The Schooner Yankee Project

The Schooner "Yankee"Mandate:

Our mission is to restore this famous globe sailing schooner and recapture the excitement and adventure of life under sail as it was. The name “Yankee” is synonymous with traditional deep sea sailing and the romance of adventure under sail.

We will offer clients/cadets the opportunity to go back in time and sail on an authentic vessel. We will stress “real sailing” in our advertising and prospectus and the “Yankee” will operate as a true wind ship. Her design and rig will reflect this philosophy. Her powerful diesel will only be used to maintain schedules in windless or adverse conditions and enter and leave port.

This is the schooner that inspired thousands to embrace the romance of the sea and the wonderful wind ships of yesteryear. Under the able command of Captain Irving Johnson, the schooner “Yankee” circumnavigated the globe 3 times. Her passengers & crew experienced the adventure of life under sail as it was in the days of yore.

Later, the schooner “Yankee” continued to carry passengers under the command of Captain Walter Boudreau and his Windjammer cruises. His son, Captain Lou Boudreau, wrote a book titled “The Man Who Loved schooners” chronicling their adventures under sail.

The schooner “Yankee” project  will turn back the pages of time allowing people to sail on a reproduction of this famous world-girdling vessel.

At sea, our clients/cadets will experience the romance of life under sail without the hardship. Comfortable cabins, hearty meals and a well-appointed main salon make our amateur seafarers happy after a long watch on deck. Our target clients/cadets are those many people who want to experience the way it was at sea on a real true sailing vessel.

Mornings at sea will see all hands turned to daily chores while those who have an interest in navigation or sail handling can lend a hand. Others may wish to relax in the lee of the deckhouse and read. Our ever-trolled deep-sea fishing lines bring excitement as giant tuna or wahoo are fought to the side of the ship before being brought aboard. A fine meal of fresh fish is served that same night. Other recreational activities provided by the ship might include snorkeling on coral reefs, exploring remote locations, sport fishing with rod and reel, using the ship library or steering the ship under sail.

Summers on the “Yankee” will explore out of the way bays and coves and the ships launch will explore river inlets and coastlines of the beautiful East Coast. In the winter months, she will voyage to the blue waters of the Caribbean. Our passengers will visit Old World towns, pristine beaches and interesting markets and forts.

The “Yankee” will offer a wide range of voyages tailored to the needs of sail training organizations, individual clients and our own schooner “Yankee” cadet program.

The Schooner Yankee project is committed to recapturing this wonderful era and we look forward to your kind support.

To contact Capt Lou @ 902 279 0307

The Schooner Yankee Project
“The Yankee – She Lives to Sail Once More”

by James Devine


A Ghost From The Past:

Who can say what draws us to the sea? Why do we feel uplifted as we stand on a headland facing the ocean? Perhaps it is the music of the wind and the waves as it carries to us. Perhaps it is the fact that life itself consists mainly of water. Or could it be something else? Could it be the beautiful form of a graceful wind ship making her way westwards? Surely above all the spirit of man is moved by the sights and sound of a sailing ship at sea. The movement of her hull through the water must be the seaman’s ballet. The sound of the wind filling her sails the sailor’s aria and the love that he feels for his ship is that of a man for a woman.

The waters of Gloucester harbor stretch away to the southeast and a gentle breeze blows from over the land. There is a sense of the ocean here, from the granite rocks of the Massachusetts coast , this is seafarer country. We are now and have always been a sea people, born to a legacy of great schooners and strong adventurous men who loved and understood the ocean. Our forefathers built great wind ships and sailed them from this coast since the very beginning and even those of us who claim to be landsmen have an uncle, grandfather or distant cousin who went to sea from some Massachusetts seaport. We were famous schooner men in days gone by, and when people talked of us the words were spoken with respect. Fine sailing ships were born on this coast, and our heritage is just as surely steeped in the salty Atlantic as it is rooted in the soil of this land.

And there is this other thing here along this coast, it is not mine alone and so I must share it with you. There is schooner magic all along these shores, and it is free for the taking. The bays and coves are filled with it as are the granite headlands and the rocky shores. It is there for you and I and anyone who would have it. Good for body and soul, this is how to find it. Go quietly at the earliest hint of dawn to the place where you can see and smell the Atlantic. Close your eyes for a moment and face the east and it will come to you as it has so many times for me.

Peer intently into the mist, searching for the ghost we know is there. We can hear the quiet surge of the sea at the water’s edge and the cries of the gulls. The first whispers of a morning breeze brush our faces and we can smell the salt of the ocean.

An early morning daydream takes us far to the south east, past the tree covered islands into the great Atlantic. There, an ethereal apparition from another time fades in and out of the fog, a lithe and lovely Atlantic siren, come once again to stir the hearts of mortal men. She’s the specter of the schooner Yankee, silently homeward bound from faraway lands and oceans where the trade winds blow. Tall of spar and long of hull she heels gently, as with canvas taught she reaps the wind. Close hauled with topsails sheeted home the set of her sails is as perfect as her sheer line. The curve of her quarter is as fair as a woman’s hip and her stem lovely to behold. The faint scent of pine forest drifts across her bow, and she knows that she is close. Born here, on the coast, the thought of seeing her place of birth stirs her spirit. She has voyaged long and far but she lifts her bows with the sauciness of a young girl, throwing the spray to leeward.

The creak of wooden blocks and the snap of manila rope comes and fades. We can almost hear the hiss of her bow wave as it rolls away to leeward and the faint commands crossing her deck as her crew haul on halyard and sheet.

“Full and by, make fast.”

The image becomes clearer as she closes the coast and the schooner Yankee comes on under full canvas, leaving a white frothy wake astern. There is the perpetual fog bank off the coast that she must navigate before making port but there is a familiarity; she knows the rocks and coves and harbors. The first of the sun’s rays break the hills to the west and the Schooner Yankee glides into the bay. Rounding the point she comes ghosting towards us and even as the topsails are clewed up her catted anchor is unlashed and her sails come down from forward. She glides near to the shore, and we are startled as we hear the command “let go”. The schooner Yankee has come home and our daydream ends.

“There resides in everyone the spirit of adventure, that small flame that inspires life’s quest. All that is required is the kindling and then it will burn brightly. The first sips of freedom’s heavy brew are intoxicating and will pull you ever onwards, as it has me. Drink freely of it and you will not be disappointed. May fair winds fill your sails and the lee shore never find you”

Capt. R. L. Boudreau

May 12th 1998

This is the original schooner that Irving Johnson sailed around the world, not the second vessel of the same name that was wrecked on Raratonga. The names “Yankee” and Irving Johnson are synonymous with traditional deep sea sailing and adventure under sail.

The rights/ownership of her hull, which presently rests in about 6 feet of water, belongs to the Boudreau family, the last registered owners of the famed schooner.

Please contact us for details.

Capt Lou Boudreau

902 279 0307



Artist’s Rendition of the New Schooner

The schooner Yankee will be built in a seaport town where vessels of this type have been built before. We anticipate the project to attract a huge amount of media interest.

Design plans to be reproduced as close to the original as possible. The interior arrangements will provide accommodation for 10-12 passengers in 5-6 comfortable well-decorated cabins. Power will be diesel giving positive cruising of 10 knots. Canvas will be Duradon. Ship will conform to SOLAS international safety requirements.


Basic Specifications

  • 92 feet OD
  • 21 beam
  • 11 feet draft
  • Teak or Iroko decks & cabin trim
  • Traditional gaff & rig Sitka spruce spars
  • Duradon or Dacron sails
  • Plow steel standing rigging
  • Galvanised turnbuckles
  • Single/twin diesel giving 9-10 knots cruise
  • 2 gen. sets
  • Water maker
  • Hull TBA
  • Box keel with inside ballast or outside lead shoe
  • Clipper bow and elliptical stern
  • Rub rail at deck level
  • Custom SS holding plate referring.
  • Holding tank sewage.
  • Air conditioning/ducted air.
  • Traditional catted Fisherman anchors and ground tackle.
  • Steel gallows frame
  • Hardwood belaying pins on all rails.

Logistics and schedule of the project

Divers will scope the wreck and take some parts to incorporate into the new schooner. They will also confirm her basic measurements.

  1. Present project & secure financing.
  2. Final assessment of cost and logistics of project.
  3. Select & start design
  4. Interview & select building site and contractor.
  5. Begin design work.
  6. Begin construction
  7. Project managers monitor construction.
  8. Company begins promotions & begin taking bookings.
  9. Insurance graduated beginning at first values
  10. Interviewing of crew
  11. Final acceptance of vessel and sea trials.
  12. Passengers board for 1st voyage.

Project time: 16–18 months.

Design plans to be reproduced as close to the original as possible. Timber & parts of the original ship will be incorporated into the hull of the restored ship. The interior arrangements will provide accommodation for 12 passengers/cadets in comfortable well appointed cabins. This can be increased to 14 slightly smaller ones or alternately a small deckhouse aft of the foremast for the cadets. Power will be diesel giving positive cruising of 9-10 knots.

Showing Main Hatch & Deck.

Showing Main Hatch & Deck.

The Schooner “Yankee”

The Schooner Yankee project








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