Alabama (schooner)

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Career (United States) USAUnited States
Name: Alabama
Owner: The Black Dog Tall Ships
Operator: Captain Morgan H. Douglas, Captain Ian Ridgeway
Completed: 1926
General characteristics
Class and type: A
Displacement: 150 tons
Length: 90'
Beam: 21'
Height: 94'
Draft: 12' 6
Decks: yellow pine
Installed power: 2 Detroit 671 diesel engines
Propulsion: Sail
Sail plan: Gaff Rigged Fore and Aft Schooner
Speed: 11.5 Kts.
Capacity: 49 day, 27 overnight
Crew: 6

Alabama is a Gloucester fishing schooner that was built in 1926 and served as the pilot boat for Mobile, Alabama. The Alabama's home port is Vineyard Haven Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The Alabama is owned by The Black Dog Tall Ships',' along with the Shenandoah, and offers cruises of Nantucket Sound.[1]

The schooner Alabama was one of the last vessels built from the design of one of the most notable designers of Gloucester Fishing Schooners, Thomas F. McMannus. Commissioned by the Mobile Bar Pilot Association of Mobile, Alabama, the vessel was built in Pensacola, Florida, launched in 1926, and originally called "Alabamian" until her predecessor the Bar Pilot Association's original "Alabama" was retired. Though the hull bore strong resemblance of McMannus' famous Gloucester fishing schooner designs, it served as a pilot boat stationed on the Mobile Bar for the first half of its life.

In the late 1960s the schooner was bought by Captain Robert S. Douglas, master and designer of the "Shenandoah", and delivered to Vineyard Haven. There she sat on a mooring with minimal necessary upkeep until 1994. In the early nineties with a dwindling market for windjammer cruises which leave out most modern amenities kids became the new direction for the Coastwise Packet Company - the original name for what is now also The Black Dog Tall Ships. Because of the success of these "Kids Cruises" on board the Shenandoah Alabama was to be rebuilt by the Five Corners Shipbuilding Company headed by Gary Maynard a former First Mate that sailed on the Shenandoah. Most of the work was done in Vineyard Haven with the vessel afloat on her mooring using Captain Douglas' own power tools and shop space. Any other work was done in Fairhaven, MA at D.N. Kelly's Shipyard.

The Alabama now proudly flies the Douglas house flag and the Black Dog emblem from her lofty rig. Serving as an ambassador for the Black Dog as well as a platform for youngsters to experience life at sea, the Vessel can be seen cruising the waters of Southern New England during the summer months and making occasional visits to towns with maritime heritage in the shoulder season.

See also


  1. Alabama Accessed December 13, 2008.

External links