From dreams to reality: building Golden Hinde II

Golden Hinde II was the dream of two American businessmen, Albert Elledge and Art Blum, who, in 1968, wished to commemorate the upcoming 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake’s landing on the west coast of North America in 1579.

As there were no plans of the original ship, Loring Christian Norgaard, a Californian naval architect, spent three years researching manuscripts about Drake’s voyage, Tudor shipbuilding techniques, and the journals compiled by crew members.

With all of this information, Norgaard was able to design a fully working reconstruction.

The actual task of building the galleon was undertaken by J. Hinks & Son, a respected firm of shipbuilders in Appledore, Devon, with over 100 years of experience in traditional craftsmanship.

They began the time-consuming process of sourcing the authentic materials of oak, elm, pine, and fir needed, as well as researching traditional hand-building methods and tools used to create the original vessel.

Golden Hinde II launches

After two years of devoted work, Golden Hinde II was officially launched from the J. Hinks & Son shipyard by the Countess of Devon on 5th April 1973.

Two years later, the ship sailed to San Francisco to commemorate the anniversary of the completion of Drake’s circumnavigation.

In 1979 she crossed the Pacific to Japan to film the TV series “Shogun”, and in 1980 was the centrepiece of celebrations in Plymouth to mark the end of the voyage, while filming “Drake’s Venture” starring the late John Thaw.

After a tour of Britain and Ireland, the Golden Hinde II sailed to Canada to appear in Expo ’86, and a year later began a four-year expedition along the East and West Coasts of North America, returning to the UK in 1991.

Following another successful tour, she finally settled down in her current home at St Mary Overie Dock in 1996, leaving only for a brief visit to the Southampton Boat Show in 2003.