The Brigantine Yankee was a steel hulled schooner, originally constructed by Nordseewerke, Emden, Germany as the Emden, renamed Duhnen, 1919. As Yankee, it became famous as the ship that was used by Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson to circumnavigate the globe four times in eleven years only to end her days on the reef at Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Photographer Unknown
Builder: Nordseewerke, Emden, Germany
Renamed: Duhnen, 1919
Captured: May 1945, at Schleswig by Royal Air Force
Builder: Converted at Brixham yards
Fate: 23 July 1964. The Yankee was anchored off Avarua, Rarotonga when a gale blow up during the night and she dragged her anchor and drafted on to the northern reef at Avarua, Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands
Status: The Yankee was abandoned on the reef at Rarotonga. A couple of attempts were made to try and get her off the reef by using blocks and tackle and a D6 Bulldozer from inside the lagoon. With the help of local Cook Islanders and the crew from the Yankee they came close to getting her near the edge off the reef and hopefully refloating the Yankee. However, more bad weather came in and once again pushed the Yankee still further back onto the reef at Rarotonga. Sadly to say, I has the prevlige of being one of the last people to see her still afloat and at anchor in Rarotonga just two days before she meeting her fate. The rest was to be history for the beautiful World Famous Yankee.
Class and type: Gaff rigged schooner (as built)
Tons burthen: c. 260 t
Length: 96 feet (29.3 m) (overall)
81 feet (24.7 m) (waterline)
Beam: 21.5 feet (6.6 m)
Draft: 11 feet (3.4 m)
Propulsion: 7,775 square feet of sail canvas with an Auxiliary Diesel
Sail plan: The rig was changed to that of a brigantine
The brigantine Yankee was the second Yankee purchased by Irving Johnson and his wife, Exy (Electa). They bought it in 1946 with the help of a friend, film star Sterling Hayden. With the Johnsons, Yankee sailed the Caribbean and made four global circumnavigations. The Johnsons' final voyage in the Yankee, made in 1958, was featured in the 1966 CBS/National Geographic television special, Voyage of the Brigantine Yankee. It was scored by Elmer Bernstein and narrated by Orson Welles. I believe the Yankee circling the world 7 times.
The Johnsons sold the Yankee to Reed Whitney in 1958. He operated it during the summers of 1958 and 1959 in New England waters. Sometime after that it was sold to Mike Burke of Miami Beach. Burke used the Yankee and the schooner Polynesia, on 10–14 day Windjammer Cruises in the Bahamas, hiring on amateur sailors.
The Yankee was wrecked on a reef a few years later, dragging its anchor in a gale off Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in 1964, while most the crew was partying (as usual) on shore.
The Yankee was owned by Windjammer Cruises, Inc. of Miami, Florida and captained by Derek Lumbers. At the time, the Yankee was about halfway through a 14-month global circumnavigation cruise.
National Geographic Photography.