MHT File Photo
HELIANTHUS III (yacht), site
Compromise Street, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
The HELIANTHUS III was a ketch-rigged wooden vessel, 62 1/2' long on deck with a 13'-9" beam and 4'-6" draft. Her round bilge, semi-displacement hull was of double-planked construction, with Georgia pine planking over oak frames. Decks are constructed of ship-laid Oregon pine and partially fiberglassed. The yacht's superstructure included a deckhouse constructed of mahogany and plywood, the forward section of which represented the original main salon and wheelhouse. The cabin was expanded aft c. 1959. The vessel was designed primarily as a motor yacht, originally powered by a gasoline engine; the sail rig was intended to add stability and auxiliary power. The spruce main and mizzen masts were installed in 1970, and the bowsprit was a 1980 replacement. Original hardware survived throughout, including an innovative coil-spring shock absorber for the anchor chain which Herreshoff designed especially for this vessel. Below decks were three guest cabins, storage and equipment areas, and captain's quarters. Most of the interior furnishings and hardware, as well as Herreshoff-designed running gear, were original. HELIANTHUS III was lost at sea in the 1990s.
HELIANTHUS III was significant for its association with Nathanael Greene Herreshoff (1848-1938), one of the most renowned designers in the history of yaching in America. "Captain Nat" is perhaps best known as the designer of the yachts that defended the America's Cup six times from 1893 to 1920. He also introduced numerous innovations in wooden and metal boat construction, hardware, and rigging which remain the standard of the industry today. HELIANTHUS III was designed by Herreshoff as his personal yacht, and built in 1921 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. He cruised Bristol to Florida aboard her during the winters of 1921-1924, after which he gave up cruising. HELIANTHUS III was Herreshoff's last yacht.