The „Cape Race“ is a seaworthy expedition ship, which was built in 1963; the very first steel trawler built in Canada, marking the heyday of Atlantic fishing. She was deployed in the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic; Newfoundland’s Grand Banks, the Labrador Sea and the maritime areas of her home ports first in Louisbourg and later in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Originally designed for year-round fishing in the world’s most inhospitable sea areas, she is constructed to travel comfortably and safely from pole to pole; the hull is reinforced for ice travel, making her ideal for expeditions in Arctic waters.
The ship was built at the George T. Davie & Sons shipyard in Quebec for what was then Canada’s largest fishing company, National Sea Products Ltd.
Most components, whether the hull, engine or equipment, were certified according to Lloyd’s. At the time of her construction, the MV „Cape Race“ and her sister ships MV „Cape Mira“ and MV „Cape Aspy“ were the pride of the Canadian fishing fleet.
The vessel was designed for operation on the North Atlantic and was thoroughly surveyed twice a year by the Canadian Coast Guard.
The first captain of the „Cape Race“ was Newfoundlander Orlando Vallis who, on the maiden voyage from the shipyard in Quebec to her first deployment location in Nova Scotia, brought not only the ship safely home through thick fog, but also his young fiancée who was on board.
Captain Vallis’s son remembers: „These ships were pushed to the limits, even by my father. They fished all year round, at the pace of two weeks at sea, two days ashore. There was only a break of about a week at Christmas, and in the summer the ship went to the shipyard for a few weeks for repairs. Life in a town like Louisbourg was dominated by fish factories and trawlers, and their comings and goings fired the imaginations of young lads like myself. The captains were role models for us in many ways, and we were just as excited by news of their successes and mishaps as other young boys were by baseball or similar.“
1977 the „Cape Race“ was converted for shellfish fishing. She was overhauled in 1994 – fitted with a new diesel engine, and in 2006 she passed into the ownership of Milos Simovic who converted her into an expedition ship in the following years. Afterwards, she undertook numerous polar expeditions with guests, but also with scientists under commission by NASA and the US scientific and research institution, National Science Foundation. Additionally, she also served in various film and TV projects.
In the autumn of 2017 mareverlag acquired the „Cape Race“. For publisher and marine biologist Nikolaus Gelpke, the preservation and sustainability of the ship were of utmost priority. In order to meet his high standards of marine conservation, in 2018/19 the „Cape Race“ was given a general overhaul at the traditional Stálsmiðjan-Framtak shipyard in Iceland where she was fitted for additional fire safety and given completely new electrical and ventilation systems, electronics and equipment. Guest areas include a saloon with outside views, tuned piano and a Danish woodstove, dining room with open galley, a sauna, spacious aft deck with table and benches and a main deck – both newly built with traditional wood -, a viewing deck in the bow area, a library for passengers, an open bridge policy and expedition equipment for shore excursions to the Arctic (boats, life jackets, immersion suits, polar bear protection, binoculars, telescopes, etc.). Diving and kayaking opportunities can be arranged.
„Cape Race – A Biography“ just published by mareverlag!
Facts and figures
Resume of the „Cape Race”
- 1963: Construction at the George T. Davie & Sons shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada
- 25 May 1963, christened „Cape Race” in Lauzon by Mrs Ron Smith
- August 1963: Maiden voyage from Lauzon to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
- 7 September 1963: Handover to National Sea Products (NSP)
- 1977: Sale to Scotia Trawlers (subcontractor of NSP) and conversion to a shellfish fishery, a so-called scalopper
- 1994: Main engine exchange of the Deutz Diesel with a 12-cylinder Caterpilar
- 2003: Sale to Clearwater
- 9 September 2005: Removal from the Canadian Register of Fisheries
- 2005/2006: Purchased in winter by Milos Simovic, Drifting Society, conversion for almost two million dollars in five years.
- From 2007: Berth New York, film and TV projects
- 2010 Research trips for the US Navy (NYU, David Holland, East Greenland 2010),
- From 2011-2016/17, NASA, National Science Foundation, Environment Canada (main research data for NASA JPL’s Ocean Melt Greenland Project, survey of Greenland’s glacier breakthroughs and areas, most of them in NW Greenland)
- 2012: After Hurricane Sandy, unofficial base camp and meeting point for the supply of the subordinate authorities to coordinate the cleanup efforts in New York
- From 2014 Private charters with guests to the Caribbean and Arctic
- December 2017 Sale to Nikolaus Gelpke, mareverlag, Hamburg
- 2018 – 2020: Conversion and renovation in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Year of construction: 1963, as a fishing trawler
- Shipyard: George T. Davie & Sons Ltd, Lauzon, Quebec, Canada
- Flag: Cook Islands
- Shipping company: Cape Race Corporation
- Conversion: 2006, 2018/19
- Length over all: 38 meters
- Overall width: 7.47 metres
- Draft: 3.8 meters
- Main engine: 3512 Caterpillar, 12 cylinders, 890 kW, Fuel: GTL Fuel Marine
- Speed: Cruising 8 knots, max. speed 9.5 knots
- Generators: 2 Yanmar Nopro, 45 kW
- Range: 4000+ nautical miles
- Fresh water: 16 000 litres + watermaker
- Dinghies: Two Zodiac Milpro F-470 for ten persons each
- One replacement Zodiac
- certified full body suits for Zodiac cruises
- Wastewater treatment plant: Bluesea, Selmar
- Ice class: ice strengthened bow and protected propellor
- Passengers: 12
- Crew: 7 + 2 guides (summer), 7 + 1 guide (winter)
- Currency on board: Euro and local currency
If you’re interested to work on „Cape Race“, we’re happy to come in contact with you. Please, send us your cover letter detailing why you’re interested in working wih us and a resume giving an overview of your relevant experience. We’re generally looking forward to come in contact with persons for all positions: Nautical crew, service staff and expedition staff.
It is important you have the right qualifications to work on board. You can find an overview of them here.
Riek van der Vlag