M/V Cape Race was built in 1963 in Lloyd’s class, under a British flag, as the first all steel trawler constructed in Canada by the shipyard of George T. Davie & Sons, Quebec. She was built at the height of the shipbuilding era, still anchored in meticulous tradition, during the hay day of the Atlantic fisheries.
Most of her parts, plates, manifolds, even chairs, have no less than 3 Lloyd’s inspection certificates. In 1963 M/V Cape Race and two of her sister ships in the class, M/V Cape Mira and M/V Cape Aspy where the pride of the Canadian fishing fleet.
M/V Cape Race’s first skipper was the Newfoundlander Orlando Vallis, who brought his young bride on the maiden voyage through fog from Quebec. Many of the skippers well known to North Atlantic fishing communities rotated at her helm since.
As Captain Vallis’s son writes: “These boats were all worked hard, typical for dad, they fished year round, two weeks +/- at sea for two days home, with only a week or so off at Christmas, and a few weeks off in the summer for a refit. Growing up in a town like Louisburg, the fish plant and the boats figured large in our lives and fired the imagination of young boys like me. In many ways, the skippers of the trawlers were like celebrities to us, and we followed the news of their success and failures like some kids follow baseball and the like…”
All designs and subsequent alterations on the vessel where done by John W. Gilbert Associates, renowned naval architects from Boston Mass. M/V Cape Race was built to the strictest North Atlantic standards and was subject to tough bi-annual certificate inspections by Canadian Coast Guard. She fished the banks of Northern Atlantic and the Labrador Sea from Newfoundland and her homeport of Louisburg, than Lunenburg, N.S., until she was converted to a scallop dragger in the mid-1980’s. In 1996 she was extensively rebuilt and re-powered with a new 3512 Caterpillar engine.
She has worked in the roughest waters in the world, 12 months a year continuously, receiving skilled care, until she was purchased in 2006, while still in service, and nimbly converted into an expedition yacht over the next few years. Cape Race is featured in 1990's PBS documentary "Savage Seas", a stunning documentary showing some extreme conditions that these boats and the man who sailed them where subjected to.
Cape Race’s lines evolved from the elegant forms of sailing dory fishing schooners of the North East, and steam/sail schooners of 1900's. Her interior today combines the highest 21st- century's safety standards, with the authenticity of the classic 19th-century North Sea fishing vessel. Remains of a workboat atmosphere convey warmth and character, generated through her impressive life.
In autumn 2017, MS Cape Race was purchased by mareverlag, a publishing company based in Hamburg, Germany. The primary reason for publisher Nikolaus Gelpke to acquire the ship was to ensure its preservation and sustainability. In order to meet his high claims concerning the protection of the oceans, the ship is completely overhauled at a shipyard in Iceland since spring 2018. Here, all crew cabins are going to be completely modernised and adapted to the latest standards of guest accommodation. Furthermore a sewage system will be installed which fully complies with all legal requirements.