Sailing the Seas on the Thomas E. Lannon

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sailing on the Schooner Thomas E.Lannon
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau

Monsieur Cousteau knew the truth in these words, and anyone who feels drawn to the sea agrees. There's something unexplainable about one's love for the sea, yet those of us who feel it understand it and succumb to its call whenever possible.  That's exactly what today's post is about - our reunion with the sea aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner in Gloucester, MA.  Before I go any further, I have a secret to share.  I couldn't wait to share this post with you.....from the second we set foot on the boat...to the moment I uploaded my photos.  I was pumped....mostly because I always love photos of schooners and I had tons of great photos from this trip.  But.....when I began my research as I always do before beginning to write, I was blown away and absolutely fascinated with the story behind this stunning schooner and I couldn't wait to share her story with you.  I hope you'll not just look at the photos, but take time to read her stats and watch the video I've included!
Gloucester MA

It was during a mini-getaway last week in Rockport, MA that we decided to embark on an evening sail on the Thomas E. Lannon, a 65 foot schooner built by Thomas Ellis and his son Heath, along with a team of skilled craftsman, and an army of locals who invested their time, their sweat and their enthusiasm in crafting one of the prettiest ships I've ever seen.  The ship was built in Essex, MA in 1997. Since it's difficult to get such a shot while on the ship, I've borrowed this one from the Thomas E. Lannon website to show you just how spectacular she is!!
Photo Credit - Thomas E. Lannon Schooner
Photo courtesy of the Thomas E. Lannon website

Here's a few fun facts about the Thomas E. Lannon (taken from their website):

Schooner Statistics
  • Length on Deck: 64.5 ft
  • Length Overall: 90 ft 
  • Beam: 18 ft
  • Main Top Mast Height: 73 ft
  • Fore Top Mast Height: 70 ft.
  • Tonnage: 48 
  • Draft 9ft. (that's how far it goes down in the water).
The Thomas E. Lannon is named for owner Tom Ellis’ maternal grandfather, who fished out of Gloucester from 1901-1943.
  • She is framed with white oak and black locust, from trees grown locally and donated by the Essex County Greenbelt Association and private landowners.
  • She is held together with 2000 black locust treenails (pronounced trunnels) and with silicon bronze fasteners.
  • She is planked with white oak below the waterline, mahogany above the waterline, has white pine bulwarks and white oak rail caps.
  • The white spruce used for the original masts, gaffs, and booms came from trees grown on Hog Island, Essex that were donated by the Trustees of Reservations. The mainmast, foremast, and bowsprit have since been replaced with new sticks that Tom made out of laminated Douglas fir. The gaffs and booms were replaced in 2011 with new ones that Tom and Heath made out of spruce.
  • The first trees to be used for the Lannon were felled in October, 1996.The Lannon was launched a few minutes before midnight on June 21, 1997 and received her Coast Guard certification on July 18, 1997.
  • She is licensed to carry 49 passengers.
  • The Lannon was designed by Capt. Harold A. Burnham, whose family has been building boats in Essex since 1650.

If you find all this fascinating, like I do, I strongly urge you to check out the video about the building of the Thomas E. Lannon which takes you from Thomas Ellis's dream of building a schooner, to the woods where they felled the trees, to the launch in 1997.  It's a wonderful and inspiring story of what can happen when many hands work together.  Click the link below to watch:


Back to our cruise.......Our sail was from 6:00-8:00 pm from the Seven Seas Wharf in Gloucester. The sky was clear blue, not a cloud in sight and the temperature had settled to the comfortable 70's.  On this particular weeknight, the boat was not filled to capacity which made it quite lovely and easy to move about to enjoy different perspectives. Unlike most cruises, this is not a narrated cruise and this is deliberate so that passengers can just sit back, relax and really take in the whole experience.  The crew - a delightful and skilled bunch - mingled among the passengers answering questions about the boat, Gloucester and local landmarks as we passed.  They also did a very competent job of making sure the passengers had a nice cold beverage of choice!

When it came time to raise the sails, passengers were invited to help - it takes a lot of muscle to raise these beauties after all!  John was one of the many volunteers to help, and eventually all the sails were raised and we were gliding smoothly on the sea.
Thomas E. Lannon Schooner


Captain Heath at the helm.

Gloucester MA

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

I'm not sure why it is, but I find the parts of a ship so artistically beautiful, especially on this handcrafted Thomas E. Lannon.  Everything was so clean and sparkling....absolutely pristine!
Schooner on Gloucester Bay MA

Gloucester MA

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner
Aside from the beautiful workmanship of the Thomas E. Lannon, the view along our cruise was pretty spectacular too!

Gloucester MA
Eastern Point Lighthouse

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

Gloucester MA


Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner
The Gloucester Paint Factory

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner


Gloucester MA

And all too soon, it was time to lower the sails and say goodnight to the sea till next time.

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner in Gloucester MA

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon

If you every find yourself any where near Gloucester, don't miss the opportunity to take a sail on the Thomas E. Lannon.  One ride on this schooner and you'll be hooked.   For more information about the Thomas E. Lannon, check out their website at: The Thomas E. Lannon and their Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/schoonerlannon/?fref=ts.    During July & August on Tuesdays, buy one ticket and your second ticket is 1/2 price!   Thanks Captain Heath and your crew for a fabulous sail!

Thanks for reading.  Come back soon my my next installment in my Rockport series!!  To share this post or any others here on the blog, use the social media links at the bottom of this post.  

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