SoCal Classics

SoCal Classics – Rose of Sharon

In this feature, The Log looks at notable boats — sail and power — that continue to turn heads in Southern California harbors.

Boat: Rose of Sharon

Year Built: 1930

Length: 51 ft. (on deck)

Draft: 8 ft., 6 in.

Beam: 13 ft., 5 in.

The Back Story: Rose of Sharon broke into the world as a creation of designer W. Starling Burgess and builder Eastern Shipbuilding of Shelbourne, Nova Scotia, Canada. She was built in 1930 and constructed for J.P. Morgan Co. President Thomas J. Lamont. He owned Rose of Sharon until 1935, when he sold the Burgess-designed vessel to Fred Pape.

What’s in a Name: Pape owned the vessel until 1940 and raced her as San Cristobal II. The schooner was renamed Rose of Sharon in 1940, thanks to the vessel’s third owner, Charles Stoll of Escanaba, Michigan. She continues to bear her original name 76 years later.

Rose of Sharon was designed by Burgess as Ninette, a smaller version of Nina, which was 59 feet on deck and 50 feet on the waterline,” said Byron Chamberlain, the schooner’s current owner.

From Generation to Generation: Chamberlain is Rose of Sharon’s fifth owner. Ahead of him were Lamont (1930-1935), Pape (1935-1940), Stoll (1940-1970) and the ship’s carpenter, Roy Wildman (1970-1973).

What’s Inside: “Most everything has been rebuilt,” Chamberlain said. “The wooden masts and booms are original, built in 1930, as was the boat, and the boat still is exactly as originally designed and built.”

Blasts from the Past: Rose of Sharon was quite active on the racing circuit. Her first competition was the 1930 Bermuda race, in which she placed second.

Stoll raced Rose of Sharon in several competitions during his 30 years as the vessel’s owner, putting the schooner up in the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac, for example.

Her first race with Wildman was a huge success; Rose of Sharon finished first in the New York Yacht Club’s Mayor’s Race.

Wildman sold Rose of Sharon to Chamberlain on Dec. 7, 1976. Chamberlain celebrated the schooner’s 50th birthday by claiming first overall in the 1980 Newport to Ensenada race. Rose of Sharon went on to finish the Ancient Mariner Race (from San Diego to Maui) in 13 days and five hours (a record time) and placed second in class in the 1983 Victoria B.C. Swiftsure Race.

In 2009 Rose of Sharon claimed second place in the Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Mexico race.

She also performed well at Ancient Mariner and Schooner races during her lifetime.

Home Base: Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California.


Share This:

One thought on “SoCal Classics – Rose of Sharon

  • I met Roy & Helen Wildman around 1971 in Key West. They had just arrived in the Keys after sailing much of the inter-coastal waterway down the coast from New England. Roy asked me If I’d like to have an adventure helping him take The Rose through the Panama Canal and up to Southern California. I told Roy that I had never sailed before. He said that if I accepted, he would teach me to sail. So, instead of learning to sail on a sunfish or something of that size, I got my sea legs on the Rose of Sharon. I gladly accepted his offer to sail with them. The crew consisted of Helen’s 2 daughters, Roy’s retired Father and Reid Worth, a marine biologist from Miami. As we had only planned on 6 months to make this trip, I unfortunately had to leave the Rose after the 6 months passed and flew back to Miami from Curacao. Roy & Helen, we’re both incredible sailors, shipmates and navigators. If I could have stayed with them, I would have experienced the many months they spent in the San Blas Islands near Panama. They lost the engine, so they had to spend months waiting for a replacement motor from Michigan, I think. Imagine sailing the Rose around those islands, without an engine, AND with a 9-foot draft. Helen was an anthropologist and enjoyed her time visiting and making friends with the Kuna Indians in those beautiful Islands. I’m retired now but still living on the ocean, next to Cook Inlet.
    Wishing you fair winds and calm seas, Don in Alaska



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *