Whidbey Island Maritime Heritage Foundation
Maritime Heritage and Sail Tours on Whidbey Island
Suva History and Specifications
(To purchase tickets, visit schoonersuva.org)
Suva is owned by the Whidbey Island Maritime Heritage Foundation (WIMHF) and has been since May 2015. The WIMHF is the sixth owner.
She is manned and maintained totally by volunteers
The schooner Suva was built in Hong Kong in 1925 for Frank Pratt, a Massachusetts lawyer who moved to Whidbey Island in 1908. From 1925 to 1940, she was anchored in Penn Cove. (I found an article on Frank that reported he bought Ebey’s Preserve land in 1901, so I am not sure if the 1908 date is good).
Frank Pratt commissioned Ted Geary, a prominent Naval Architect in Seattle to design a vessel for Puget Sound waters, for corporate and private entertaining.
Suva was built almost entirely of old growth Burmese teak. After being built in 1925, she was then shipped to British Columbia where her spars were stepped. She was originally designed as a gaff-rigged schooner.
Suva’s spars are Sitka Spruce.
Suva is the capital of Fiji. Our legend is that Frank Prat's uncle was a civil engineer who helped lay out the city of Suva. Fran visited his uncle when he was a young man, and admired the city. There is a street in Suva named Pratt Street.
In 1960, Suva had a major refit and was re-rigged to a staysail schooner. The original Lawson-Scott gas engine was replaced by a 140-horsepower diesel Detroit 453. The 453 is a two-cycle, four-cylinder engine, 212 cubic inches.
Pratt sailed the schooner for 15 years before gifting it to friend Dietrich Schmidt (for one dollar) and later his son Allen Schmidt, who combined had the boat for 40 years.
Suva then went to Bill Brandt of Olympia for about 25 years before returning to the North Sound to Port Townsend owner Scott Flickinger.
Lloyd Baldwin, whom CMHF purchased her from, bought the boat in 2009.
The Suva has always been kept in Puget Sound waters.
Length overall 65 feet.
Length on deck 58 feet
Length on the water line 45 feet
Beam 14 feet
Draft 6 ft 6 in
Spars and sails
Masts are made of Sitka spruce. The main mast is 66 feet high.
Bowsprit and boom kin, Purple Heart (purple heart wood comes from Brazil and a couple of other South American countries and is called purple heart because as it ages it turns a purple color).
Her sails are Dacron and consist of:
Forward cabin has a double bed on the starboard and a single on the port
Main salon has four single bunks two on the starboard and two on the port
Galley has a pullout bunk that makes into a double
Heat (in the main salon) and cook stove (in the galley) are both diesel
Unfortunately, Suva is not USCG inspected for overnight guests.