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BLUENOSE fishing schooner

The most famous schooner of all time is the Canadian schooner Bluenose.  This beloved vessel won the annual International Fishermen's Trophy race for Canada numerous times in the period between the two world wars. 

In 1920, an America's Cup race was cancelled because a wind of 23 knots was considered too dangerous for the racing yachts of the time, which were made fragile by the towering sails they carried. The fishermen of the New England and Maritime fleets considered this a disgrace and resolved to hold their own competition for men and ships who were ready and able to face the sea.

The Halifax Herald newspaper donated a cup and established the rules for the contest, and in the years that followed, the International Fishermen's Trophy would become a source of considerable national pride as ships from the great fishing fleets of Gloucester, Massachusetts and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia vied for the title. Nova Scotia was the home of the greatest deep-sea fishing fleet in the world, and proud of its shipbuilding and fishing heritage. Its rival was Gloucester, Massachusetts, which shared the same kind of pride. For generations, the "Yanks" and the "Novies" had delighted in racing each other to the fishing grounds. The prospect of formalizing those races excited both towns.

In 1920, the first competition for the Trophy was won by a vessel from Gloucester. To the tremendous chagrin of the Lunenburg fleet, a design was commissioned from William J. Roue, a young naval architect from Halifax, for a schooner that would meet the high standards of the Lunenburg fishing fleet but that could also capture the Trophy.

Bluenose was the result. She was launched on March 26, 1921. She took the Trophy that year and never relinquished it, although many schooners from Nova Scotia and the New England States were designed and constructed to beat her.  In her last race, her average speed over the course was 14.15 knots, the fastest pace ever recorded over a fixed course by a canvassed vessel in the history of sailing!

Bluenose won fame and widespread recognition for her racing prowess.  She was built at a time when Lunenburg had many sturdy vessels that could work the Atlantic Banks effectively, and her own abilities in this regard were acknowledged but not loudly proclaimed. History remembers her races, but neglects the rest.  She served the fishing fleet for nearly twenty seasons, when the normal lifespan for a wooden schooner was only ten.  She landed many good catches and achieving the distinction of high-liner of the fleet on more than one occasion.  She served her owners well, and brought her crew through storms that claimed many other vessels and lives.

A combination of age, the global depression of the 1930s, the onset of World War II, and the arrival of diesel powered fishing trawlers finally forced the sale of Bluenose to the West Indian Trading Company in 1942. She spent four years as a freighter before being wrecked on a reef near Haiti in January of 1946. Angus Walters wanted to fly to Haiti to direct salvage operations, but news was mixed, misinformation and confusion prevented action, and the Bluenose went down. No one has ever found as much as a splinter of the wreckage.

In 1937, the Bluenose was reproduced on the Canadian dime, where she has been ever since.   In July 1963, Bluenose II was launched. Angus Walters was aboard her maiden voyage to the West Indies.  Well into his eighties, he took the wheel.  He silently studied the feel of the new Bluenose in the water and listened to the wind in her sails, as if searching for an echo.  Captain Angus Walters died in 1968, but Bluenose II is still afloat.  She remains a beautiful reminder of the greatest schooner of all time.

 


This Bluenose model features:

- Scratch-built

- Superior hollow hull construction (very important)

- 95% wooden and metal parts

37" long x 35" tall x 6" wide.    $1,900  S & H is $150   

For display case, please click here: Model Ship Display Case