Monday, October 15, 2012

O How She Scoons

September 21, 2012
Gloucester, Massachusetts


These were genuine New England vessels.
It is stated in the Journal of Moses Prince,
a brother of the annalist,
under date of 1721, at which time he visited Gloucester,
that the first vessel of the class called schooner
was built at Gloucester about eight years before,
by Andrew Robinson; and late in the same century
one Cotton Tufts gives us the tradition with some particulars,
which he learned on a visit to the same place.
According to the latter, Robinson having constructed a vessel which he masted and rigged in a peculiar manner,
on her going off the stocks a by-stander cried out,
"O, how she scoons!"
whereat Robinson replied, "A schooner let her be!"

... According to C. E. Potter of Manchester, New Hampshire, the very word schooner is of New England origin, being from the Indian schoon or scoot, meaning to rush ...

   HDT, Cape Cod

On our last evening at the Cape, Rick and I stood at the dock, tickets in hand, for a sunset cruise on the schooner Thomas E. Lannon


We had postponed dinner, and I was nervously nibbling on some candied ginger, in the hopes it would prevent any possibility of getting sea-sick.
Well ya never know. Rick had no such worries.
There was quite a crowd waiting to board. The sky had cleared and there was a bit of a breeze.

The Lannon came in to port, disgorged her passengers … and then we were aboard. Once Captain Tom had motored out into the harbor proper, we were able to try our hand at raising sail.

And then, no motor. Just wind pushing us along.

It is a beautiful boat, long and dark and sleek.

Captain Tom Ellis
The Ellis family had dreamed for years of having a commercial charter vessel like this. Tom had asked Essex boatbuilder Harold Burnham to build it, based on the lines of a historic swordfishing schooner.

And speak of the devil, who should appear off to starboard but the Ardelle, with Harold B. at the tiller.

People on both boats all waved merrily at each other as we crossed paths,
then went our separate ways.
See you tomorrow ! I thought happily, my ticket already in the daypack.

The Lannon continued on, out past the Dogbar,
and I realized firsthand the Dogbar’s value in creating a calm harbor.

Beyond it, the ocean was a bit more lively -- “sort of swell-y” as the Captain’s son Heath put it. And he laughed as a modern whale-watch tourboat came back in, passing us. He waved at them, and turned aside to me said  “I bet everyone on there was sicksick all day!”
Ulp, I thought. How far were WE going?
And the Lannon started to pitch gently up and down, but I found it pleasant. Rick was delighted
(and would have been more so if it was a raging, gunnel-dipping gale.)

Steady as she goes

But for now, we rocked and swayed, enjoying the flapping of canvas and the dips of the bow, trying not to trip as we walked from rail to rail, taking pictures madly.

We soon turned about, and saw a golden sunset.

On the other side, the moom peeked through the rigging.

Lots of people were out this evening.

Lucy, the chocolate lab, came over to the rail, and sat sniffing the smells of home (fish mostly) as we glided back into the harbor.

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