On the Water

Ship Model, Schooner Fredonia

This model represents the fishing schooner Fredonia, designed by the well-known yacht designer Edward Burgess of Boston. Burgess designed several America’s Cup racing yachts, including the Puritan, the Mayflower, and the Volunteer, which successfully defended the cup in 1885, 1886, and 1887, respectively. From Burgess’s plans, Moses Adams built the Fredonia in 1889, at Essex, Mass. The schooner measured 111’-6” long, with a beam (width) of 23’-6”, and a depth of 10’-3”. Adams also built the schooner Nellie Dixon from the same plans in East Boston that year.

After launching, the Fredonia was used as a yacht and made a transatlantic cruise before being refitted for work in the offshore fisheries. The vessel became known for its speed, and attracted attention for its fine lines. Its clipper-style bow with carved trail boards led to a long bowsprit (a spar extending forward from the bow that carried the jib). The design influenced fishing schooners for years to come, and vessels built on the Fredonia model came to represent the quintessential New England fishing schooner.

The Fredonia’s influence belied its short life. In 1896 the vessel met with disaster while fishing for cod on the Grand Banks. During a December storm the Fredonia sank, with all but two of its crew of 23 saved by other schooners fishing in the area.

ID Number:
61 in x 7 ft x 12 in; 154.94 cm x 2.1336 m x 30.48 cm
Transfer from U.S. Fish Commission

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