Kelpie of Falmouth – Classic Gaff-rigged Schooner
Kelpie of Falmouth is a gaff-rigged schooner built in 1928 in pine on oak frames by US yard Henry Gamage in South Bristol, Maine (U.S.).
Named after a mythical shape-shifting water spirit inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland, Kelpie of Falmouth did duty in World War II, serving with the US Coastguard. She was a popular boat to crew on and notably never missed a day’s service. At the end of the war she saw a change in her ownership, and she moved to the West Coast of the States. Like many classic yachts, she fell into disrepair and was abandoned.
In 2011 the Captain of Mariette, Charles Wroe, sought to find a suitable ‘racing tender’ to accompany the celebrated blue schooner. Kelpie of Falmouth was found and acquired by Charles Wroe on behalf of the owner of Mariette in San Francisco.
(Mariette is a 138ft schooner designed by America’s most famous naval architect, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff in 1915 and launched in 1916. She is one of nine schooners drawn by the designer).
An epic rediscovery story
The story of Kelpie of Falmouth’s rediscovery however, is of epic proportions – from finding a tired old boat on the Californian coast in 2012, a 9,000-mile trip almost all of it under sail — from Southern California via the Panama Canal – delivery back to a traditional Cornish boatyard some miles up a tidal river, and an 18 month-long rebuild from bare frames up.
The pitch pine on oak frames hull was stripped bare, all tired wood replaced as necessary, and the stern completely rebuilt to bring her back to her original shape.
The newly restored racing tender, raced in Cornish waters at the 2014 Pendennis Cup and she went on to win the 2014 Classic Boat “Restoration of the Year” award.
Kelpie of Falmouth has accommodation is for six guests in three cabins laid out as a master suite and two twins, all with en suite shower facilities, while a further cabin sleeps two crew members.
Kelpie of Falmouth final film after restoration