The Brigantine Romance started her life in the Ring Anderson Shipyard, designed for the Greenland trade.
In 1965 she was purchased to be used in Mitchener's movie Hawaii. Rerigged by Commander
Alan Villiers, she became a faithful re-creation of an 1800's vessel. After her stint in the movie,
she was laid up, awaiting a new owner. Captain & Mrs. Kimberly were looking for a vessel to
call home. When they found out about the brigantine in Hawaii, it did not take long to make the
deal. They had found a vessel that would serve them and their guests well for many years.
Kimberly's purchase Romance
1st Virgin Island Season
1st World Cruise
2nd World Cruise
Quebec Parade of Sail
Romance's 50th Anniversary
Romance's 20th Cruise Year
Movie "Pieter von Schulton"
Movie "Amazing Grace"
ex Romance scuttled
LADY OF THE SEA
Dutch Piracy in the Caribbean
Tall Ship on the Spanish Main
Old Spice (3)
Cutty Sark (2)
Over the years, the 90' Romance (110' overall) completed two world circumnavigations and at least
five seperate trips to the South Pacific. They spent twenty plus years carrying guests in the Virgin Islands
and on Down-Island trips. Capt. Kimberly, who holds the unique distinction of dual
Master's papers, Master of Sail and Master of Steam, ran a tight ship, teaching his crew the art of
marlinspike seamanship and a love of squarerigged sailing ships. Many of his crew went on to become
Masters in their own right, sailing aboard some of the greatest sailing ships on the sea today. If you
do a search for the Romance on the net, you'll meet some of these amazing people.
Mrs. Kimberly, Gloria, was always at Skipper's side, dividing her time between sail handling,
ship maintenance and caring for crew and guests. From a galley not much larger than a closet,
came a steady flow of great meals. She shopped the local markets and provided meals that were
both delicious and hearty. Throughout her travels, she continued to take notes and draw the
amazing things they saw in over 25 years of exploration. She is now in the process of writing a
book on the Romance, an odyssey of years of travel aboard a very special ship. The story of her and
Skipper, the way they met and their wedding in the South Pacific itself seems like the stuff of
dreams.....but all true.
One can not help but admire their life of dedication to the Romance and the incredible
experiences they had during their world and South Pacific Cruises.
Today in the sterilized world
of cruise ships and antiseptic accommodations demanded by pampered travelers, the Romance
stood in stark contrast.
The care, maintenance and sailing of a square-rigged vessel is nothing
short of Herculean. The Kimberlys took the back-breaking work in stride.
They fought unbelievable
battles against Mother Nature and came out all but unscathed.
The Romance was a true working
vessel of the 1800's.
No plastic parts or mechanized amenities. That was they way they wanted it to
be. Hemp and canvas, not nylon and plastic. Passengers stepped onto the deck
and into a time machine
that would change their lives.
The Romance was comfortable and sound. She visited ports-of-call
that today would be nearly
impossible to visit, including repeated visits to Pitcairn
Island where the Kimberlys and crew became close friends with the descendants of the Bounty.
Today the Romance lies submerged, scuttled after being severely damaged by
hurricane Luis. There will never be another Romance.
I could have told you about technical specs and cruises, but to me, the essence of the
Romance was the spirit. All who sailed aboard as guests and
the hardy young crew
who learned the ropes aboard this ship would likely agree. I look forward to buying a copy of the book
that Gloria is writing.
It will tell all in her wonderful descriptive and expressive style;
say all and be the final word on the life of a truly extraordinary ship.
For an exceptional history of the BRIGANTINE ROMANCE, written by Capt. Dan Moreland, see Story of the Brigantine Romance.
In closing, I would like to include for you the letter which the Kimberlys sent out,
announcing the loss of their beloved Romance. Here her words speak of this loss
and the passing of the Romance. If you are moved by the sight of squaresails, if you long to
find a way to examine your own life and learn about yourself while under the spell of
brigantine time travel, then look towards the few privately owned ships that sail today.
You may find the same magic I found aboard the brigantine Romance.
ROMANCE ex GRETHE
1936 - 1995
The Brigantine Romance, our seagoing home for 23 years, and 125,000 miles of deepwater
voyaging, is no more. She suffered extensive structural damage from Hurricane Luis,
while laid up in West End, Tortola; and she was scuttled. Her last owner, Morgan Sanger,
had spent several years rebuilding her, and planned to bring her to the Great Lakes next
summer. It was not to be.
Romance was a wonderfully seaworthy ship. It was marvelous to see her riding out Hurricane
Klaus, well south-east of Bermuda in 1984. Though hove to in the wildest seas imaginable, she
took almost no solid water on deck. Ironic then, that she was wrecked in a "safe" harbor.
Luis did the unthinkable, unleashing its full fury into West End -- from the west.
Romance lay tied to a makeshift dock, without her engine, anchors, even her steering gear...
Romance (the Grethe) was built as a galeas (Baltic Trader), by the renowned J. Ring Anderson
Shipyard in Svendborg, Danmark in 1936. She traded in the North Sea, Baltic and as far north
as Iceland. We know that once, as a three year old vessel, she was caught in the ice, and
In 1965, sea author Alan Villiers, converted her to an authentic 1840 brigantine, to star with Julie
Andrews in James Michener's epic film "Hawaii". The conversion won a Danish industry award;
and she has been called the loveliest of the smaller square riggers.
Romance was our only home from 1966 to 1989. Together we sailed extensively through the
South Pacific, and twice around the world. She carried stuns'ls --the extra wings of
the clipper ship era, as she does in the photo above--for 26 straight days crossing the South Atlantic
in 1977, a modern record which may never be broken. Her Caribbean cruises gave thousands
a chance, if they wished, to "pull braces" before the mast in square rig. She made boys
into men; Masters and Mates of many of todays sailing vessels.
They are her finest legacy.
Along with ship lovers everywhere, we will mourn her passing.
Arthur & Gloria Kimberly