SV Maple Leaf - photo by Kevin Smith

Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf392-ft Schooner Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf is a classic, 92-foot schooner. She accommodates up to 8 guests in 4 private sleeping areas, with 3 shared washrooms, and a crew of 4 or 5.

Maple Leaf is a sea-kindly vessel with a long range. She can take you to the coast’s wildest, remotest corners more comfortably and safely that most other vessels. Her sails and 40,000-pound keel keep her steady, and her crew’s warmth and culinary delights keep your soul soaring.

She is outfitted for engaging with the natural world.

Interior and Accommodationstavishcampbell

Built of coastal Douglas fir, high elevation yellow cedar and mahogany, Maple Leaf is a tough expedition vessel and a work of artistry.

Her curved deck planks, mahogany and glass butterfly hatches, fir beams, mahogany cabinetry and the sweep of her long cap rail are a pleasure to look at.

Maple Leaf’s interior is in harmony with her heritage: modern conveniences and good space design, melded with a decor that nods to her Edwardian past.

Galley and Dining Lounge3-dining-area

Relax and read a book, write in your journal or chat with the chef in the dining lounge when we’re under way. This cozy space contains a wealth of books in our on-board library.

From the tiny galley, Maple Leaf’s chefs produce incredible meals and snacks fresh each day.

We dine on deck or in this lounge, depending on the weather. This dining lounge is a warm and merry place to relive or discuss the day’s adventures with your crew and naturalist, over a fine meal and glass of wine.

Wheelhouse LoungeWheenlhouse

Visit Maple Leaf’s above-deck wheelhouse, where you are a welcome guest.

Here the captain or first mate navigate, plan routes, and communicate with others at sea or on shore as they unroll the day’s journey. They’re happy to take a few minutes to explain what they’re doing, and what the different systems show and do.

This lounge also houses our natural history guidebooks, which are available for your use.

Like all areas of Maple Leaf’s interior, the wheelhouse’s mahogany and Douglas fir beams and built-ins gleam in all kinds of light.

Sleeping Areas & Heads (Bathrooms)


The spacious main cabin is airy and divided by half-walls and heavy curtains into four “cabins,” providing sleeping accommodations for eight guests.

Each area contains large comfortable beds (six and a half feet long), space for your belongings, brass reading lamps, fluffy duvets and blankets. They have walls on two-and-a-half sides and thick, heavy curtains on the other one-and-a-half sides.

There are three heads (washrooms) aboard, all with hot running water and shower conversions.



Maple Leaf has lots of deck space, on which people may choose to sit and watch the coast’s scenery, chat with others, steer the ship, or have quiet time alone.

Her deck is divided into three distinct areas, at different heights:

  • The fore deck & bowsprit: for those who with to “fly” over the ocean!
  • The well deck: A well protected area for those who like to sit and read or watch the world go by.
  • The aft deck: where you can chat with crew, sit and read, or stand by the helm. 

Shore Boats, Kayaks and Other EquipmentGulf_178-JAW_9632

We tow two Polaris rigid-hull, inflatable boats — very reliable and sturdy shore boats. These zodiac-style boats give you ample space and great access to enjoy an explore along shorelines, up rivers, at wildlife colonies, and onto beaches. 

While at anchor, enjoy one of our two single kayaks. The kayaks are stable and easy to use. 

We have fishing rods and lures ready for jigging for licensed anglers. Obtain your sports fishing licence online and take a turn at jigging for halibut or lingcod. Our chefs are delighted to cook your catch serve it to you at dinner. 

Our zodiacs are stocked with mini-aquariums and other tools for (safely) examining intertidal life.

The ship also has many guidebooks for the local flora and fauna and visual aids for understanding big picture concepts or phenomena. There is a flat screen in the wheelhouse for the occasional electronic naturalist presentation.

The ship also has a hydrophone for listening to whales. This underwater microphone plays the sounds of the sea over the deck, including the clicks and calls of whales.

Transport Canada Certified Passenger Vessel

Maple Leaf is certified by Transport Canada as a passenger carrying vessel.

This stringent, world-class designation is the highest standard of certification for vessels in Canada (higher than most charter boats, sail training vessels, and fishing vessels, for example).

Canada’s criteria for passenger vessels are more stringent than most areas of the world.


With thousands of square feet of canvas (or, dacron), the Maple Leaf is a joy to sail.

You are welcome to help with sailing and taking the helm under our crew’s instructions. We are patient teachers and delight in helping people learn.

On the other hand, you are not required to sail or perform duties while you are on vacation. The choice is yours.

Maple Leaf is a schooner, meaning that her aft mast is taller than her foremast.

She has five sails: main sail, foresail, staysail, jib, fisherman.

A Brief History of Maple Leaf

The Coast’s Most Expensive Yacht

Maple Leaf (BC’s historic tall ship) was built in 1904 in Vancouver Shipyard at Coal Harbour. She was designed and built by William Watts, a well-known Canadian shipbuilder and designer. Billed as the most expensive pleasure craft on the Pacific Coast, she was a private yacht for prominent businessman Alexander Maclaren and wore sail # 1 for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. Small ship cruise on the schooner Maple Leaf – under sail She was the first ship north of San Francisco to have electric lights.img40

The War Changes Maple Leaf’s Fate

During the First World War, her lead keel and brass were stripped for the war effort. She was then converted to a halibut fishing vessel. Re-named Constance B and later Parma, she fished for the next two decades for some of the province’s famous early fishing companies including Gosse and Millerd and Canadian Fishing Company.

maple leaf7Maple Leaf and Harold Helland: Hearts Like Lions She was purchased by Harold Helland in 1938, and in 1943, when building new ships was prohibited due to the Second World War, Harold completely rebuilt Maple Leaf (at CN Dry-dock in Prince Rupert). Harold, Maple Leaf and a loyal crew fished halibut in the dangerous Bering Sea until the mid-1970s. They repeatedly outfished other, newer vessels in the fleet. Harold maintained his ship in bristol condition, washing the decks with salt water each day and caring for her as if she were still a private luxury yacht. He reportedly threw off the ship all people who were not sufficiently respectful of her – including a mechanic flown in from Vancouver, B.C. In 1978, after Harold’s retirement, the Canadian Government purchased Maple Leaf as part of the halibut license buy-back program.

Rediscovery: Maple Leaf Sails Again
In 1980, Brian Falconer and Susan Tweedie discovered the ship’s original hull lines.

They spent 6-½ years restoring and converting Maple Leaf back to a sailing ship.

From 1986 to August 2001, Brian and partner Erin Nyhan operated Maple Leaf Adventures, a company that offers Natural History and First Nations cultural trips in the remotest areas of the BC and Alaska coasts.

They also operated the Tall Ship Program for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets on the west coast, training over 3000 cadets from across Canada, teaching seamanship and life-skills.

Maple Leaf World Renown for BC & Alaska Ecotourism Destinations
Since 2001, Kevin Smith has been the leader of Maple Leaf Adventures. A businessman and coastal explorer with an unwavering ecotourism ethic, Kevin has worked to bring knowledge of both Maple Leaf and the amazing British Columbia coast to more of the world.

Under his leadership, the company and ship have won acclaim from the National Geographic family of publicatons, Outside magazine, as well as the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award in 2012 and the (international) Virgin Responsible Tourism Awards honourable mention for tourism in a marine environment in 2011.

Kevin and Maple Leaf have continued her tradition of helping to protect the places of the coast, including bringing places like the Great Bear Rainforest to international media audiences.

Maple Leaf Adventures oversees a comprehansive annual maintenance program for the Maple Leaf, making her better than ever each year. At tall ship festivals, many visitors have commented that she may not be the largest tall ship, but she’s the most exquisitely cared for, with friendly crew who are happy to share their knowledge.

Over A Century of Adventure
She draws an admiring crowd whenever we are alongside.

Many in B.C. and Alaska ports still know the ship from her fishing days with Harold Helland.

Recently, model builder John Gough, at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, created a replica of the ship.

It was over 500 hours of work – complete with the dolphins and orcas that often play in her wake.