Eastern launches replica of historic schooner

Written by Nick Blenkey
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AUGUST 29, 2014 — Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City, FL, has launched Columbia (ESG Hull 981), an exact steel hull replica of the historic wooden Gloucester fishing schooner of the same name that was launched ninety-one years earlier in Essex, MA.August 27, 2014 R-5

At an August 23 christening ceremony at Eastern’s Nelson Street shipyard, Eastern’s President, Brian D’Isernia spoke about the journey of bringing the Columbia back to life and paid tribute to the teamwork of companies and hard work that made it possible.

The original Columbia was a 141 ft fishing schooner built at the historic A.D. Story shipyard in Essex, MA, then the center for North American fishing schooner construction. Designed by William Starling Burgess, the Columbia  was bred for speed. In the fall of 1923, the Columbia  challenged the Bluenose , Canada’s legendary schooner in the International Fishermen’s Cup Races in Halifax. Nearly winning the title, the Columbia  was narrowly defeated by the Bluenose  and was one of the few American schooners to provide a challenge to Bluenose .

Tragedy struck the  Columbia  on August 24, 1927 near Sable Island, the notorious “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” where she  was lost with all hands in a gale.

Decades later, Mr. D’Iserniadiscovered the original lines plan of the Columbia  in the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Massachusetts. He took the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of bringing a significant piece of maritime history back to life. Drawn by her proud history and her beauty, he began the journey of bringing the Columbia  back to life.

Working with John W. Gilbert & Associates of Boston, Massachusetts, the design was re-engineered with a steel hull instead of wood. An engine room and staterooms were added to the design. Covey Island Boatworks of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia built the rigging and spars. Blocks were fabricated by A. Dauphinee & Sons and all the sails were constructed by Michelle Stevens Sailloft, Ltd both from the Second Peninsula, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Teak decking was completed by Teakdecking Systems of Florida.

The Columbia  will continue to undergo outfitting and begin sailing trials this fall. The Columbia  will also be exhibited at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 30 – November 3, 2014.


Length On Deck      141′-2″
Length, Waterline .     110′-0″
Beam (Molded)      25′-6″
Hull & Superstructure Construction      Steel, ABS Grade A-36

Registry/Flag/Certificate of Documentation: United States of America

The vessels hull, superstructure and underwater gear are designed constructed and Classed in accordance with the Lloyds Register Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels. 3

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