Steam Yacht Cangarda reconstruction (merged threads)

2nd October 2008, 16:34
Since there appears to be no old yachts forum, I'll post here. I've started uploading photos of the rebuild of the Victorian grand steam yacht Cangarda. A project I've been involved with since 2001. Hopefully I can upload 6 new pics everyday. I'll try to keep them confined to category and in somewhat coherent groupings. Today: What we found. Tomorrow: The removal. Next the rebuild.

From my research it appears there are only 3 remaining vessels of this type in the world today: Media, built in Scotland; Ena, Austrailian and Cangarda, the only US example. Built at Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, De. in 1901. Her longevity is attributable to luck and the fact she spent her life, till the 80s, in fresh water. She was owned by one family until after WWII and lived as a houseboat after that. Used mostly as a day boat she was well taken care of and except for wartime service little stressed. (It does seem though that her last engine room crew had only one wrench, a pipe wrench that left nasty scars on every nut and shaft they could get to.)

Cangarda lived quietly as a non operational houseboat after the war until the 80's when she was towed to Gloucester, MA (wearing a swimming pool liner to keep her afloat) where her interior furnishings, joinery and machinery were removed to safe keeping prior to an ill fated attempt at restoring the hull was started. The job was done so badly that the keel was warped 6 inches and the hull was eventually condemned as not repairable. Lines were taken off the hull and corrected for deflection.

A new attempt was started in 2003 with the cutting apart of the hull. The top two strakes, rudderpost, bulkheads, stem, machinery, deck houses, skylights, hatches fittings and interior joinery were all shipped to California on 5 flatbed trucks.

Her Almy coal fired water tube boiler, the third to be installed (1930), was surveyed and found to be structurally fine but regulation prevented its use as it is built with threaded fittings rather than bent and rolled or welded tube. That boiler is now at the Herrishoff Museum in Bristol RI. It was replaced with a new #2 oil fired boiler custom built to the same size and appearance as the Almy.

Her seven original steam engines were nominally rebuilt at the Kew Bridge Museum in London: Sullivan triple expansion M.E., 2 matching Davidson feed pumps, Sullivan circulating pump, Davidson air pump, Fairbanks fire and bilge pump and Dake rotary anchor windless.

A new hull was built incorporating only the original engine room forward bulkhead and the stern post.

More to follow. Steve Cobb

2nd October 2008, 17:37
Fascinating stuff, Steve. Maybe you should contact the Mods to open a chapter in the SN Directory on this most admirable project. Where is the vessel located? I would be very interested to see her if my travels permit.


3rd October 2008, 16:36
The yacht is presently in Richmond, California, with a projected departure for the east coast in late winter/early spring 09. spc

Bruce Carson
3rd October 2008, 16:38
Steve, is she still going to Mystic Seaport?


3rd October 2008, 17:01
The moderators have moved the rebuild pictures to the 'preserved vessels' galleries under "Cangarda". But unless they start a 'preserved vessels' forum the story will have to remain here.

The new set shows the cut-up and removal of the old hull parts from Fairhaven, Mass. on the east coast to the reconstruction site at Richmond, Calif. on the west coast.

The hull was too badly twisted and deteriorated to justify repair. We took much of what was original and trashed the rest. It was very sad to dump that old steel. But we knew she's headed for a new life. The salvaged steel was loaded on 2 flatbed tucks, The deck houses, cabinetry and misc. fittings on another, and the machinery on a fourth. The Almy boiler was sent to Abilene, Texas to be studied and "copied" by Rentech Boiler on a fifth trailer. (It has since gone to Bristol, RI. to the Herrishoff Museum.)

We set up shop on an old wharf in the "Iron Triangle" section of the Richmond waterfront (ultimately robbed 3 times), set up a huge tent, unloaded the trucks and started the rebuild.
More to follow... spc

3rd October 2008, 17:13
There is actually a forum here for preserved vessels:
Home > Forums > Shipping Discussion > Ships No More > Preserved Vessels

Good luck with your project.

3rd October 2008, 17:15
Bruce. That's the plan. Understand though that the yacht has not been donated to the museum. She will be based there in return for public access. Hopefully she will benefit from Sabino shop and expertise. The owner plans quite a bit of underway time. spc

3rd October 2008, 17:50
The mods. agree. They are moving things to 'preserved vessels'. At the moment things are still scattered a bit. spc

8th October 2008, 19:22
In the summer of 2004 the reconstruction began in Richmond, California. All new frames were cut continuous with the deck beams and welded to the new keel. The original stern post was reinstalled along with the forward engine room bulkhead. New shell plating rolled on an English wheel by master Paul Tozer. A modern 1 1/8 ply and teak deck was installed. Machinery was set up on the shop floor for targeting then installed on the new beds. All machinery and original electrical panel was overhauled and many new pistons, piston valves, and rings were fitted. spc

8th October 2008, 19:49
Both deck houses were restored with extensive strengthening as well as almost all of the original interior joinery. Three new side boats were built in the shop alongside the hull, Two new hollow masts and a bowsprit were made in a modern 'birds mouth' technique. The focsle/galley is entirely new. by April of 2007 she was painted (deep green) Finally in August of 2007, after a short road trip, launched dramatically. more later. Steve

K urgess
8th October 2008, 19:55
I've combined all your threads into one, Steve.
It makes the whole, very interesting, story easier to find at one go.
Thanks for posting.

10th October 2008, 15:19
In the centre pic, what a fantastic paint job they have achieved !

Congrats on all the hard work and effort you have all put in.

2nd November 2008, 18:22
Attached are links to a set of photos with comments.

And a kinda silly movie trailer about the project.


Derek Roger
2nd November 2008, 22:23
Both deck houses were restored with extensive strengthening as well as almost all of the original interior joinery. Three new side boats were built in the shop alongside the hull, Two new hollow masts and a bowsprit were made in a modern 'birds mouth' technique. The focsle/galley is entirely new. by April of 2007 she was painted (deep green) Finally in August of 2007, after a short road trip, launched dramatically. more later. Steve

All the pictures are a WOW ! Any chance of a trip with her ?? Ill sign up as greaser ( with chiefs ticket ) . 5 $ a day plus all found !


4th November 2008, 15:30
I agree with Derek an amazing renovation/rebuild of an old steam job,the earliest steam job I worked was a 1914 coal fired triple expansion and although the style of pumps are familiar to me ( as they will be to other old steam Engineers) the style of main engine is not, the filter medium we used in the Hotwell was a basket of Coke (not the Columbian type or the drink) did the Company who built the engine build Loco engines at some point? As a matter of interest did/does she have "Blowjacks" fitted?. She is certainly a job well done and you all should be congratulated.

5th November 2008, 19:15
Thanks Chief, Its a side valve triple. I guess to reduce weight and size. Also different, it has the HP in the middle. Sullivan did build locomotives as well as marine engines. The Smithsonian Museum in Washington has the whole engine room of the USCG lighthouse tender Oak set up with a Sullivan triple and an Almy boiler. Seems to have been a common combination along with the Davidson pumps in smaller ships. I can find no information about the Sullivan company though, even at the Smithsonian.

Interesting about using coke in the hotwell. Never heard if that one before. Seems every engine room had different filter stuff: turkish towels, loofa sponges, newspaper, now coke. Did it work any better? Did any of them work any better?

I've never heard of blowjacks. Anything to do with cyl. drains? Tell me what they are and I'll tell you if they're fitted on our engine. Steve

1st February 2009, 19:45
Just a word of praise for this outstanding work. Such projects are so rare that they could only happen in the US.

I especially appreciate the sensible mix of modern and older technologies in this rebuild. It is so much easier to just rip everything inside and drop a diesel unit instead of the Steam machinery.

This varnished wood and polished brass is just too much for my eyes...

Thank you for sharing this piece of great news with us


2nd February 2009, 16:41
cangarda, sorry I seem to have missed your earlier post regarding Blowjacks. The Blowjack/valve was fitted to the main sea water inlet between the main sea valve and the ships side (depending on the arrangement fitted), a pipe was fitted from the main steam line to it (using the appropriate inline valves). The purpose of it was when shutdown and with the sea injection shut to blow the crud and I suppose in todays world possibly polythene bags off the inlet Rose plate/grid. Best wishes on the project.

kewl dude
7th February 2009, 04:57
Well, what about Horace Dodge's 258-foot Steam Yacht Delphine, built in Detroit Michigan in 1921 and still in service:

"In the winter of 2003-2004 the yacht was inside the harbour of Monaco to prepare the next summer season. During that season Delphine went to Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the islands of Hyeres. The next winter she was moored in Monaco. Since then she had successful charter seasons and is still for charter starting from Monaco."

"In January 1942 the U.S. Navy acquired the yacht and converted her into U.S.S. DAUNTLESS PG61. She was to be the flagship of Admiral Ernest King, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations."

Attached pictures swiped from above website

Greg Hayden

22nd February 2009, 14:56
Chief. No blowjacks, though I can see they might come in handy. Here on the Richmond, CA waterfront there is sure a lot of trash.

Greg. Regarding DELPHINE: she's a magnificent steam yacht and a beautiful restoration project. I hope to get a chance to see her someday. Previously I had mentioned CANGARDA as one of only three remaining of her type. What I meant was she, MEDIA and ENA are the last of the Victorian (or perhaps Edwardian) "clipper" style British and American grand yachts prevalent around the turn of the 20th century. DELPHINE is of a more modern "warship" design in keeping with the general architectural styling of the 1930's era.
Steve Cobb

28th March 2009, 13:59
There is an interesting, if somewhat spotty discussion of CANGARDA engineering issues and other interesting stuff at:


Bruce Carson
28th March 2009, 14:18
Lots of good stuff there and some fine photos, thanks,

11th July 2010, 09:57
In April of 2010, after nearly 6 years of restoration, Cangarda was certificated by the USCG for operation. A relatively un-eventful voyage from San Francisco to Ensenada, a ride on the deck of the M/V Beluga Fairy through the canal to Port Everglades and a 6 day steam north finally brought the old steam yacht to her new home on the coast of Maine.

While waiting for the transport vessel to arrive in Ensenada (3 weeks late) we hung out with MEDEA, one of only two other yachts like her in the world. Even had a steam yacht race. A very rare sight indeed. Steve

19th January 2013, 17:06
Somewhat delayed, here's a video of Cangarda's engine room while underway. About 200 rpm.


22nd January 2013, 15:31
Looking Good Cangarda, now where's my Cap?

23rd January 2013, 14:17
Great video Cangarda. I could feel the heat and smell the steam..