gave me pause – a few remaining pieces of the legendary Xanadu II.

A reflective and solemn I love yachting moment, and to me, personally, an ignominious ending.

I have not yet been able to speak with Philip about it (and will report if I do), but I might only imagine and of course assume, how painfully difficult it may have been for him to demolish his grandfather’s boat – a boat that he'd sailed on from the time he was a young boy.

For many years, Xanadu II was the pride and joy of the late yachtsman, E. Bates McKee. She was a 47-foot yawl constructed out of mahogany and was designed by William H. “Bill” Tripp. Built in Bremen, Germany, in 1964 at the yacht yard of Johann de Dood, she was coming up on her 60th birthday.

Xanadu II made her debut around the time of the 1964 Annapolis Yacht Club Fall Series. Her first Annapolis to Newport Race was in 1965. She finished 12th out of 22 boats in Class II. According to what I have researched, her first Newport to Bermuda Race was in 1966. She went on from Bermuda that year to race across the Atlantic to Denmark.

Of note, she was one of only three American boats to race in the very first Cape Town to Rio race, from South Africa to Brazil in 1971. The other two boats were Ed Hartman Sr.’s, Ma’m’selle, and Dick Zantzinger’s, Molly Brown.

From the race brochure of the 1971 inaugural Cape to Rio Race, more on Cape2Rio2025.

I would not want to try to guess how many thousands of miles the old gal had under her keel. Xanadu II crossed the Atlantic five times, according to Bates McKee's obituary, and sailed many Annapolis to Newport and Newport to Bermuda Races with Bates as her proud owner/skipper.

Another bit of Xanadu II historical trivia is that late, longtime Annapolis Yacht Club member and excellent racing sailor Theo Petersen served as a captain on the boat for Bates from around 1967 to 1972.

I suppose, as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever, but the memories do live on. Thank you to those who have contributed with stories and photos. If anyone has any additional information or stories, please be in touch, I would enjoy expanding my research on Xanadu II.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

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1 comentário

09 de fev.

Great story. Really enjoyed it. Passed the boat for years on 50. Phillip also did an amazing job painting my Whaler and I got to check Xanadu out when I picked up the whaler. Thanks!

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