Legendary yacht Atlantic - originally launched in 1903 - sets sail again

Looking down the deck of Atlantic it is impossible not to remain fascinated. The beauty of this strikingly large and slender three mast schooner is overwhelming. 56 meters of impeccably laid teak deck interrupted only by a few lacquered teak deckhouses and skylights and by a partition caused by the characteristic slightly raised aft deck. The raven black high-gloss hull reflects every ripple in the water. And looking up at the three towering masts one senses the enormous power this yacht must have. This mighty schooner left Rotterdam on 23 June and has now finished her sea trials.

The builder/owner Ed Kastelein (pictured) has achieved another milestone in reviving yachting history. After recreating Westward, he has gone even one better in recreating legendary yachts – with the realization of Atlantic.

The History

The original, designed by William Gardner, was launched on 28 July 1903. No one could have foreseen then that the schooner would gain enduring fame winning the Kaiser’s Cup from New York to The Lizard in the spring of 1905, under command of the renowned captain Charlie Barr. It then set the record for the transatlantic crossing at 12 days, 4 hours and 1 minute. A mono-hull record that would stand for 100 years.

The schooner was the quintessential cruiser/racer. She could do 17 knots on her steam engine of 400hp, weighing 30 tons including boiler, exclusive fuel. Two generators provided for electricity and she had heating, refrigeration and water heaters. The lobby was executed in marble and the interior was fitted out with the finest mahogany panelling. There were large and luxurious tiled bathrooms (with bath tub) and a large galley.

She measures 69.24 meters (227′) overall, 56.43 meters (185′) over the bows, excluding bowsprit and mizzen boom outboard of respectively 8.76 meters (28’8) and 4.05 meters (13’3). With her beam of 8.85 meters (29′) and draft of 5.00 meters (16’5) her displacement is 395 tons. From the different sail plans of the original, the record setting 1905 rig of 1,720m² (18,500 square feet) has been chosen for the recreated yacht.

The Re-build

Dutchman Ed Kastelein has reincarnated this legendary schooner. The idea had been dismissed as being too much of a premium aspiration into classic yachts, until he sold Eleonora. He started to collect illustrations and publications of the famous original and, assisted by yacht historian John Lammerts van Bueren, copies of dozens of drawings were gathered from various archives in the USA. Doug Peterson has acted as consulting naval architect warrantying the authenticity of the lines and floatation. The hull of the largest racing schooner ever having been rebuild was commissioned in the autumn of 2006.

From there Kastelein masterminded and managed the build personally, making this a totally unique project. He is the supervisor, the project manager, the entrepreneur and the owner. Through his lifetime experience in classic yachts and with the build of Zaca a te Moana and Eleonora (Westward) he has formed a team of excellent and talented craftsmen around him. They have accomplished the impressive feat to recreate this 107-year-old glorious yacht as a state of the art superyacht with all the appropriate comfort. Kastelein’s engineering philosophy is simple and effective: using the latest technology, without overloading, all the machinery and every system is mounted in a way to allow easy access for maintenance and repairs. And wherever possible back-up systems are foreseen. The deep wine glass shape hull gives her bilge standing headroom over 30 meters length, which makes life for the engineers below actually quite comfortable.

Up on deck

On deck the new Atlantic obviously misses the retractable exhaust pipe of the steam engine between the foremast and the main mast, but for all features she is just the way she was. For the vast teak deck, builders have taken full advantage of the new fingerjointing technology. All boards are invisibly joined to lengths of 13.20m providing for an incredibly beautiful and uncluttered teak deck. The solid teak deckhouses and skylights are authentical to the original design. All the deck hardware, like the anchor chain stoppers, stanchions, belaying pins and pin rails, has been custom manufactured, using original plans and photographs to ensure the copies are as faithful as possible. There are 36 powerful all bronze custom winches in the style of the bygone days. The immense spars stand almost 45 meters tall. Both the lower and the top masts have been built in alloy, and the booms and gaffs were built in Alaskan Sitka Spruce. The U-shaped cockpit between the helm pedestal and the main deckhouse provides for considerable comfort for the owner and his guest under sail. The cockpit seats twelve and is also perfectly suited for a contemplative nightcap in port.

Down below

Going below by the companionway in the main deckhouse you enter the small deck saloon. Aft of this is the central switch station, the chart-table, the captain’s cabin and one of the guest cabins. The unique atmosphere of the interior is created by the combination of varnished mahogany and light cream panels, colonial style furniture and ubiquitous accents of the époque. The quality of finish achieved by the carpenters and painters is extraordinary.

Forward of the main deckhouse the master’s suite is located to port. This cabin is furnished with a library and a writing desk. The bathroom features a bath. The other five guest cabins breath the same inviting atmosphere as the master’s suite. The flooring is teak and mahogany and the parquet floor exerts its aura in the bathrooms, which are fitted with warm tone greenish marble tops. Amidships is the large full width saloon with a dining table for twelve to starboard and a lounge area to port. The distinct style and ‘coziness’ of the interior are achieved by a superb selection of upholstery fabrics and extremely tasteful decorations stemming from of the era.

The ultra modern galley and pantry is located forward of the main mast extending across the full beam of the yacht. The same overall engineering philosophy applies: functional design with large, easy-to-clean stainless steel surfaces. A few marble and Columbian pine details have been added to create a distinct personality in comparison with professional kitchens ashore. The bow section is reserved for a crew of ten in seven cabins and a spacious crew mess with separate deck access. In terms of space there is no comparison with the old days when 39 crew and officers lived on board all year round.

Let’s hope one day Atlantic will have a crack at beating the time it took the original yacht to cross the Ocean in 1905.