National Geographic's Collectors Corner

Collaborative site for collectors, dealers, & anyone interested in our history.

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

Career: Germany
Name: Emden
Builder: Nordseewerke, Emden, Germany
Renamed: Duhnen, 1919
Captured: May 1945, at Schleswig by Royal Air Force

Career: USA
Name: Yankee
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.

General characteristics
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.

Views: 253


You need to be a member of National Geographic's Collectors Corner to add comments!

Join National Geographic's Collectors Corner


Legal notice about this site

Note: Any sales or trade arrangements are solely between users of this site; The National Geographic Society is not a party to and does not endorse or promote any particular sales or trade arrangements between collectors, dealers, or others. Due to the immediate nature of this medium, National Geographic Online also does not review, censor, approve, edit or endorse information placed on this forum. Discussion boards on National Geographic Online are intended to be appropriate for family members of all ages. Posting of indecent material is strictly prohibited. The placement of advertisements or solicitations unrelated to National Geographic also is prohibited. National Geographic Online shall review information placed on this forum from time to time and delete inappropriate material that comes to its attention as soon as it is practicable, but cannot guarantee that such material will not be found on the forum. By posting material on this discussion board you agree to adhere to this policy prohibiting indecent, offensive or extraneous advertising material, and to legally assume full and sole responsibility for your posting.

© 2021   Created by Cathy Hunter.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service