Friday, June 8, 2007

Bow of the schooner "Bluenose II"

Here this crewman is no danger, but at sea the triangular head sail known as the jib has to be lowered to the bowsprit in stormy weather. Men have to crawl out along this "stick" to get this sail down. In rough weather this was a very dangerous proposition and so many men were lost overboard the "jib" was nicknamed the "widowmaker". T.E. MacManus of Boston solved this pr9oblem by designing a schooner whose bow actually incorporated the spar, lessening the danger at sea. This new design was known as a "knockabout" Knockabouts were definitely less picturesque than the earlier design but they did become commonplace particularly with the advent of the power engines and propellers. The Grace came to Grand Manan as a full-fledged schooner but received a one-half horse power engine to provide auxiliary power soon after her arrival. The "knockabout" feature was added by Captain Albert Cooke who had alterations to the bow made at the George E. Richardson boatyard at Richardson, Deer Island, New Brunswick. He also boosted the power of the engine several times over the following years. Eventually the Grace Darling housed a mammoth 90 horsepower engine, capable of getting her about without the use of sails.

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