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Where did the Elena Maria Barbara topsail schooner originate from?

TopSail Schooner Vessel - Elena Maria Barbara

Rightboat are delighted to be offering the Elena Maria Barbara for Sale.  So that you can really understand her true value and see past the abandoned project that she has become, we’ve made some interesting discoveries about her history.  Read on to discover exactly just how special this boat really is...

Elena Maria Barbara Vessel



The History:


The story begins during the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725) which has long been regarded by the Russian people as the establishment point of the country’s first modern navy, known as the Azov Sea Fleet.

The Russian maritime experience during the 17th and 18th century during the conflict with the Ottoman Turks for the Black Sea was seen as revolutionary in the scale and level of technology used through existing political and social structures.

The bitter rivalry lasted several centuries with the region changing hands several times.

Peter’s goal of challenging the enemies hold on the important Lake Lodoga, fell somewhat short with the existing flotilla of vessels, so he ordered the local boatbuilders at the Volkhov Wharf near Novgorod to start shipbuilding.  Even with this increased fleet of nearly 300 vessels, the tsar’s original order was still unfulfilled.  The main reasons for the shortfall were obvious; unskilled labour and the shortage of building timbers.

But, even without the full requested complement of 600 boats, Peter’s forces were successful in their quest to take control of this important lake.  

Following this, new wharves were developed, and he even used funds from his own treasury to build more warships.  He employed new shipwrights, built more new wharves and ordered the continuous construction of frigates, smacks, galliots, snots, and brigantines.

This drive for the ultimate fleet lasted just three years before the same problems occurred; quick builds with inexperienced carpenters led to poor quality craft, often with green timber, leading to a loss of utility.  

Hindered also by the geographical restrictions of the wharves, Peter moved his shipbuilding to a new facility with deeper water which meant larger ships could be constructed from Admiralty stocks.

The ‘English Stage’ (1707) of shipbuilding began the transfer to the Petersburg Baltic wharves and closure of the earlier wharfs.

Peter’s naval victories were decisive turning points in the history of the Russian navy.   Find all Russian Boats and Yachts for Sale

On July 28th 1996, the Russian Federation celebrated Navy Day.  This day marked the 300th year history of the foundation of the Russian Navy.   

Elena Maria Barbara Topsail Schooner Vessel 

This momentous occasion was marked by the construction of five replicas of a topsail schooner. 

The chosen schooner design was common to the British, French and Russian navies in the 18th century, which were used to carry messages speedily. These fast schooners were weatherly and extremely seaworthy. To which the current owners of the surviving vessels can testify to these qualities. 

The choice of this particular design was made by Andrey Ahkmeton, a naval architect from St Petersburg who was an admirer of the legacy. 

Unfortunately, hardwood was not used for the construction (some would say similar to the original quest). The five vessels were left in the open to survive three Finnish winters. As a consequence apart from Elena, only two of the original vessels are believed to be fully operational. One of these is PICKLE. She is based in Hull Marina in the UK. 


Why Elena Maria Barbara?


Elena Maria Barbara Sailing Schooner

ELENA MARIA BARBARA is an exceptional vessel and has since 2005 been the subject of a complete rebuild in Cardiff. The process has taken a long time, but she is now re-framed, re-planked and re- decked, a completely new vessel in long-lasting materials. 

Elena, is looking for a saviour, someone that will be committed to her deep restoration who can see past her incomplete state.

She needs a new engine and electrics, new sails and one or two small spars. She is ready to be craned back into the water to have her masts erected and rigging put in place. The new owner will be able to choose the use to which she will be put and this will determine what is done to finish her. 

An excellent opportunity for a corporate or private charter vessel - alternatively she could be used as a private sailing/cruising vessel of the owner with comfortable accommodation for 4-6 people plus crew.

See Also - Sailing Boats for Sale

She could take a party of 8 on a short cruise, for example, in the Adriatic/ Aegean Sea. She could be used for sail training or in harbour she could seat 12 for dinner or take 50 persons on deck for drinks or 30 for dinner.  A great wedding venue opportunity perhaps.   The possibilities are endless.

The work done so far is of a high standard. Numerous photographs show the work of John Owles of Roving Commissions and of Ben Punter and Andy Keward. The work was extended over 13 years and has cost well over a million pounds. 


18th Century Elena Maria Barbara Key Features and Priority Fixes:


With some grand designs, great imagination and a willing foresight financially the buyer will be getting a new boat.


We’ve looked into exactly what will need to be completed prior to getting this wonderful schooner back on the water.

The priorities are:

1. Fit steel shoe over wooden keel. 

2. Fit engine. New engine is required. 

3. Re-open propshaft. 

4. Finish interior. 

5. Fit electrics. 


At this stage the ELENA MARIA BARBARA would be craned into the water at Cardiff Bay. Her ballast will need to be adjusted before she could be taken wherever the owner wanted to go to finish the project.

Elena Maria Barbara

The finishing tasks would include: 

1. Stepping masts and fit rigging (much of the rigging is in store). 

2. Make two new spars (boom and topsail yard). 

3. Order new sails. 

4. Internal rejuvenation


Once restored to her former glory, you will be forgiven for falling in love with your very own beautiful piece of nautical history.



The Conclusion:

This topsail schooner is the replica 18th century Russian Built, and she is the last of five 18th stylised vessels in the history. This Elena Maria Barbara, Topsail schooner vessel is seaworthy and looking forward to seeing her new owner. …… Will YOU be the one?(Sorry Guys, the current schooner is no longer available for sale)

Looking for a boat to buy - then please visit boats for sale page for more information.



Written By: Rightboat Team

The Rightboat team

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