Ship Model, Fishing Schooner Dauntless

Ship Model, Fishing Schooner Dauntless

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This model represents the fishing schooner Dauntless, built at Essex, Mass., about 1855. Its hull is of the “sharpshooter” type, meaning the bottom has a sharp V-shape, as distinct from the rounded hulls of most fishing craft built in New England. The model shows the typical deck arrangement for a schooner sailing to or from the offshore fishing grounds, with the dory boats nested together and lashed bottom-up on the deck. All of the sails are set, including the jib and flying jib on the vessel’s long bowsprit.
Fishing on the shallow banks stretching from Georges Bank east of Massachusetts to the Grand Bank off the coast of Newfoundland was a dangerous enterprise. Thousands of lives were lost in the race to catch more fish and deliver them to market before the competition. The demand for fast schooners led to designs that favored speed over safety. The Dauntless is an example of a mid-century schooner with a fast hull and a great deal of sail. The sailing rig would have required crewmen to venture out on the bowsprit to furl the jib, a dangerous proposition, especially in rough weather.
Details of what happened to the Dauntless and its crew in September 1870 are unknown. But the schooner was lost at sea with all hands aboard, while making a passage to the Bay of St. Lawrence from Gloucester. Those lost included Jas. G. Craig, master, John La Pierre, Martin Costello, John Todd Jr., George Todd, Daniel Herrick, Edward Smith, James Smith, James Welch, George Goodwin, and two others, whose names are unknown.
Object Name
model, rigged fishing schooner
Other Terms
schooner; Maritime; Fishing
Date made
date made
model built
ca 1855
schooner was lost at sea
master of schooner's crew
Craig, Jas. G.
La Pierre, John
Costello, Martin
Todd, Jr., John
Todd, George
Herrick, Daniel
Smith, Edward
Smith, James
Welch, James
Goodwin, George
where the model was built
United States: Massachusetts, Essex
schooner en route to when it was lost at sea
Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint Lawrence
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
textile (sails material)
metals (fittings material)
overall: 47 in x 75 in x 12 in; 119.38 cm x 190.5 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from U.S. Fish Commission
The Development of the Industrial United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Natural Resources
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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My great grandmother lost both her father, Jas. G. Craig, master of the Dauntless and her husband, Martin Costello (cook) when it went down. Thank you for this information. I now know my great, great grandfather’s name. RIP
I live and sail on a steel replica of a sharpshooter. Two masted schooner schooner based on the lines and sail plan of the dauntless schooner, my vessel is called elinor, 15 mts on deck 4 mts beam, 1-8 mt draft long keel, 4-5 mt bowsprit, all wood spars, photos on my face book page, regards toni hodgkins, united kingdom,

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