Columbia 3

Oct 10, 2016

Not the country, the schooner! The original fishing schooner Columbia was built in Essex, Massachusetts. Designed by the Starling Burgess she was widely regarded as the finest and fastest of the American schooners. Tragically she met a not uncommon end when she was lost with all hands on Sable Island in 1927. A new Columbiawas built to the same lines as the original, but in steel by Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Florida.

Recently Michele Stevens owner of Michele Stevens Sailloft was offered a chance to sail aboard Columbia in Gloucester. Since her company made the sails she jumped at the chance. I asked her about the differences between Bluenose II and Columbia.
Are the sails for Columbia different in material or other ways from Bluenose?

Michele: “The sails for Columbia are constructed from 13 and 16 oz. Oceanus cloth, Bluenose’s sails are constructed from 17 oz. Dacron.”
I’m assuming you have sailed aboard Bluenose, does Columbia seem different?

Michele: “Yes, I have now sailed on both and yes, Bluenose II is a working passenger vessel and you can definitely tell that Columbia is a private yacht. Two totally different vessels and functions. I was on Columbia for her first sea trials. It was an honor to be on a ship of that size and see ALL your sails hoisted at the same time. Making the Columbia suit of sails was the largest project we had, we have made other suits of sails for large vessels, but piecemeal. I remember standing amidships and I called my father Robert to thank him for providing me with both the skill set and the heritage that allowed me the opportunity to be at that place in time, it was very emotional for me.”
When will the sister ship be launched?

Columbia in Lunenberg

Michele: “I am not sure when the sister ship will be launched, they are still working on the hull, but the masts have been shipped from Nova Scotia, and the container with the sails and rig will be shipped around mid-November.”

Columbia’s Lunenburg connection goes beyond just sails. Her masts and spars were made by Covey Island Boatworks, blocks were from the famous company, A. Dauphinee & Sons, and additional hardware was supplied by Stand Fast Fittings and Blue Rocks Timber Framers.
Photo Credits:
columbia 3, credit B. Verburgh
Columbia in Lunenburg, credit G. Cairns


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