Adventure (schooner)

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Adventure (schooner)
Career (US) United States
Name: Adventure
Builder: John F. James & Sons Shipyard
Launched: September 16, 1926
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Tonnage: 130 GRT
Length: 122 feet (37 m) (overall)
109 feet (33 m) (waterline)
Beam: 24 feet 6 inches (7.47 m)
Height: 110 feet (34 m)
Draft: 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 m)
Sail plan: Gaff topsail
ADVENTURE (schooner)
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Location: Gloucester, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°36′56.35″N 70°39′14.75″W / 42.6156528°N 70.6540972°W / 42.6156528; -70.6540972Coordinates: 42°36′56.35″N 70°39′14.75″W / 42.6156528°N 70.6540972°W / 42.6156528; -70.6540972
Built/Founded: 1926
Architect: Thomas F. McManus
Governing body: Gloucester Adventure, Inc.
Added to NRHP: December 11, 1989[1]
Designated NHL: April 19, 1994[2]
NRHP Reference#: 89002054

The 1926 schooner Adventure is one of the last of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ famous Grand Banks fishing schooners. She is one of only two "knockabout" fishing schooners surviving.[2]

Adventure was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1994.[2][3]


Designed by Thomas F. McManus[4] of Boston, Massachusetts and built at the John F. James & Son Yard in Essex, Massachusetts, for Captain Jeff Thomas of Gloucester, Adventure was one of the last wooden sailing vessels of her kind built for the dory-fishing industry.

Fishermen on the deck of Adventure

Adventure, named for one of the fantasy fleet of ships drawn by the young son of Captain Thomas, is a "knockabout" (spoonbow) schooner, designed without a bowsprit for the safety of the crew. The McManus "knockabout" design was regarded by maritime historian, Howard I. Chapelle, as "the acme in the long evolution of the New England fishing schooner."[5] Launched on September 16, 1926, Adventure measured 122 feet (37 m) from bow to stern, sported a gaff topsail rigging and carried a 120 horsepower (89 kW) diesel engine, fourteen dories, and a crew of twenty-seven. She fished the once bountiful Grand Banks of the North Atlantic from her home port of Gloucester from 1926 to 1953 under Captain Jeff Thomas and later, Captain Leo Hynes. Adventure was considered a “highliner,” the biggest money-maker of all time, landing nearly $4 million worth of cod and halibut during her fishing career. When she retired, Adventure was the last American dory-fishing schooner in the North Atlantic.[6]

In 1954, Adventure was sold to Donald Hurd, Dayton Newton, and Herbert Beizer and was refitted for the "windjammer" trade, carrying vacationing passengers up and down the Maine coast. The fish pens were converted into cabins and the engine was removed to make room for sleeping accommodations. Schooner Adventure's grace, beauty, and prowess sailing in the Gulf of Maine earned her the nickname "Queen of the Windjammers."

"Queen of the Windjammers" sailing along the Maine coast

In 1964 she was sold to Captain Jim Sharp [1] of Camden, Maine, who sailed her as a windjammer for nearly twenty-four years. In 1988, Captain Sharp donated the Adventure to the people of Gloucester to be preserved as Gloucester's historic tall ship and to be used to inform and educate the public about the important role of fishing in American history.

In 1988, the non-profit group, Gloucester Adventure, Inc., was formed to preserve the schooner as a monument to the history of Gloucester and for the education and pleasure of the public. The group is dedicated to preserving Adventure and operating her at sea, developing educational programs, and heightening public awareness of Gloucester's role in the development of the American fishing industry as well as the importance of maintaining and protecting the fisheries.

Through the efforts of the Gloucester Adventure, Inc. and dedicated volunteers, Adventure is now a prominent destination site on the Essex National Heritage Area Maritime Trail [2], is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated National Historic Landmark.[2] In 1999, Adventure was honored to be selected as an Official Project of Save America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Adventure up on the ways, 2005

Currently undergoing the final phase of hull restoration, Adventure aims to be sailing in 2008-09. More information about the restoration and educational programs can be found on their website. [3]

See also

External links


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "ADVENTURE (Schooner)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved October 11, 2007. 
  3. Kevin J. Foster (November 1, 1993) National Historic Landmark Nomination: ADVENTURE / Knockabout Schooner Adventure, National Park Service and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 1937, 1985, and 1989
  4. Garland, Joseph E.: "Adventure: Last of the Great Gloucester Dory-Fishing Schooners", pages 29-36. Curious Traveller Press, 1985
  5. Chapelle, Howard I.: "The American Fishing Schooners: 1825-1935", page 309. W.W. Norton and Co., 1973
  6. Garland, Joseph E.: "Adventure: Last of the Great Gloucester Dory-Fishing Schooners", Curious Traveller Press, 1985