History of Martha

John Hanify at Wheel of Martha

John Hanify at Wheel of Martha

Built in 1907 for J. R. Hanify and named after his wife, Martha Fitzmaurice Hanify. J. R. Hanify was the Commodore of the San Francisco Yacht Club. Martha is a B. B. Crowninshield design built at W. F. Stone Boat Yard in San Francisco. Martha  is 68’ on deck; 84’ sparred, 16’ beam, 8’ draft. Planking is fir and silver bali on oak frames. Interior is Honduran mahogany, graced with leaded glass cabinetry below decks. Martha originally was gaff rigged and is now staysail rigged.

James Cagney owned her from 1934-1943. Edgar Kaiser purchased her in 1968 and brought her to Washington; he later donated her to Four Winds – Westward Ho Camp on Orcas Island. The campers still sing the Martha song and Martha visits the camp each summer.

Martha was in a yard accident in 1976. She was dropped during a routine haul-out and stove in her hull on the port side. She was declared a total loss and was to be scraped. Del Edgbert saved her from the scrap yard. After extensive repairs, he and his wife Paulette lived on board for 20 years. During that time they sailed Martha to San Francisco to race her in the Master Mariners Race, sailed to Alaska for a summer and spent many years sailing her in the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound and Canadian waters.

Teaching youth to sail

Teaching youth to sail

Martha is now owned and operated by The Schooner Martha Foundation whose sole purpose is to maintain and restore Martha and to use Martha to operate sail training programs. Martha has been under their care since 1996. Martha is still considered one of the fastest schooners around. Martha takes both youths and adults on sail training adventures in and around the San Juan Islands and Canadian waters.

Martha is not only the oldest working sailboat here in the state of Washington but she is also the oldest living flagship of the San Francisco Yacht Club.