Francis IV (1922)
Scroll Down
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

The 65 foot Canadian Motor Yacht Frances IV, of the Chicago Yacht Club, was built in Toronto, Ontario in 1922. The luxury yacht was the first to finish in the first Chicago-to-Sturgeon Bay power boat race in the summer of 1926.
Final Voyage

The yacht Francis IV left Horseshoe Bay, Door County on Saturday August 6, 1927, heading north. When about 4 miles out, she exploded and sank in about 40' of water within two minutes of blowing a distress signal. The explosion tossed debris about 60 to 70 feet into the air and a fire ensued. Either faulty ventilation in the bilge or an engine backfire were possible causes of the explosion which killed the owner's wife and so seriously injured the captain and steward that they drowned. The owner and his 9-year-old daughter survived by swimming near the wreckage until rescued by the yacht Margo. Little wreckage was recovered--only part of the yacht's mahogany staircase was retrieved by the coastguard.
The yacht had taken on 350 gallons of gasoline the previous day at a Sturgeon Bay dock and had headed out north in the morning for the annual cruise to Georgian Bay.
Confirmed Location     Unconfirmed location
© 2024 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society