EL PRIMERO was built in 1893 for Edward Hopkins by the Union Iron Works in San Francisco at a cost of $250,000.00 at that time. The luxury yacht was built of steel and finished in teak and white mahogany. She was rated of the First Rank and the only vessel so rated on the West Coast. She is 111.5 feet long with an 18 foot beam and was equipped with a triple expansion steam engine of 225 HP. EL PRIMERO carried a crew of ten and had quarters for twenty-two persons. There were six magnificent staterooms with double beds, washstands and all toilet accessories. The master bedroom had a fireplace. Electric bells and speaking tubes were throughout the yacht.
EL PRIMEREO was winter docked at Antioch, CA with her live-aboard captain. She was sold to Chester Throne of Tacoma, WA. in 1906 and in 1911 he lost her in either a poker or craps game to Sidney A. (Sam) Perkins, a well-known newspaper publisher, banker and steamship executive. "Sam" Perkins entertained many notables on the yacht. Among them were U.S. Presidents Taft, Harding, Teddy Roosevelt and Hoover. EL PRIMERO served in World War II as a naval patrol vessel and was returned to Perkins in 1947. When Perkins died at the age of 90 in 1955, he had owned EL PRIMERO for 44 years.
The vessel was obtained from Perkins estate under the flag of the Puget Sound Excursion Line. It was transformed from steam to diesel power by this company but never used in their operations and laid idle for 15 years. They sold it to Arther B. Church and his son and they owned it for 17 years. Church then sold the vessel to Trudy Kalke of West Vancouver, Canada in 1988 and she completely restored it. She now lives aboard EL PRIMERO and charters the 105 year old yacht to groups for cruising Canadian waters.