The steam yacht Cangarda this week began her inaugural trip on the Erie Canal, the New York State Canal Corporation announced on May 26. The 126-ft long vessel, built in, 1901, is the last remaining U.S.-built steam yacht in America, and one of only three left in the world.
"We are pleased that this storied vessel will ply the waters of the Erie Canal this year," Canal Director Brian U. Stratton said. "When I went aboard to welcome and visit with the crew, I was astounded at the elegance of this historic craft, and the meticulous restoration of all the original woodwork."
The vessel was purchased in 1904 by George Taylor Fulford, a member of Canadian Parliament. The yacht remained with the family for many years, home ported on the family estate on the St. Lawrence River. While there, it hosted the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, and the prime ministers of both England and Canada.
The opulent vessel's New York history continued after the Fulford family ownership. From 1953 to1983, Frederick Burtis Smith lived aboard the vessel in Rochester, N.Y. Smith was the son of a wealthy attorney who socialized with the Rockefellers and John Barrymore.
The vessel later fell in to disrepair, eventually sinking in Boston Harbor in 1999 during a restoration attempt. In 2004, California resident Bob McNeil began a second, and ultimately successful, complete restoration.
The elegant yacht began its trip on the Erie Canal at Waterford in Saratoga County and is bound for her former home port at the Fulford estate, where so much of her rich history was made.
The owners of the vessel had to cut a small section off of the ship's smokestack to fit under the low bridges of the Canal system.