The rising tide floated little boats as well as great ships.
The Little Jennie, a Chesapeake bugeye of 1883, was literally fl oated off a mudflat and rebuilt in Centerport, Long Island, fo r Op Sail 1986,
Each with Her Story …. a project in which NMHS was also proud to play a small part.
In a similar venture, the oyster sloop Christeen, also built in 1883, aims to compete her restoration in Connecticut to take part in Operation Sail 1992.
And these are just examples. But in this time one great ship, freighted with many hopes and dreams, lay half-restored in South Street- the Wavertree.
A full rigger of the last century, she was still a hulk in Buenos Aires when ARA Libertad came to the deserted South Street pier in 1969.
The Argentine ship actually brought up the stump of the mi zzen topmast, broken off in a Cape Horn gale in 1910,
so people working to bring the ship to New York would have something of the ship herself to look at.
“This makes her real to me,” said Charlie Dunn, who helped greatly in reconstructing the Wavertree’s history while also running a volunteer sai l training program for kids from
Chinatown aboard a museum member’s schooner.
This was all he was to see of the Wavertree- he died untimely before the ship came to South Street at the end of a long tow from Argentina the following year.
The Wavertree, like Elissa or Belem, is a sturdy carthorse. Launched in 1885, she came a full generation after the finelined clippers that fo ught and lost the battle with the oceangoing steamer.
Each with Her Story …. Sailing ships of that day were carriers of lowvalue cargoes.
Wavertree was built to carry jute from India for British mills to make into burlap bags.
In a few years, steamers crowded her out of even his lowly trade.
She turned to tramping round the world ‘s oceans, picking up cargo where she could.
She carried wheat from San Francisco to Antwerp, nitrate from Chile to Brooklyn,
New York, kerosene from Bayonne, New Jersey to light the lamps of Bombay.
But she was launched with the learning of the clippers in her hefty hull and sturdy rig,
and by happy chance she was designed to carry that crowning glory of the clipper ships, a skysail on the main!
A sail above the royals- a thing rare to the point of extinction in working sailing ships in this century.
There is reason to believe Hercules Linton, designer of the clipperCuttySarkwas alsodesignerofthe Wavertree,
launched from Oswald Mordaunt’s yard in Southhampton.
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