Building the Golden Hinde II

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.

The approximate measurements of the vessel were determined from plans for a wooden covering that was built around the original ship while it was berthed in Deptford as a maritime museum during the sixteenth century.

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.

The internal and external decorations were also meticulously planned, including the Hinde figurehead, the lion’s head on the stern, long-barreled guns, cooking utensils, and tools of the period.

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.

From Winter 1974 to Spring 1975 the ship sailed from Plymouth to San Francisco to commemorate the upcoming 400th anniversary of Francis Drake’s discovery of Nova Albion in North America in 1579.

In 1979 Golden Hinde II crossed the Pacific to Japan to film the TV series “Shogun” starring Richard Chamberlain and John Rys-Davies.

After sailing back to Britain via the Suez Canal, in 1980 Golden Hinde II was the centrepiece for the 400th anniversary celebrations of the completion of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation in Plymouth. While there filming was conducted for “Drake’s Venture” starring the late John Thaw for Westward Television.

After a tour of Britain and Ireland, 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.