St. Roch (ship)

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St. Roch wintering in the Beaufort Sea.
St. Roch wintering in the Beaufort Sea, 1948.
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svgCanada
Name: RCMPV St. Roch
Builder: Burrard Dry Dock Shipyards
Launched: 7 May 1928
Fate: Designated a National Historic Site of Canada at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1962
General characteristics [1]
Type: Auxiliary Police Schooner
Displacement: 323 long tons (328 t)
Length: 104 ft 3 in (31.78 m)
Beam: 24 ft 9 in (7.54 m)
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft (3.4 m)
Official name St. Roch National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1962

RCMPV St. Roch is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner, the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America, and the second sailing vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage. She was the first ship to complete the Northwest Passage in the direction west to east (Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean), going the same route that Amundsen on the sailing vessel Gjøa went east to west, 38 years earlier.

The ship was most often captained by Henry Larsen.[2]

Liverpool born Sgt. Fred S. Farrar R.C.M.P. (1901-1954) was a crew member of the St. Roch for various voyages including the 1950 voyage that circumnavigated North America, he wrote the book Arctic Assignment: The Story of the St. Roch. which was published posthumously in 1955.

The Stan Rogers song "Take It From Day To Day" is the lament of a crew member on the St Roch.

The ship can now be found at the Vancouver Maritime Museum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and is open to the public for scheduled visits.[3]


St. Roch was made primarily of thick Douglas-fir, with very hard Australian "ironbark" eucalyptus on the outside, and an interior hull reinforced with heavy beams to withstand ice pressure during her Arctic duties. St. Roch was designed by Tom Hallidie and was based on Roald Amundsen's ship the Maud.[4]

Service history

St. Roch was constructed in 1928 at the Burrard Dry Dock Shipyards in North Vancouver. Between 1929–1939 she supplied and patrolled Canada's Arctic.

In 1940–1942 she became first vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage in a west to east direction, and in 1944 became first vessel to make a return trip through the Northwest Passage, through the more northerly route considered the true Northwest Passage, and was also the first to navigate the passage in a single season. Between 1944–1948 she again patrolled Arctic waters. On May 29, 1950 she became first vessel to circumnavigate North America, from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver via the Panama Canal. In all she sailed 3 voyages. Finally in 1954 she returned to Vancouver for preservation. In 1962, St. Roch was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.[5]


See also


  1. "Historic Naval Ships Visitors Guide - RCMPV St. Roch". Retrieved 2009-08-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Henry Larsen and the St. Roch". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-08-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. James P. Delgado (2003). "Arctic workhorse: the RCMP schooner St. Roch". Torchwood Publishing. Retrieved 2012-03-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Archaeology Reports-PWNHC". Retrieved 2009-08-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. St. Roch. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 30 January 2012.

Further reading

  • Thompson, John Beswarick. "The more northerly route : a photographic study of the 1944 voyage of the St. Roch through the Northwest Passage" (Ottawa, ON, Canada, Parks Canada. 1974)

External links

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