Cangarda, a frequent visiting vessel to Mystic Seaport, was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Edwardian tradition of the late 1800s. The elegant yacht was a toy of the super rich – what might be referred to today as a mega-yacht. Built in Wilmington, DE, before the days of the income tax, Cangarda is the last surviving American-built steam yacht in the country — and one of only three of its type left in the world.
Cangarda was named after its original owners, Charles Canfield and his wife Belle Gardner. They later sold the yacht to George Fulford, a prominent Canadian, whose business sold “Pink Pills for Pale People.” Home-ported for much of its life in the Thousand Islands stretch of the St. Lawrence River, the yacht hosted a dinner in 1927 attended by the Prince of Wales, Duke of Kent and the English and Canadian Prime Ministers.
Cangarda served the Royal Canadian Navy as a training vessel during World War II, but in her post-war years, she slowly fell into disrepair. A restoration effort got underway in the 1980s, under Richard Readly, who fully dismantled the vessel, sent its seven steam engines to England for restoration and painstakingly preserved and stored its elaborate wooden components. Readly, however, became ill and was forced to abandon the project. The hull actually sank at a Boston pier in 1999.
Cangarda was restored to her current form from 2004-2008.