Regina Maris (schooner)

The sailing ship Regina Maris was originally built as the three-masted topsail schooner Regina in 1908. She was a 144-foot (43.9-meter), wooden, completely fore-and-aft–rigged sailing ship with three masts. She was re-rigged in 1963 as a 148-foot (45.1-meter) barquentine. Regina Maris can reach a speed of up to 12 knots, especially on a half-wind course or with a fresh back-stay breeze.

United States
Name: Regina (1908–1962)
Owner: Ocean Research & Education Society
Builder: J. Ring-Andersen, Svendborg, Denmark
Launched: 1908
Out of service: 1962–63, 1985–1998
Renamed: Regina Maris (1963)
Fate: Sank in harbor at Glen Cove, New York 1998
Status: Beached at Glen Cove, LI
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 210 tons
Length: 144 ft (42.5 m) over all
Beam: 24 ft 11 in (7.6 m)
Draft: 10 ft 10 in (3.3 m)
Propulsion: 350-hp Busch-Sulzer diesel, single screw
Sail plan:

3-mast Schooner 1908-1962; Barquentine 1963-1998;

5,920 sf of sail as barq. (550 m2)
Speed: 11 knots, combined sail & power
Complement: 9 prof. crew + 22 students (1980s)


Her original home port was Amsterdam. Her classification was SI Z1234+, EU 98/18. Her length overall was 48 meters (157 feet). Her beam was 6.90 meters (22.6 feet), with a draught of 2.80 meters (9.2 feet). Her masthead height was 29.00 meters (95 feet). Her displacement was 280 tons with a gross tonnage of 153 tons. She was rigged as a three-masted topsail schooner with a sail area of 720 m² (7,750 square feet) across 11 sails.

Her main engine was an eight-cylinder Caterpillar 3408 that produced 365 hp (272 Kw). Her generators were a Mitsubishi 15 kW and a Lister Petter at 20 kW. Her bunker capacity for gas and oil was 12,000 liters (3,170 U.S. gallons; 2,640 Imperial gallons). Her bunker capacity for fresh water was 16,000 liters (4,227 U.S. gallons; 3,520 Imperial gallons).

Her speed under sail was 12 knots and under engine was 9 knots. Her passenger capacity was up to 80 passengers for short-term voyages and 36 passengers for overnight voyages. She had two two-passenger and eight four-passenger cabins.


Regina was built to ply the Iceland-to-Baltic Sea codfish trade. The original wooden hull was completed in 1908,[1] the 100th hull produced by the shipyard of J. Ring Anderson in Svendborg, Denmark.

On 15 February 1920, Regina was discovered abandoned in the North Sea. Her crew was rescued by the Swedish steamer Fritiof. Regina was towed into IJmuiden, North Holland, Netherland by the Dutch fishing trawler Eendracht II.[2][3][4]

Regina at one time was believed to have been involved in the rescue of Danish Jews during World War II, but this was later disproven.[1][5]

Until 1963, the ship sailed under Norwegian colors and was called Regina, rigged as a three-masted topsail schooner. Following a severe fire in 1963, she was purchased by the Norwegian shipping magnates Siegfried and John Aage Wilson and converted to serve as the latter's private yacht. Rebuilt with a very tall three-masted barquentine rig for this purpose, the ship was renamed Regina Maris ("Queen of the Sea").[1] Between 1963 and 1984, she was used in many television and movie productions, conducted two global circuits, and underwent stints as a cruise ship, sail training facility, and marine mammal research vessel.

For a number of years Regina Maris was docked in Boston, Massachusetts and was in the possession of the Ocean Research and Education Society (ORES), a local non-profit organization, captained by Dr. George Nichols. During this time she made two month voyages to Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, and the Caribbean, with crews of about 29 scientists and students, the primary purpose of which was cetacean research, in particular mapping the migration routes of humpback whales. When the organization ran out of money trying to keep Regina seaworthy it is believed that she was sold to Anthony Athanas of Boston's Pier Four restaurant for use as a stationary party ship. One severely cold night with a loud crack she sank. Soon after she was purchased and raised by a group from Long Island that hoped to return her to seaworthy condition.

The vessel was saved from being scuttled by Captain Robert Val Rosenbaum and moved from Boston. Massachusetts, to Greenport, New York, where Rosenbaum founded the Regina Maris Foundation and began a restoration process with 70 local volunteers in 1991. Hurricane Bob hit the east end of Long Island in August 1991, and Captain Rosenbaum scuttled the vessel at her berth to save her from being destroyed by the storm and to prevent the destruction of the nearby historic waterfront buildings. After the storm, the vessel was raised by Captain Rosenbaum and sold for one dollar to facilitate the restoration effort by a newly formed nonprofit organization. During the next eight years the corporation raised money through donations in Greenport to restore the vessel, but the funds were misappropriated and never found their way into the ship.

The vessel was towed to Glen Cove, New York, in 1998 as part of a plan to revitalize the city′s waterfront.[5] Plans to restore the ship were hampered by the discovery that she was not involved in rescuing Jewish refugees in World War II, as well as the economic impact of the September 11 attacks in 2001. The ship was chronically leaky and sank at the dock in 2002. Efforts to raise her in 2003 damaged her beyond repair. The deck, gunnels, deckhouse, bowsprit, masts, and rigging were preserved and set in concrete on the nearby esplanade.[1]

In October 2019, a group of young environmental activists began a seven-week trip aboard the ship, from the Netherlands to Chile, to attend the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago.[6] The Sail to the COP activists were sailing in order to avoid the high emissions associated with flying.[7] The project was stymied by the conference's relocation from Santiago to Madrid, several weeks after the ship departed.


  • Cargo schooner 1908–1963 (Commercial cargo years)
  • Private yacht 1963–1970 (Wilson years)
  • Cruise ship 1971–1973
  • Sail training and movie Set 1973–1976 (Willoughby years)
  • Research 1976–1984 (Ocean Research & Education Society)
  • From wharf-side attraction to ship's demise 1985–1990
  • Regina Maris Foundation and Hurricane Bob 1991
  • Save the Regina Maris (non-profit) 1992-1998

Regina Maris: 1978

Confusingly, an unrelated 3-masted schooner, of similar size but very different construction and history, built in 1978, also bears the name Regina Maris. As of this edit this newer vessel is registered in The Netherlands and actively being sailed. Her particulars may be found among those vessels participating in Sail Amsterdam 2015.


  1. "Celebrated barquentine Regina Maris scrapped". Ocean Navigator (122). May–June 2002.
  2. "Casualty reports". The Times (42336). London. 17 February 1920. col E, p. 20.
  3. "Casualty reports". The Times (42337). London. 18 February 1920. col D, p. 26.
  4. "Casualty reports". The Times (42339). London. 20 February 1920. col D, p. 24.
  5. LeDuff, Charlie (10 February 1999). "Faded Glory on the Gold Coast; Glen Cove, Relic of the Gilded Age, Plans a Comeback". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  6. Rankin, Jennifer (2019-10-02). "Activists set sail across the Atlantic to Chile to demand curbs on flying". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  7. "Sail to the COP - sailing from Europe to COP25 in Chile". Retrieved 2019-11-03.

Further reading

  • Leavitt, John F. (1973). The Charles W. Morgan. Mystic, Connecticut: Mystic Seaport.
  • Harderwijk, Dolfinarium (2010). "Whales in a Changing World". Aquatic Mammals. London. 36 (4): 400–408. doi:10.1578/AM.36.4.2010.400.
  • Nor'wester; A Magazine of the Pacific Northwest. Jan 1980. Missing or empty |title= (help)an account of voyage of Regina Maris from Seattle to San Francisco in October 1979.
  • Oxenhorn, Harvey (July 1983). "Newfoundland: Tuning the Rig". The Atlantic.article about 1984 expedition aboard the Regina Maris to the North Atlantic. This article would eventually become part of the 1990 book, Tuning the Rig, by Oxenhorn.
  • Wilson, J. J. (July–August 1976). The Wooden Boat. Brooklin, Maine (11). Missing or empty |title= (help)Photos of Regina Maris front and back covers
  • Berson, David (July–August 1999). "Regina Maris: Long Live the Queen". The Wooden Boat. Brooklin, Maine (149): 70–77.
  • Wilson, J. A. (1990). Under Steam and Sail: Reminiscences of a Sea Captain. Lewes, UK: Book Guild.Autobiographical essays by Jon Aage Wilson, who converted the schooner-rigged Regina into the barquentine-rigged Regina Maris and commanded her on two round-the-world voyages in the 1960s.
  • "Whalewatcher: Journal of the American Cetacean Society". 22 (2). San Pedro, Calif: American Cetacean Society. Summer 1988. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)Entire issue devoted to Regina Maris and owner/operator Ocean Research and Education Society's contribution to whale research.
  • Willoughby, R. M. (1989). Square Rig Seamanship for Masters, Mates and Crew, with some Design Data for Naval Architects. London: Nautical Institute of Great Britain.Photo of Regina Maris figurehead on cover. RM Willoughby owned and operated Regina Marisin mid-Seventies. Publication co-sponsored by the Marine Society.
  • White, A. J. (1972). Cook Bicentenary: Royal Society Collection. Royal Society of Tasmania, University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection.Document is a listing of collection items only; there are no images of item. Item is an engraving of James Cook that Regina Maris carried from England to Australia for presentation to the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1970.
  • News of the Day, Vol. 39, no. 201—excerpt. Romantic Voyager. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 11 August 1967. Medium: Newsreel film
  • Drummond, Maldwin; Willoughby, Mike (1976). Tall Ships: the World of Sail Training. London: Angus & Robertson.Notes: Splendid full color, oblong format book on all the world's tall ships at time of publication. Regina Maris chapter is at pages 78 – 81. Text, photos, plus watercolor sail plan from circa 1974, when author Willoughby was owner/master of Regina. This illustration is reproduced on this page, starboard side profile, under the British Red Ensign.
  • Clark, Hyla M. (1976). The Tall Ships: a Sailing Celebration. New York: Two Continents Publishing.Official publication of Op Sail 1976. Includes photo and descriptive text. Regina participated in the Op Sail bicentennial parade of ships at New York City, and four years later celebrated Boston's 350th anniversary in the Parade of Sail 1980.
  • Oxenhorn, Harvey (1990). Tuning the Rig: A Journey to the Arctic. New York: Harper & Row.First-hand account of journalist's experience aboard the ORES-owned/operated Regina Maris in 1984 during an ORES expedition to Greenland.
  • Wilson, Jon Aage (1992). Wooden Walls to Distant Shores: A Maritime Concoction and the Regina Maris Saga. Sussex, UK: Book Guild.
  • Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, and Adrian Malone (2000). The Edge of Forever: The Persistence of Memory. Cosmos. 6. Studio City, CA: Cosmos Studios.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)Regina Maris used as setting for Sagan as he describes for humpback whales communication. Filmed in Pacific in spring 1979 off Costa Rica. Added 2012-05-31 23:03
  • Bank Street College Project in Science and Mathematics (1985). The Voyage of the Mimi. Pleasantville, NY: Sunburst Communications/Peace River Films.Episode 6A includes film footage of Regina Maris on Silver Bank, performing Whale Census duty in 1984. Many clips of shipboard life and scientific activities.
  • Sailing With Whales. London: BBC. 1985.
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