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Alabama (schooner)

USAUnited StatesUnited States
Name: Alabama
Owner: The Black Dog Tall Ships
Operator: Captain Morgan H. Douglas
Route: Southwestern New England, Vineyard Sound
Completed: 1926
Status: Active
General characteristics
Class and type: A
Displacement: 150 tons
Length: 90 ft (27 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Height: 94 ft (29 m)
Draught: 3.8 meters
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Decks: Yellow Pine
Installed power: [[Detroit Diesel Series 71||Two Detroit 6-71 diesel engines]]
Propulsion: Auxiliary Sail
Sail plan: Gaff Rigged Fore and Aft Schooner
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h).
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, 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. McManus. 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 until 1966.

In 1967 the schooner was bought by Captain Robert S. Douglas, master and designer of the Shenandoah, and moved 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, Massachusetts 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.

A Coast Guard boatcrew safely transferred 17 passengers from the grounded Schooner "Alabama" near the mouth of the Mystic River, Connecticut, Sunday evening, June 18, 2017. At approximately 6:15 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center were notified that the 126-foot Schooner, "Alabama", with 17 passengers and five crew aboard ran aground near the mouth of the Mystic River in Conn. Sector Long Island Sound watchstanders launched a Coast Guard boatcrew from Coast Guard Station New London and issued a safety marine information broadcast. The Station boatcrew arrived on scene and safely transferred the 17 passengers from the "Alabama" to Noank shipyard in Groton, Conn. Sector Long Island Sound marine investigators are scheduled to conduct an investigation to ensure the integrity of the vessel prior to the vessel operating again.

The Alabama is a regular participant in the annual Gloucester Schooner Festival.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Alabama Accessed December 13, 2008.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Gloucester Schooner Festival". Cape Ann Vacations. Archived from the original on 2010-09-03. Retrieved 9 September 2010.

External links