By Mike O'Brien, member #319, and Wayne Hartrick, member #856
36' 1911 Vancouver Shipyards
Her lovely canoe stern leaves barely a ripple on the water as she slides along at a graceful eight knots heading for her shed at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club where she has been berthed for most of her one hundred years. Colonel Colin Ferrie kept her there for the duration of his ownership of almost 60 years and her present owner, Wayne Hartrick, continues to have covered moorage at RVYC.
Rhinegold is a rare example of an almost unaltered and intact power boat built at a time when "gas powered launches" were a rarity. She was a social hit for her owner, Maxwell Theolopolis Davies III, son of a wealthy English family who sent him to the logging outpost of Vancouver with his own cook and valet!
Originally powered by a 25HP Buffalo engine, Rhinegold now sports her fourth power plant, a modern, reliable, 50HP Isuzu diesel, in her thirty-five foot and six-inch long, eight-foot and six-inch wide Fir on Oak hull.
Peter Vassilopoulos in his seminal work on Classic Yachts, Antiques Afloat, tells the story of her name which is reported to be a misspelling of “Rheingold” from the Wagnerian opera. The tale revolves around the recovery of gold stolen from the fairies of the Rhine River. In any event, Rhinegold was her name in 1911 and she carries it with pride in 2011.
Also unchanged is the beautiful teak steering station in the cockpit at the far aft of the yacht. Rhinegold’s interior is elegantly appointed with such rare items as a Pullman sink in her tiny but pristine head.
As Rhinegold begins her second century, Wayne continues the care and attention that will see her safely afloat for the foreseeable future. She is currently receiving new keel bolts and some planking as well as upgrades to her electrical and black water systems.
When you see Rhinegold on the water, stop and contemplate for a moment the skill of the builder, Vancouver Shipyard, and her dedicated owners, all of whom carry the credit for this important link with our maritime history.
Link: Article from Dec 2012 Classic Yachting newsletter: A Tale of Two Boats (compares Rhinegold and Gleniffer)