A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2012 Nov 18, 14:58 -0800
Bob Bernecky, you wrote:
"Here are two pictures I took in Mystic CT the day after Sandy."
Thank you for posting the photos. Did you happen to get any photos from around the time of high tide on the evening of the storm? How close did the water get to the bridge deck? I haven't found anyone who was out at the peak of the storm.
"The other picture shows that a number of wooden 3 masted ships made it through with little apparent effect. "
It's a great photo. But just FYI, there are no "wooden 3 masted ships" in it.
For anyone who's interested, here's a rundown of the vessels in the photo that I can identify. The photo is taken from the deck of the famous drawbridge on US 1 looking north. The estuary runs north from here, then narrows and curves west (out of sight in the photo) and then opens up again beyond (again out of sight in the photo) around a large peninsula which is occupied by the grounds of Mystic Seaport Museum. From left to right (zoom in on the photo to follow along):
1) Just behind the 'No Parking' sign, that white hull is the beautiful schooner "Brilliant" which Mystic Seaport operates for sailing classes, tourist cruises, and also as a museum ambassador. This is a wooden vessel built in 1932 as an ocean-going racing yacht, and her planks fit so tightly together, you might guess the hull is fiberglass.
2) Next over, the black hull with painted "gun ports" is the steel "Mystic Whaler" which I mentioned in a previous post. It was built in 1967 specifically to take advantage of Mystic Seaport's fame. At that time, the Charles W. Morgan also had painted "gun ports" (which were common on New England whalers at one time), and the "Mystic Whaler" was intended to fool tourists. As noted previously, it's now been around so long that folks have gotten attached to her.
3) Directly behind the Mystic Whaler, on the far side of the peninsula, you can see the three masts of a pocket-sized fully-rigged ship. This is the "Joseph Conrad", one of the most important vessels in the collection of Mystic Seaport. It's an iron-hulled ship built in Denmark in 1882 as a sail-training vessel. Hence the full rig on a rather small ship. The Conrad circumnavigated the globe in the 1930s and famously rounded Cape Horn in severe weather.
4) Continuing to the right, there's a schooner you can't see. In the red building are the remains of the schooner Australia which rotted away at Mystic Seaport before they had the capability for major preservation and restoration work. It, too, survived the storm without incident though it may have had its keel wet for the first time in a few decades.
5) To the right of the Australia shed, on the far side of the peninsula, you can see a tall single mast with two yards. This is the Rhode Island state vessel "Providence". It is a steel-hulled replica of a sloop from the Revolutionary War. It's normally moored at Newport. I have not been able to find out how it ended up at Mystic Seaport for the storm. Perhaps it was further west on tour, and they decided to stop there on their way back east.
6) Next to the right, still on the far side of the peninsula, there are the two masts of the L.A. Dunton. The Dunton is a wood-hulled two-masted fishing schooner with the lines of a typical Gloucester fishing schooner built in 1921. One of the most important vessels in the museum's collection, during the storm she was moored well away from the stones of Chubb's Wharf, on long lines sufficient even for a major storm surge.
(the prominent white mast just to the right of the Dunton is a flagpole on land).
7) Further right, and back on the near side of the peninsula, you can see the Emma C. Berry (almost stern-on, halfway between the two green channel buoys), which is a fishing smack (medium-sized sloop with a wet well) originally built in 1853 (completely restored down the last plank in the 1960s).
8) The steamboat Sabino, built in 1908, is at its dock. The Sabino, like the Dunton, the Emma C. Berry, and the Charles W. Morgan is a National Historic Landmark. Immediately to the right of it, in the foreground, there are about a dozen private boats in the marina operated by Mystic Seaport for visitors and guests.
9) You can the see the black stern of a traditional schooner just sticking out at the end of the marina area near Mystic Seaport's Preservation Shipyard (out of frame). That's the stern of Lettie G. Howard. The "Lettie G" is a museum ship owned by South Street Seaport in New York City (all these other "Seaports" exist under such names only because Mystic Seaport's management did not know about, or simply disdained, legal trademark issues until the 1970s). The "Lettie G." is a traditional New England wooden schooner built in 1893. She needs extensive restoration and may be beyond repair.
10) The last sailing vessel, on the far right in the foreground much closer to us, is a private vessel. That's the three-masted, steel-hulled "Mystic", built in 2007 for the tourist sailing trade. Quite a few NavList members had a private tour of her in June of 2008 on the last day of one of our Navigation Weekends. Unfortunately, her owners could not pay their loans when all business dried up in late 2008 during the financial crisis, and she is now owned by a bank.
The most important vessel in the collection of Mystic Seaport, the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, is not in the photo. It's out-of-frame to the right at the Preservation Shipyard de-masted and out of the water in the middle of a major restoration project. She suffered no damage during the storm. The Morgan, like the Conrad, has seen much worse weather and rounded Cape Horn at least a dozen times.
OK... I'm done. :)
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