SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
June 26, 1978
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June 26, 1978


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After Dallas, Indianapolis is the largest city in the U.S. not on a navigable body of water, but that has not deterred Winston Knauss, 36, a professional wrecker—who boasts that he is the only spectator ever to serve time in a hockey penalty box after he got into a brawl on the ice—from building a 54-foot yacht in his backyard, bordering the diminutive White River. Knauss, who likes to say "I do anything different," began assembling the boat last fall after a dealer told him it would take a year and a half to get delivery on one he liked.

The first items Knauss bought were 18 portholes. He then hung a guy wire and a plastic sheet over his backyard construction site and went to work with a five-man crew. The boat, basically of fiber glass, is named Wrecking Crew and is furnished with artifacts Knauss has salvaged from his jobs. A shower and a steam bath come from the office of the board chairman of Inland Container in the old Inland Container Building. The walnut paneling and doorknobs come from Inland Container and the eighth floor of the demolished Farm Bureau Building, while the furnace, which will provide central heating, comes from a building that burned down and Knauss finished off. A 4�" pipe that serves as the core of a spiral staircase comes from a building he flattened at Methodist Hospital, and an old slot machine from the wrecked governor's mansion will go on board when the boat is finished.

Built to sleep 12, Wrecking Crew will be powered by twin 150-hp turbocharged diesels. There is a swimming platform at the stern, and beneath the stern, to surprise surfacing swimmers, are four Playboy centerfolds under glass. The top of the main cabin has been decked over to the stern to provide a 30 x 14-foot landing platform for Knauss' helicopter, which he landed at his former home in a fashionable suburb until neighbors got an injunction to stop him.

Knauss plans to take Wrecking Crew to Florida, where he has another home in Fort Lauderdale, via the Ohio, the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. He expects to get past a low bridge on the interstate leading to the Ohio by trailering around it on a back-country road. But before he embarks from Indianapolis, he is going to launch Wrecking Crew in the White River with the help of two cranes. That should be in a couple of weeks. Why the White River, which barely offers more turning room than a tub? "If she happens to sink, the water is only eight feet deep and I won't lose her," Knauss says. "If I launched her down in Florida in deep water, I might never find her again."

His neighbors should be so lucky.


Between now and Aug. 1 the Los Angeles Rams are almost certain to announce they will become the California Rams and move from Memorial Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium in 1980. Meanwhile, Anaheim Stadium will be enlarged to seat 74,000. Stands will surround the entire field, with the right-field baseball stands made movable to provide better seats for football. In addition to the expansion, a development package will include a hotel/office complex, condominiums, a shopping center, a theater and perhaps practice facilities for the Rams. The concept includes linking Anaheim Stadium with Disneyland by monorail so fans can make a game a family weekend gala.

Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom has agents looking for a beachfront home in Newport Beach, not far from Anaheim, while George Allen has been looking for a house in Orange County. But every time George comes back to his Palos Verdes estate, with its view of the Pacific on one side and the twinkling lights of Los Angeles on the other, he sighs and vows to commute.

L.A. Mayor Bradley wants the Rams to stay, but a source close to the team says, "The Rams are in Anaheim."

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