Another Gloucester Adventure Aboard the Historic Schooner 'Adventure'

Sunday, July 21, 2019
Gloucester, MA, America's oldest seaport settled in 1623, is home to a variety of sea vessels from small wooden dories to old fishing boats to very large schooners.  Built in 1926 at the John F. James Shipyard in Essex, MA, the schooner, Adventure, made it's life and living fishing for cod, haddock, and halibut until she retired.  She retired as the last American dory fishing trawler left in the Atlantic.
We got to tour the Adventure a couple of years ago when we were vacationing in Rockport.  The Adventure is docked at  23 Harbor Loop near the Schooner Ardelle and the Maritime Museum.  A large and impressive ship, she has two masts: a mainmast (85 ft, the taller mast, aft) and a foremast (the shorter, 77 ft, forward mast) and a top mast (110ft)  She is 121.6 ft in length, 24.5 ft in breadth and 14 ft in depth.  It had the capacity to hold 160,000 lbs. plus 27 fishing crew.

The first captain of the Adventure was Jeff Thomas.  He commissioned her to be built and his son, Gordon, named her.  Tragically, Captain Thomas suffered a heart attack and died aboard Adventure after chopping ice off the rigging in 1934.  Her next captain was Leo Hynes who remained her skipper until 1953 when she retired.   Fred Thomas was the Adventure's engineer.  Although she was built as a sailing ship, the engine later became the main source of power.  The crew kept busy aboard the Adventure.  They would arrive around 1:00 am and spend three hours baiting 500 hooks on each trawl line.  Each hook was baited with a 1/2 of a bait fish (1-2" chunk).  The Adventure carried 14 dories.  The dories would each carry 2 men who would cast out three or four trawl lines.  Later the trawl lines would be pulled up by hand.  On a good day there would be hundreds of pounds of fish on the hooks.  Once all the fish was collected, the dories would head back to the schooner and unload the fish.  A typical fishing trip was 8-10 days long.  The Adventure had 27 crew members which included 24 dorymen, a cook, the captain and the engineer.  It also had one very special crew member - a dog named Skippy.  Skippy followed Fred Thomas aboard the Adventure in 1936 and stayed for over 14 years.  The storybook about his adventure is what added so much life to our tour that day.
 Did you notice in the photo above - the Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory?









 Below....notice the man high up the mast......



Adventure was a highliner, the biggest moneymaker of all time, landing nearly $4 million worth of cod and halibut during her fishing career.  It was converted to a power vessel in 1955 and is known now as a windjammer. She then carried passengers along the coast of Maine.  Her grace, beauty and prowess earned her the nickname, Queen of the Windjammers.  In 1988 the vessel was donated to the community of Gloucester by Captain Jim Sharp of Camden ME to serve as a community resource.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and in 1994 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.  In 1999 it was declared an Official Project of Save America's Treasures.

I'd like to thank our tour guides on the Adventure back in 2016 as well as Peter Cherry, author of "Skippy Finds Adventure" and Beth Welin for concept and historical direction, and Rusty Kinnunen who brought Skippy and the Adventure to life...for us and our grandkids.
To purchase the book or a plush Skippy: http://schooner-adventure.org/about-us/ships-store/

If you find yourself with some time to spare when near the coast in Rockport or Gloucester, do yourself a favor and visit the seaport and check out this really special piece of history.  Visit the Harriet Webster Pier at Maritime Gloucester at 23 Harbor Loop. Take a sail aboard the Schooner Ardelle or Thomas E. Lannon.  You could spend a whole day soaking up the salt air and great seafood while you partake of a little walk through history.  The Adventure is now a floating classroom for maritime heritage and history.  On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday you can take part in a 3 hr Community Sail.  What are ya waitin' for?
To Watch a short video about the Adventure and more information:
Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Come back soon and for more blog stories about beautiful coastal Massachusetts, check out my blog Directory (Click here for directory) under Destination-Massachusetts.  Keep cool and don't forget to share!

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