Saturday, July 7, 2012

Early History of Empress

The yacht was Jack Hargrave Design No. 6404 for Richard (Dick) Yantis, an executive of Avco Financial living in Canada.  He named the yacht San-Su-Cher III after his daughters Sandy, Susan, and Cherie.  Hargrave's summary plan for the yacht is shown below.

Jack Hargrave Design No. 6404 for Richard Yantis
Courtesy of Barbara Bishop of Hargrave Yachts

According to Marilyn Mower in her book American Classic: The Yachts and Ships of Jack Hargrave, p. 152:
The basis for this fast cruiser was Hargrave's standard Halmatic 64 molded hull which was shipped to Canada and given a wood deck.  She was created for luxurious living and entertainment: to wit, the main salon and enclosed aft deck lounge were not separated by partitions.  Everything about the decor was light and modern.  The owner's apartment is full beam and more than 16 feet in length.  The stateroom included a walk-in wardrobe and dressing room and a large bathroom with full-size tub.  Two ensuite twin-bedded guest cabins and crew quarters for two round out the accommodations.  Hargrave utilized every inch of space to incorporate a powder room and a utility room with washer, dryer and deep freeze.  Hargrave considered her the "ultimate yacht" in her size for her combination of uncrowded accommodations and large power and fuel capacity.

The hull and part of the structure were fabricated in 1971 in the Halmatic yard in the Northam area of Southampton, England.  In addition to large yachts, Halmatic built military patrol boats and small commercial ships.  The location of the Halmatic yard is shown in the map below.

Anchor Symbol Marks Location of Halmatic Yard

The hull, loaded with lumber for further construction, was shipped on a freighter to Montreal, Canada - a distance of about 3,100 nautical miles.  In Montreal, the hull was loaded on a barge and towed by a tug through the Great Lakes and connecting canals to the Richardson Boats yard in Meaford, Ontario, Canada on the shore of Georgian Bay - a distance of about 900 nautical miles.  The location of the Richardson yard is shown in the map below.

Anchor Symbol Marks Location of Richardson Yard

The twin 625 HP Detroit V-12 engines, two Northern Lights 15 kW generators with Lugger engines, and other equipment were installed and the construction of the yacht was completed by a team led by Alan Richardson, now retired.  Alan's nephew, David Richardson, worked on the yacht when he was a teenager.  In a very informative telephone conversation, David provided much of the information contained in this narrative.

Jack Hargrave personally attended the sea trials of the yacht in Georgian Bay.  David Richardson took Jack Hargrave around in a runabout and remembers him as a tall, energetic man.

The yacht spent one winter at the Richardson yard and then was moved by a professional crew out through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean and then to the East Coast of Florida, where she spent a second winter.  From Florida, the crew took the yacht through the Panama Canal to the Los Angeles area of California.  From the Richardson yard to the LA area, the yacht traveled about 8,000 nautical miles on her own bottom.

I would like to thank David Richardson of Richardson Boats and Michael Joyce and Barbara Bishop of Hargrave Yachts for providing most of the information contained in this early history of the yacht now called Empress.

No comments: