ARDELLE, named for my grandmother, is a Pinky Schooner I built with my family and friends over the winter of 2010-2011. Pinkies were a type of fishing vessel that developed in Essex from the smaller Chebacco boats in the early nineteenth century. Known for their pointed sterns and high swept bulwarks aft. At forty tons the Ardelle would have been about average size Pinky. While smaller than the later types of vessels used in the Gloucester fisheries, Pinkies were known for being well built, extremely seaworthy, and safe. Pinkies were fast and weatherly and fishing from them was done from the confines of the bulwarks over the rail.
I based Ardelle’s her lines on the Pinky Maine built by Ebeneezer Burnham 1845. The Maine was the last Pinky built at Essex until I launched the Lewis H. Story in 1998. To make her suitable as a passenger vessel we only had to modify Ardelle’s design slightly. We removed the step in her foredeck and carried her raised fretboard all the way aft both to avoid the tripping hazard and make her safer with more reserve buoyancy. We put in subdivision bulkheads for damage control. We installed a small diesel engine for when we need it and made the rudder slightly larger than it would have been on an all sail vessel to compensate for the aperture for the propeller.
Not only is Ardelle good for harbor trips, she is a wonderful boat for whale watching and near costal cruising. She can be handled with ease by two people, has twelve bunks, and can carry a bus load of passengers. We have cruised a lot in Maine up as far as Mount Desert, and in 2012 we took her to Washington D.C. to receive my NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
Maximum Number of passengers-49
Length of Rail-58’
ISABELLA was commissioned in 2005 by Bill Green. He asked for was a boat he could take his 13 grandchildren sailing in. By the time we finished her in 2006, grandchild number 14 was on his way. In 2021, Bill turned 89 with more than 20 grandchildren. Time was catching up to him and he found that he was no longer able to care for or sail Isabella as he once had. Desiring to pass her on to a good home, he decided to give her back to us.
I based Isabella’s design on schooners I saw in Fitz Henry Lane’s paintings (though she is clearly a scaled down version.) Gloucester Historian, Justin Demetri, thinks she looks like a halibut schooner and it is likely that the boats I based her design on were used for halibut fishing.
Whatever the case, while she clearly has Cape Ann origins in her both her design and traditional Essex construction, she is also built for comfort. She has a couch that comfortably seats 6 against her transom, a commodious cabin with full galley, hot and cold running water, and a head with a shower.
It turns out that all of the accommodations we built into Isabella for Bill’s grandchildren, also accommodate the type of small group charters our customers have been enjoying these past few years. She is safe, comfortable, beautiful, and surprisingly fast under the right conditions.
Maximum Number of Passengers – 12
Length of Rail – 39’
Beam – 12’6”
Displacement – 22 tons
Gross Tonnage – 16
Working Sail Area – 799 Ft
Horspower – 50
Sylvina W. Beal is an auxiliary herring fishing schooner built in just under six weeks for Charles Henry Beal from Beals Island Maine. She was built by renowned shipwright Frank C. Adams in East Boothbay Maine, who also built some of Gloucester’s most famous vessels including the “White Ghost of the Atlantic,” the Elizabeth Howard. Around World War I Charles Henry Beal sold her to the Peacock Canning Company in Lubec, ME where she was put to use as a sardine carrier, a role she continued in until 1980. After 79 years in the fisheries, she was sold to John Worth who restored her sailing rig and rehabilitated her into a windjammer a business she has remained in ever since.
We took stewardship of her in 2018 believing the value of her history exceeds the cost of time and effort it will take rehabilitate her. The extent of the work she needs justifies not only restoring her but bringing her up to meet or exceed all the demands and requirements of a modern passenger schooner and she is now awaiting that work in our yard in Essex.
It is our hope to lay her new keel in the fall of 2023 and re launch her in the spring of 2024 and operator her out of Gloucester.
Sylvina W. Beal Metrics
Maximum Number of Passengers: 69
Historic Length on rail: 82’
Displacement: 83 tons
Gross tonnage: 53
Working Sail Area: TBD
Horse Power: 135