timeline boat

First transatlantic voyage

On the 1st of October 1974, The Golden Hinde set sail from Falmouth on its maiden voyage. Having been constructed to be a centrepiece for the 400th anniversary celebrations of Drake’s supposed landing in San Francisco, this was, naturally, to be its first port of call.

As with Drake’s original voyage, the journey to America was fraught with violent storms but after 160 days at sea, The Golden Hinde dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay, on the 8th of March 1975.


Rounding the globe

In 1979, The Golden Hinde sailed from California for Japan, to star in the filming of TV movie ‘Shogun’, starring Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. It is reputed the ship played two parts, by being painted one colour on one side and a different colour on the other.

Once filming was complete, the ship headed back across the Indian Ocean to British waters. With over 30,000 miles under her keel, The Golden Hinde was consigned to short-haul passages around the British Isles until 1985, when adventure came calling again.


The second ‘Circumnavigation’

In 1984, The Golden Hinde passed into the hands of the current owner, Roddy Coleman. After a brief period of touring Britain again, The Golden Hinde set sail for the Caribbean in late 1985, reaching St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands 8 weeks later. A contract with Expo 86 in Vancouver precipitated a dash for Panama and a 14-week voyage up Central and North America which included a brief detour to the Galapagos. Expo 86 was a success and as the centrepiece of the Marine Plaza the ship drew up to 6,000 visitors a day. The Golden Hinde then spent 3 months visiting ports in Canadian waters before arriving in Seattle in early 1987. At every port, the ship was hugely popular with the local press, visitors and schools, bringing up to 400 students a day to learn about The Golden Hinde. At times there were 2-hour queues to board the ship!

A punishing schedule meant sailing for new ports at least every fortnight, in all seasons and all weathers, in order to meet arrival celebration schedules. At the end of 1988, the ship sailed from San Diego to Panama, through the canal and up to Texas. Port visits continued along the Gulf Coast, including a sortie up the Mississippi to New Orleans and beyond to Baton Rouge. The Golden Hinde continued around Florida and then spent two years on the Eastern seaboard as far north as Atlantic City. In December 1991, she returned to Britain, completing her 3rd Atlantic crossing, but the first going Eastward.

Coming Home

The next 5 years were spent sailing to ports in the British Isles, occasionally wintering in Salford Quays, Manchester. In 1996 an invitation to bring The Golden Hinde to London was made and in light of changing rules for wooden sailing ships, it was decided that her itinerant lifestyle maybe had to change. Since occupying St Mary Overie Dock by London Bridge, the ship has only left once, in 2003, as guest of honour at the Southampton International Boat Show.

From starting port visits as a travelling educational museum in the early 1980s, The Golden Hinde still reigns supreme with the circumnavigation, lack of modern systems and a colourful history to (almost) match the original, it’s a reconstruction which would impress Drake himself.

Click here to listen to an interview with Roddy about his adventures on The Golden Hinde.