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HELEN B. THOMAS fishing schooner
American Ingenious Ship Design

Thomas F. McManus was the most influential and prolific designer of American fishing schooners between 1890 and 1925.  Tom McManus began as a fish dealer, but through his work with noted naval architects he took up designing in the 1880s.  Always interested in the lot of his fishermen friends, he made many design improvements to fishing vessels.

McManus's most notable design was the elimination of the bowsprit.  With this new design, fishermen would not have to clamber out on the bowsprit to tend the jib (the vessel’s forward-most sail), a dangerous task especially in bad weather.

McManus made a half-hull model and displayed it in his Boston office.  After nearly a year, Capt. William Thomas of Portland, Maine, decided to try the design and contracted with the Oxner & Story yard in Essex, Mass., to build the schooner.

The Helen B. Thomas was launched in 1902 and quickly reaped success.   This pioneer schooner design became known as the “knockabout” which was adopted widely later on.  

McManus also promoted fishermen's races.  His schooner Henry Ford was among the best of the racing fishermen of the 1920s.

 
 




This 1:87 scale Helen B. Thomas waterline fishing schooner model features:

  • Scratch-built

  • Plank-on-frame construction

  • All wooden and metal parts

This 16" long x 13" tall x 3" wide fishing schooner model was built for an architect who supplied scenic models to prestigious museums.  The architect asked for a two-masted fishing schooner and we recommended the Helen B. Thomas.   Satisfied with the result, the architect came back in the summer of 2014 and ordered four 1:87 scale waterline boats to make a scene of a historic fishing village.  These models were completed in 12/2014.

Let us build another or a similar boat model for you by clicking on this link: Your ship model