Down to the Sea: The Fishing Schooners of Gloucester

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9781567921410: Down to the Sea: The Fishing Schooners of Gloucester

No vessel in American history paid off more handsomely or at a more terrible cost than the Gloucester fishing schooner. These were the fastest, leanest, and most challenging working boats ever built. They carried enormous canvas, were designed with the fine lines and long overhangs of racing yachts, but were expected to race off to the Grand Banks and back, their holds crammed with fish. The schooners were built for speed, not safety, and if their payout was large, so was the loss of life: a staggering 668 schooners and 3,755 Gloucestermen went to the cruel depths in the 68 years between 1830 and 1897 alone.

Down to the Sea is an illustrated chronicle of these everlastingly romantic vessels and of the intrepid captains and crews who worked them from the early eighteenth until well into the first quarter of this century. It is the tale of men, a town, and an industry that swiftly became the stuff of American legend.

Here, too, are previously unpublished masterpieces of marine photography, many from the Cape Ann Historical Association s important collection, which provide a visual record of both shocking hardship and sheer physical beauty. Gloucester, her boats and her crews are much in the news these days. In this glorious book we see that the legacy, legends, and tragedies that have always been integral to this brave harbor are nothing new; only the names have changed.

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