Maritime Person of the Year
The 2019 Maritime Person of the Year is
Diane Lander

Read more about her below.
Maritime Person Diane Lander

Born and raised in Kirkland, Washington, Diane Lander spent her childhood following her Fisheries Biologist father around the Pacific Northwest to look at salmon hatcheries, his idea of a great time.  He imposed a love of the water and the protection of the environment on his daughter.

Many years later, in 1994, Diane and her late husband, John VanDerbeek bought their first “real” boat after owning a small speed boat on Lake Washington.  Diane and John bought the MV Olympus, a 1929 97’  fantail motor yacht with absolutely no wooden boat ownership experience.  They quickly became accomplished wooden boat caretakers, bringing the MV Olympus to Haven Boatworks in Port Townsend every winter for major projects.  The yacht was available for luxury charters, and donated extensively for charitable events throughout the Pacific Northwest.  In 2009, John died suddenly at age 57.  Diane kept the MV Olympus and carried on her mission of sharing the yacht throughout the Pacific Northwest at wooden boat shows and for charitable events.

Eventually, Diane decided to purchase a smaller yacht she could operate herself.  The Marian II, a 1928  42’ Lake Union Dreamboat became available and in January of 2014, Diane became her caretaker, assuming that the Olympus would sell immediately.  The Marian II also has an interesting history, having been owned by Herb Cleaver for nearly 50 years, and serving as the first boat to start the tradition of boating to UW Husky games.   Diane soon discovered the limited market for a yacht such as Olympus, eventually selling her to an east coast buyer.  Olympus was relocated to the east coast where she was built in 1929 in 2017 after over 3 years on the market.  A retired lawyer with good negotiation skills, Diane managed to procure three weeks aboard the Olympus as part of the sale.  The first week was enjoyed in the Bahamas in February of 2018 and the next week is going to be in the Hamptons this July. 

In the meantime, Diane learned to captain and navigate the Marian II.  Previously on the Olympus, Diane had always had a professional captain.  Now she was responsible for the navigation and safety of herself and her crew which always includes her two French Bulldogs, Calais and CoCo Chanel.  Diane absolutely LOVES captaining the Marian II and last year was awarded the “Best Attendance” award by the Pacific NW fleet of the Classic Yacht Association.  Diane currently serves as Vice Commodore of all fleets of the Classic Yacht Association and loves sharing the Marian II at Wooden Boat Festivals.  She is so grateful to the wooden boat community and the strong support of her prior captains who have helped her learn to operate her gorgeous yacht.  This year she serves on the Lake Union Drydock Centennial Committee as the 100th anniversary of the yard which built the Marian II is being celebrated in 2019.  Diane cordially invites all wooden boat fans to the Bell Street Classic Weekend to be held at the Bell Harbor Marina, Pier 66, in Seattle on June 15-16 where the LUDD built vessels will be celebrated and will be on display.   Also a member of Seattle Yacht Club, Diane is responsible for chairing the Classic Vessel Subcommittee for Opening Day of Boating every year and making sure that the wooden boat community is well represented in the Opening Day parade the first Saturday of every May in Seattle.

Learn more about how the Olympia Wooden Boat Association's Maritime Person/Persons of the Year is selected and see a list of past recipient by clicking here