Cangarda, circa 1910
|Builder:||Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, Delaware|
|Status:||Restored as a private yacht and museum|
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, huge fortunes were made prior to US income taxation. Opulence in homes and yachting reached a peak; many small private steamships like Cangarda were produced in the US, Britain and Germany for the very wealthy. However, Cangarda is the last surviving US-built steam yacht in the US, and one of only three left in the world.
After years of service in roles from opulence to indignity, the yacht sank in the Boston Harbor in 1999 in poor repair, but has since been completely restored at Richmond, California for use as a private yacht and periodic museum ship. She will be a part-time feature of the maritime museum at Mystic, Connecticut.
Cangarda was named as a combination of the last names of the original owners, Michigan lumber mogul Charles Canfield and his wife Belle Gardner. In 1904, George Taylor Fulford, a wealthy member of the Canadian Parliament, bought the boat and renamed her Magedoma, which was a combination of syllables from the names of his wife and children. The boat was docked at Fulford Place, his 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) mansion on the St. Lawrence River.
After Fulford's death in 1905, the yacht remained in the family and in 1927 his wife hosted the Prince of Wales, Duke of Kent, and the Prime Ministers of both England and Canada, Stanley Baldwin and William Lyon Mackenzie King respectively, onboard.
During World War II, Cangarda was donated by the family to the Canadian Royal Navy, to be used as a training vessel. After the war the ship was returned to the Fulford family, but in poor condition. The ship was sold, and slowly went into disrepair under several owners, until the early 1980s when an attempt was made to restore her. The ship was disassembled in Boston and an effort was made to rebuild the hull, but the project failed and in 1999 the gutted hull sank in Boston Harbor. Fortunately, these efforts preserved the interior and machinery for later use.
In 2004, after years of efforts by historians and yachtsman, Jeff Rutherford of Richmond, California began a full restoration, funded by Marin, California resident Bob McNeil. The Cangarda’s original hull was damaged beyond repair, so it was meticulously measured including laser scanning. A new hull was reverse-engineered, using modern welding techniques rather than the original rivet style of fastening. The original machinery was reconditioned and reinstalled; however, the existing 1911 Almy (coal fired) boiler was replaced with an automated, forced draft, oil fired one. In addition, much of the elegant Victorian interior was reinstalled, using the original Cuban mahogany woodwork. The restoration was completed in 2009.
- Cangarda, By Ben Ellison, February 2003, Power & Motoryacht magazine
- The Golden Century, Classic Motor Yachts, 1830-1930, by Ross MacTaggart, W. W. Norton & Company, 2001, ISBN 0393049493
- Historic steam yacht to be home-ported at Mystic Seaport by Mystic Seaport staff, Norwalk Plus magazine (online) Published: Apr 28, 2008
- The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Newsletter University of California chapter, December 2006.
- Block Island Times July 21, 2008
- Can These Yachts be Saved thegoldencentury.com
- Historic Steam Yacht Sails Again Richmond Office of Economic Development (City of Richmond California) page 21
- Richmond’s Hidden Waterfront Jewel San Francisco Bay Crossings magazine (online archive)
- Millionaire's yacht nearly capsizes Oakland Tribune, Aug 25, 2007 by Doug Oakley