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A large and extremely rare 1901 steam yacht will be exhibited to the public later this year on the waterfront at Mystic Seaport – The Museum of America and the Sea – in Mystic, CT. Built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Edwardian tradition of the late 1800s, the elegant yacht Cangarda was a toy of the super rich – what might be referred to today as a mega-yacht.
Built in Wilmington, DE, before the days of the income tax, Cangarda is the last surviving American-built steam yacht in the country – and one of only three of its type left in the world.
Never in its lifetime has Cangarda been available to the public. But thanks to its current owner and restorer, the antique yacht will be accessible for public viewing at Mystic Seaport for many months of each year. “We are pleased to have this, one of the last grand American yachts, home-ported at Mystic Seaport,” said Jeff Rutherford, who directed the restoration of Cangarda. “From the beginning of this project, we have always been dedicated to the concept that it should be available for the public to enjoy. Mystic Seaport is a great venue for this, and we look forward to developing this partnership with the Museum.”
Cangarda was named after its original owners, Charles Canfield and his wife Belle Gardner. They later sold the yacht to George Fulford, a prominent Canadian, whose business sold “Pink Pills for Pale People.” Home-ported for much of its life in the Thousand Islands stretch of the St. Lawrence River, the yacht hosted a dinner in 1927 attended by the Prince of Wales, Duke of Kent and the English and Canadian Prime Ministers.
Cangarda served the Royal Canadian Navy as a training vessel during World War II, but in her post-war years, she slowly fell into disrepair. A restoration effort got underway in the 1980s, under Richard Readly, who fully dismantled the vessel, sent its seven steam engines to England for restoration and painstakingly preserved and stored its elaborate wooden components. Readly, however, became ill and was forced to abandon the project. The hull actually sank at a Boston pier in 1999.
Cangarda was restored to her current form from 2004-2008. Under the agreement, the yacht will spend the majority of its time at Mystic Seaport. The vessel is expected to arrive at the Museum sometime in July for a short stay, followed by another brief visit in August. It will return in September for the remainder of the year.
As part of the agreement, Cangarda will be at Mystic Seaport for at least 30 days per year as an exhibit vessel. And, when she is traveling, the Museum will be referred to as her homeport.
“Mystic Seaport is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a majestic vessel like Cangarda to our waterfront,” said Museum President and Director Doug Teeson. “Cangarda’s arrival here will serve the Museum’s educational, cultural and historic objectives of telling stories of America and the sea. This year, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of our steam excursion vessel Sabino, the arrival of Cangarda affords us the opportunity to share even more with our visitors about steam vessels and their importance in maritime history.”
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. Mystic Seaport also features a working preservation shipyard, a re-created 19th-century coastal village, exhilarating exhibits and a planetarium. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. For more information, visit www.mysticseaport.org
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