The Schooner Hindu
Hindu was first launched under the name “Princess Pat”, the title of a song written by Canadian soldiers honoring England’s Princess Patricia of Connaught. She was built by Hodgdon Brothers in Boothbay, Maine in 1925, for James W. Hall for use as a pleasure yacht. The boat changed hands and names twice: to “Saispas” (form the French Je ne said pas for “I do not know”) in 1928, and then to “Anna Lee Ames” in 1935. In 1938, William J. Parker bought the schooner and sailed her to India. It was upon first arrival there that William J. Parker rechristened her “Hindu”. Hindu reportedly sailed spices from India to the United States on two occasions.
[William Hand] is one of the great American designers. He developed a type of vessel that…was first-class and unique. A Hand Motorsailer was a good boat 40 years ago…it will be a good boat 10 years hence. Hand gave his customers excellent advice and sound boats without regard to fads and fashions. [He] should be an inspiration for serious designers now and in the future. —Waldo Howland, A Life In Boats: the Years Before the War (1984)
During World War II Hindu assisted U.S. Coast Guard Coastal Patrol along the Eastern Seaboard. With her radar-silent wooden hull, she patrolled with a machine gun on her bow and depth charges close at hand, looking for German U-boats. According to her Coast Guard log books, she encountered them on more than one occasion.
Following the war, Hindu settled in Provincetown, Mass. in 1946 and remained there for decades, primarily as a charter vessel that eventually helped former captain and owner Justin Avellar pioneer the whale-watching industry on the East Coast in the 1960s.
Despite the boat’s popularity in Provincetown, Hindu ultimately fell into disrepair at the turn of the 21st century. She faced demolition in a Massachusetts boatyard when Kevin “Foggy” Foley rallied enough support to fully re-build the boat in 2006. Foley grew up in Massachusetts and developed a strong connection with the vessel since the time he crewed on Hindu as a 12-year-old boy. Foley chartered the schooner in Provincetown in the summer seasons and Key West during winter.
However, in 2009, a series of unfortunate events resulted in a bank ownership. The boat deteriorated once again as it sat unused for nearly two years in a Key West boatyard.
Then, in August of 2012, William Rowan, a Key West architect with a long history and love of sailing, bought Hindu from the bank and began restoration work with the help of many friends and family. She now continues Foggy’s tradition, splitting her time between Cape Cod in the summer and Key West in the winter. Be a part of her history by sailing with us today.
“Hindu is a dream come true,” new owner William Rowan of Key West, Florida says. “I’m happy I could save this historic boat before it rotted away.” Rowan, a historical renovation architect, has been part of the team that has replaced hull planking, cotton caulking, keel bolts, and innumerable other parts of the key west schooner over the past few years.Josh is a boat systems designer and builder, doing business as Rowan Boatworks L.L.C. He has been at the forefront of Schooner Hindu’s restoration, which has been ongoing since August, 2011. “It’s been a long road, and my family has sacrificed a lot of time and money, but I think it’s paid off,” Rowan says, “We’ve been very lucky that so many people have helped us along the way. By the time we’re done, I think the boat will be in the best shape of its life.” Joshua Rowan, 34, has held a captain’s license since age 16. His father and mother raised he and two of his brothers while cruising on a 50-foot sailboat they constructed in the woods of Oregon in the 1970s. Rowan chartered that sailboat in the late 1990s in Key West until Hurricane Wilma damaged the boat in 2005. He is now restoring that boat in a shop in Canton, N.Y., when he can get away. He attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. He earned a degree in engineering in New Zealand from the Southern Institute of Technology.
The Argo Navis
SV Argo Navis is a 75ft long, 35ft beam, luxury catamaran — the last boat built in Key West, Florida. She sails year-round in Key West, offering sunset sails, brunch sails and private charters. She’s also available dockside as an event venue for corporate meetings, classes, summits & seminars.
Hindu Charters and The Last Boat Built in Key West
The Argo Navis joined the Hindu Charters fleet in 2016. Originally purchased by partners Josh Rowan, Emyl Hattingh, and Walter Shurtenburger (the designer of the yacht) as a vessel with which to run high end private charters to Cuba, her purpose changed when regulations regarding tourism in Cuba changed. It took two years to outfit the boat for the public, but in 2018 she was coast guard certified to carry up to 91 passengers, and just in time as the Schooner Hindu needed some large scale maintenance projects done. In December 2018 the Argo Navis made the trip from the Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island, to The Hindu’s slip in the Key West Bight Marina and stepped in on the tradition of high end fun and casual sunset and brunch sails. Due to her broad layout and shallow draft she has also been able to offer sandbar sails, and large scale event space.
People are often surprised upon first glance that the Argo Navis is available for public charters; she presents as a private luxury yacht, but she is slowly and surely becoming known as the most comfortable and effortlessly fast sunset sailing option that Key West has to offer. Schooner Hindu fans will miss the rustic beauty of our original boat, but are sure to be won over to the Argo Navis as our generous and hospitable crew serve up their best food and drink options and the Argo cruises along as fast as 11 knots.
While the Argo Navis is a major leap for Hindu Charters stylistically (not an old wooden boat!) she represents a piece of history as she is the last boat built in Key West; possibly the last ever large boat built in Key West. She is 75’ from bow to scoops, and 35’ from port daggerboard to starboard daggerboard (don’t know what these terms mean? Ask your crew! We are always happy to teach as much as we know to those who are interested). It’s worth saying that Captain Emyl of Hindu Charters is as passionate about catamarans as Captain Josh is about classic boats. (When you come aboard you can ask him why!)
We hope you’ll join us on your visit to Key West, (or on your weekend or weekday if your lucky enough to live here!) You can find us in front of the dock masters office, and behind the Turtle Museum between Turtle Crawls and Half Shell Raw Bar all year round. We are still discovering all of the things that can happen on the large and lovely platform of the Argo Navis; stay up to date with the adventure in the news section of our website, and on social media!
Come sail as you are…and experience Key West with our peaceful morning mimosa sails and our sunset sails, which showcase the breathtakingly beautiful and colorful evening sky. Sailing aboard the Argo is a must do with any visit, and is surely the classiest, most elegant way to get on the water. If you are interested in a more unique experience, please contact us about planning a custom private charter for your group or event. We can help you create a custom wedding charter for you and your family’s perfect day on the water.