Kelpie of Falmouth - The Racing Tender

The schooner 'Mariette' debuts her newly restored racing tender, “Kelpie of Falmouth” in Cornish waters at the 2014 Pendennis Cup. Watch her sailing in this film - an exclusive look at what's she's like before she starts her season racing the med this week.

Legendary Herreshoff schooner Mariette finally became a "mother ship" and was presented as the "bigger sister" to her new racing tender, Kelpie of Falmouth during the spectacle of the 2014 Pendennis Cup last week.

The American schooner Kelpie of Falmouth, designed by Francis Sweisguth, raced for the first time after her extensive 17-month restoration in Cornwall, UK. She won 1st in the Schooner Class and 2nd on the water on the penultimate day of racing on Saturday 31st May. On the water she symbolised the passion for sailing classic schooners that Mariette’s owner and crew famously hold tight to their chests.

Anticipation grew in the run up to showcasing Kelpie of Falmouth at this event. The well choreographed restoration team of carpenters, boat builders, naval architects, riggers and researchers both local and far fetched were anxious to see their hard work pay off.
Kelpie had only four practice days sailing to get the new suit of sails and rigging mastered in order to give her the best chance of a great performance in the racing planned for the the following week.

Mariette’s Captain and owner’s representative for both boats, Charles Wroe, recently appointed Milos Brnjevarac as captain of Kelpie and ex-Mariquita crew, Caterina Calandrino as the Mate. Charlie also invited many of the restoration team on board as race crew – a gesture of thanks in appreciation for their hard work. With many talented local sailors onboard, Kelpie was well prepared for the tactical sailing in the clear waters outside of Falmouth harbour.

It quickly became clear during the seatrials that Kelpie handled very well, that she was balanced and light on the helm. Only a few tweaks to the positions of the sheet leads needed attention and that they were ready to debut the boat in her first regatta.
The long range forecast for the week looked good, with high pressure and promising light airs. Capt Charles Wroe had hoped for gentle conditions to gently ease the newly restored classic into race mode at a competitive level.


Four days of racing were completed in fantastic sailing conditions where Kelpie of Falmouth kept up and did particularly well against the other eleven yachts. The superyachts sailing in company with Kelpie in her class, were Adix, Velacarina, Christopher, and of course, Mariette. As the breeze slowly built up during the week Kelpie lost her pace against some of the ‘giants’. Never-the-less she impressed everyone by standing her ground and sailing the courses without any glitches. She glided through the Cornish waters, crossing tacks with Mariette delighting the spectators and crowds onshore.

Her debut was made complete on Saturday, when in the morning, the owner of Kelpie & Mariette requested to be on board Kelpie for the final race. After a slow start waiting for the wind to arrive, the breeze filled in from the north giving excellent yacht racing conditions. During the race she repaid her owner and crew with a exciting and impressive sail, surprising fellow competitors and onlookers by coming second on the water, making it Kelpie’s best result of the week.

After the race Charles Wroe, said that his dream was realised. He explained further, “We set our anchor on Mariette, ready for the highly anticipated Red Arrow’s display, and then rafted Kelpie alongside us, which I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. The owner, guests and crews were socialising across the two boats and all that hard work finally culminated in getting Kelpie back onto the race course where she belongs- what a fantastic day!”

Kelpie of Falmouth is a 1929, 79ft Francis Sweisguth designed schooner and was built at Harvey Gamage’s yard in South Bristol, Maine (U.S.).

Mariette is a138ft schooner designed by America’s most famous naval architect, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff in 1915 and launched in 1916. She is one of nine schooners drawn by the designer.

In 2011 the Captain of Mariette, Charles Wroe, sought to find a suitable ‘racing tender’ to accompany the celebrated blue schooner. Kelpie of Falmouth was found and acquired by Charles Wroe on behalf of the owner of Mariette in San Francisco and sailed from west to the east coast of America. Finally her crew had completed a successful transatlantic voyage ending in the village of Gweek, Cornwall, at the top of the river Helford, where Kelpie was to have a careful seventeen month restoration.

Videos on the restoration can be found here:

Kelpie of Falmouth Part I

Kelpie of Falmouth Part II

Kelpie of Falmouth Part III - The Launch Party

This video contains scenes of her sailing in the 2014 Pendennis Cup, including interviews with the Captain of Mariette, Captain of Kelpie of Falmouth, Phil Badger – guest helm for the 2014 Pendennis Cup, and Yachting World magazine journalist Toby Hodges. In addition there will be a exclusive video published soon of a 1960’s cruise where the Minney family who owned her at the time, took her cruising to Tahiti.

Music in the film by:
Shot and edited by Emily Harris