Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

African Queen to sail again in Uganda

by The Guardian/Sail-World Cruising round-up on 1 Nov 2013
The original - as shown in the movie .. .
The African Queen. She didn't have a sail, but she is certainly etched in the mind of many as the most memorable of boats, and cruising sailors who stray off the beaten track have always been able to identify with many of the privations of life on a small boat. The African Queen movie has been shown to generation after generation, and now the boat is to sail again in Uganda.

One of the two boats used in the making of the movie 'The African Queen', starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, has been restored for the purpose of running commercial cruises up Uganda's Nile River.

Cam McLeay, a New Zealander who owns a lodge at Jinja from near where the cruises will start, told 'The Guardian' he is confident his boat is the Nile's original African Queen, abandoned after filming finished – although there are other contenders.

McLeay told the Guardian he bought the vessel from Yank Evans, a Patagonian mechanical engineer who found the boat while working on the roads in Murchison Falls National Park in 1984.

'He [Evans] asked the locals what this was and they said, 'Well, that's the African Queen',' said McLeay.

'It was just a rust bucket. There was no engine but there was a funnel and there was the steel hull. She was all rotted away below the waterline and all the woodwork had been eaten by termites.'

The original film, shot in 1951, was shot on the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on a tributary of the Congo river and at studios in England.

Although the African Queen was actually diesel-powered, she appeared as a steam engine onscreen and Evans decided to restore her to steam status for the commercial operation.

Diesel engineer Gavin Fahey has spent nearly the past six months rebuilding her century-old engine, which has the words T Parkinson Blackburn written on the manufacturer's plate. He has also replated the hull and replaced more than 100 boiler tubes. Most of the equipment came from Britain.

'She needs constant attention and to tick along at good pace (10kph approximately) requires good team work and constant monitoring,' said Fahey.

'Sometimes we need to turn around in tight spots. This leads to four or five gear changes and good timing as we are also dealing with currents, and the boat is heavy.'

Another boat claiming to be an original from the film is now in Florida, also having been restored, running daily cruises in Key Largo.

The African Queen now in Florida was built in Lytham, England in 1912 for service in Africa for the East Africa British Railways company. She was used to shuttle cargo, missionaries and hunting parties across the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert which was located on the border between the Belgian Congo and Uganda. After the movie she remained in service in Africa until 1968 when she was brought to the United States working in San Francisco, Oregan and Florida.


She has been the pride and joy of Key Largo since 1982, where she is registered as a National Historic site and in 2012 celebrated her centennial year.

But McLeay said reading Katharine Hepburn's book The Making of the African Queen: Or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind, convinced him that two boats were used during filming – and that his is one of them.

Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun
SouthernFurl In-Boom furling systems withstand Sydney Hobart test
Southern Spars design team have developed the SouthernFurl Boom smaller budgets and yachts from 35-70 feet. Have you ever scared your family when you got stuck with too much sail up when you should be reefed? Southern Spars’ range of SouthernFurl booms are the answer – letting you reduce sail quickly and easily without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
Posted on 23 May
2016 Garda Trentino Olympic Week - Day 4
Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Tomorrow the medal race is scheduled for the Lasers and another two races for the three paralympic classes.
Posted on 13 May
CCA presents RCC Award to Scott and Mary Flanders
CCA has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy. The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy.
Posted on 22 Apr
Cyclone Winston Relief Fund – Help the people of Fiji
Sea Mercy is sending volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food and medical supplies to Fiji. Sea Mercy is once again sending our volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food, water and medical supplies and teams to Fiji.
Posted on 27 Feb
Golden Globe Race - 30 sailors from 12 countries named for challenge
Sailors from America, Britain and France head the preliminary entry list for the 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world Sailors from America, Britain and France head the preliminary entry list for the 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world race. The 29 men and one woman – have each paid an initial A$3,000 entry fee. Other entrants hail from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Russia and Switzerland.
Posted on 18 Feb
Passage making and the responsibility to others—World Cruising news
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 29 Jan